Hand Washing Tips to Protect Against Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Respiratory viruses like coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread when mucus or droplets containing the virus get into your body through your eyes, nose or throat. Most often, this happens through your hands. Hands are also one of the most common ways that the virus spreads from one person to the next.
During a global pandemic, one of the cheapest, easiest, and most important ways to prevent the spread of a virus is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to wash your hands the right way:
Good hand-washing: A step-by-step guide
1. The process should take between 40-60 seconds.
2. Wet hands with water.
3. Apply enough soap to cover the entirety of hand surfaces.
4. Rub your palms together, ensuring that lather builds up.
5. Put your right palm over your left hands, interlacing the fingers, ensuring between each finger is clean. Then put left over right.
6. Interlace your fingers with palm to palm.
7. Put the backs of fingers facing the opposing palm – ensuring you are cleaning your nails also.
8. Rotational rubbing of both thumbs.
9. Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards between clasped fingers on right palm then on left.
10. Rinse your hands thoroughly with water.
11. Use a single-use towel to dry your hands and use that towel to turn off the tap.
2. When should I wash my hands?
In the context of COVID-19 prevention, you should make sure to wash your hands at the following times:
1. After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
2. After visiting a public space, including public transportation, markets and places of worship.
3. After touching surfaces outside of the home, including money.
4. Before, during and after caring for a sick person.
5. Before and after eating.
In general, you should always wash your hands at the following times:
1. After using the toilet.
2. Before and after eating.
3. After handling garbage.
4. After touching animals and pets.
5. After changing babies’ diapers or helping children use the toilet.
6. When your hands are visibly dirty.
3. Which is better: washing your hands or using hand sanitizer?
In general, both hand washing with soap and water and hand sanitizer, when practiced/used correctly, are highly effective at killing most germs and pathogens. Hand sanitizer is often more convenient when you are outside of the home. Also, alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills around 99% of virus including the coronavirus, but it does not kill all kinds of bacteria and viruses.
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