We have all heard the basic steps for preventing coronavirus by now: wash your hands, stay at least six feet away from other people, cover coughs and sneezes, etc. But why is washing your hands so important, and how can you ensure that you are doing it properly to avoid infecting yourself and others?
Proper Hand Washing Technique
Firstly, the length of time that you spend scrubbing your hands is important. Coronaviruses are enveloped in lipids, or fat, which regular hand soap can easily break down. Once the outer layer of the virus is destroyed, it can no longer spread or infect anyone. Soap also makes your hands slippery, which helps to pry germs off of the hands so they can be washed down the drain.
However, soap needs enough time to break down the lipid layers, and simply putting soap on your hands and washing it off right away doesn’t give the soap enough time to do its job. You also want to make sure that you are not only cleaning your palms, but in between your fingers, the back of your hands, and your thumbs as well.
It may sound elementary, but studies have shown that many adults don’t wash their hands properly or often enough. You should wash your hands after you use the restroom and before you eat, but also after taking out the trash, handling pets and pet food, and after blowing your nose or coughing or sneezing into your hands.
It’s also wise to wash your hands after you have been out in public and touched things like door handles, shopping carts, gas pumps, and self-checkout machines. It’s especially important to wash your hands after you do this and before you touch your face, especially around your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Prevent the Spread of Disease
One of the best things you can do to prevent the spread of coronavirus is to wash your hands thoroughly and often. Scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds with any liquid or bar soap and then drying them with a clean towel can go a long way in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. If you can’t get to a sink, using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol also works well to kill viruses like the coronavirus.
Hand washing has always been an important part of our sanitation routine at Romeoville Dental Center in Romeoville, IL. We look forward to seeing all of our patients again soon and promise that our office will be clean and disinfected for enhanced safety.
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