Viruses affecting the respiratory tract such as coronavirus (CoViD-19) enter the body and begin to spread when phlegm or droplets containing the virus attach to organs with mucosal structures such as the eyes, nose, or throat.
Most often, this occurs mediated by the hands, because of hand activities that come into contact with these organs, such as rubbing the eyes, picking their nose and or closing their mouths when they yawn. The hand is also one of the most common ways of spreading the virus from one person to another.
During the global pandemic, one of the cheapest, easiest, and most important ways to prevent the spread of the virus is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
The following guidelines regarding washing hands in the right way need to be known:
When should I wash my hands?
In the context of COVID-19 prevention, you must make sure to wash your hands at the following times:
- After blowing the nose, cough or sneeze
- After visiting public spaces, including public transportation, markets and places of worship
- After touching the surface outside the home, including money
- Before, during and after treating a sick person
- Before and after eating
- In general, you should always wash your hands at the following times:
- After using the toilet
- Before and after eating
- After handling trash
- After touching animals and pets
- After changing baby diapers or helping children use the toilet
- When your hands look dirty
How to wash hands properly?
To get rid of all traces of the virus on your hands, a quick scrub and rinse won’t be effective. Below is a step-by-step process for effective hand washing.
How long do I have to wash my hands?
You should wash your hands for at least 20-30 seconds. An easy way to calculate time is to sing the happy birthday song twice.
The same applies to hand sanitizers: use a cleanser that contains at least 60% alcohol and rub it into your hands for at least 20 seconds to ensure full coverage.
Do I need to use warm water to wash my hands?
No, you can use any water temperature to wash your hands. Cold water and warm water are just as effective in killing germs and viruses – as long as you use soap!
Do I need to dry my hands?
Germs spread more easily from wet skin than from dry skin, so drying the hands completely is an important step. Dry with the help of air.
Which is better: hand washing or using hand sanitizer?
In general, good hand washing with soap and water and hand sanitizers, when done / used correctly, is very effective at killing most germs and pathogens. Hand sanitizers are often more comfortable when you are outside, but can be expensive or difficult to find in an emergency context. Also, alcohol-based hand sanitizers kill coronavirus, but do not kill all types of bacteria and viruses. For example, this is relatively ineffective against norovirus and rotavirus.
What else can I do to help stop the spread of coronavirus?
- Use sneezing and coughing tags properly: Cover your mouth and nose with elbows or bent tissue when coughing or sneezing, throw away used tissue immediately, and wash your hands
- Avoid touching your face (mouth, nose, eyes) too often
- Practicing social distance: Avoid shaking hands, hugging or kissing people, sharing food, utensils, glasses and towels
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has cold or flu symptoms
- Clean surfaces that may be associated with viruses, and generally clean surfaces more often (especially in public spaces)
Wash your hands properly and happily. Stay healthy, stay home.