Why Washing Your Hands is so Effective Against Coronavirus

Why Washing Your Hands is so Effective Against Coronavirus

These days, many people are eager to protect themselves and their families from novel coronavirus, and one of the best and most easily accessible ways to do it is by washing your hands.

We all accumulate germs on our hands throughout the day by touching people, surfaces, and objects, and touching your eyes, nose, or mouth can infect you with those germs or facilitate you spreading them to others. Although it’s impossible to keep your hands germ-free, washing your hands frequently can help limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses, and other microbes.

Many people (children and adults alike) do not wash their hands properly; they either wash their hands too quickly, don’t use enough soap, or barely wash their hands at all.

There actually is a correct way to wash your hands, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have issued guidelines on how to do it. These tips are especially important in the age of novel coronavirus.

1. Wet your hands (to the wrist) with clean, running water (the temperature doesn’t matter). Turn off the tap, and apply a good amount of soap.

2. Lather up the soap by rubbing your hands together. Spread that lather to the backs of your hands up to your wrists, between your fingers, and under your nails.

3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Humming the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning-to-end twice can help you get the timing right.

4. Rinse your hands thoroughly under clean, running water.

5. Dry your hands using a clean paper towel, hand dryer, or let them air dry.

If you’re wondering when you should wash your hands, there are guidelines for that, too. According the CDC, you should wash your hands:

  • – When your hands are visibly dirty
  • – Before, during, and after preparing food
  • – Right before eating food
  • – Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick
  • – Before inserting or removing contact lenses
  • – Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • – After using the toilet, changing diapers, or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • – After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • – After touching an animal, animal feed, treats, or animal waste
  • – After handling garbage
  • – After touching an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, electronic cashier registers/screens, airplane seats, seatbelt buckles, trays, subway poles, etc.

Though hand-washing is preferred, a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol can help ward off germs in a pinch, so carry a small bottle of it around with you. Don’t forget to teach children how to properly wash their hands.

Hand-washing is one of the best ways of keeping you and your family healthy. For more information on hand-washing, visit CDC’s hand-washing website or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.


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