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Fighting the Most Dangerous Pandemic Since 1917: When and How to Wash Your Hands During COVID-19

Posted by Louise Nowicki on

Global pandemics are something most people only have to face once in their life, if ever. Right now, Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the most dangerous pandemic of our lifetime. More contagious than the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus of 2009, deadlier than the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic of 2002, COVID-19 represents a deadly chapter in the health

history of the world. And it’s only getting worse.

Thankfully, every single person can harness the power of hand-washing to prevent Coronavirus . It’s a simple activity with superhero results.

Do you really know how to wash your hands

Mother helping child wash her hands

We’re all familiar with the concept of hand-washing, but that doesn’t mean we’re doing it right. Are you using the right soap? When’s the right time to wash your hands? How long should you wash your hands?

Most of us are content to lather up with whatever’s laying around, scrub for a few seconds, rinse and walk away. But this isn’t enough to stop COVID-19. You need to know when and how to wash your hands the right way.

Before we get into washing hands the right way, let’s talk for a moment about why hand-washing is so crucial in the middle of a global pandemic like COVID-19.

Clean hands vs. the most prolific virus of our age

How does a pandemic get so big, so bad, so fast? Extrapolation. All it takes is one person to knock over a chain of dominoes that lead to a deadly outbreak.

Patient zero is the first patient to contract the virus. He doesn’t know he has it, and coughs politely into his hand. Then, he shakes hands with three people, spreading the virus to them. Then, those three people do the same thing, spreading the virus to three more people each. This goes on for a few days or weeks, and before you know it, you can trace the lineage of a pandemic back through tens (or hundreds) of thousands of people, back to a single source or a small group.

Now, imagine that two of the original three people to spread the disease washed their hands thoroughly right after shaking hands with patient zero. Washing hands killed the virus before it passed to anyone else. The spread of the virus was cut down to 1/3 of what it could’ve been!

Clean hands save lives . That’s the logic behind good hand-washing during a pandemic—and at any time, for that matter.

When and how to wash your hands to eradicate germs

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should wash your hands any time you’re exposed to a high concentration of germs or microbes that may be particularly infectious. The faster you eradicate germs, the less of a chance they have to spread. Some examples provided by the CDC include:

  • After going to the bathroom
  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before and after treating wounds
  • After touching or feeding an animal
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose

The list goes on and on! The fact remains—the more diligent you are in washing your hands, the more effective you’ll be at preventing the spread of germs. Right now, good hand-washing could even save you from contracting COVID-19 or giving it to someone else.

Washing hands at the right time is only half the battle. You also need to wash them the right way. The CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have created a simple 10-step guide for thorough hand-washing, guaranteed to give you full coverage and peace of mind as you scrub your hands clean. Here are the basic steps ( see the WHO website for a visual guide ):

  • 1.Wet hands with water        
  • 2.Apply enough soap to cover all surfaces
  • 3.Rub hands palm to palm
  • 4.Right), with fingers interlaced (then reverse)
  • 5.Palm to palm, with fingers interlaced
  • 6.Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked
  • 7.Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm (then reverse)
  • 8.Cleaning under fingernails
  • 9.Wash the heel of hand and below it
  • 10.Rinse hands with water
  • 11.Dry hands with a single-use towel

In addition to these steps, it’s important to familiarize yourself with FAQs about when and how to wash your hands. Here are a few most-asked questions:

How long should you wash your hands?

You should lather and scrub your hands for about 20 seconds apiece—roughly the amount of time it takes to sing “happy Birthday” twice in your head.

What kind of soap should you use?

There is no particular soap recommended for hand-washing. Bar and liquid soap will work equally well. However, the harsh chemicals of regular soap can dry your hands and skin. It is always best to use a natural moisturizing soap. It’s the length of time spent washing that matters most!

What about hand sanitizer? Will that work?

Hand sanitizer isn’t as effective as washing hands, but it’s better than nothing. Use sanitizer with 60% or more alcohol only when hand-washing isn’t possible.

Does hot or cold-water matter?

Nope! Most people wash hands with hot water because it feels better, but any temperature is fine, so long as you’re washing with clean water.

The main takeaways from the CDC and WHO are simple: wash your hands frequently and thoroughly!

Kill the virus without harming your hands

As many people already know, frequent hand-washing will dry out your skin very quickly. That’s why it’s important to use disinfectant soap that also moisturizes. Nourishing your hands while cleaning them can prevent dry, flaking, cracking skin from developing, which may become painful.

You may be tempted to buy hand soaps with lots of multi-syllable chemicals on the label, but the truth is, these don’t fight COVID-19, germs or microbes any better than natural soaps. Unfortunately, they end up doing more damage to your skin due to the abrasive nature of these heavy chemicals.

Instead, look for hand soap that contains naturally moisturizing ingredients like beeswax, olive oil, honey, carrot seed oil, coconut oil, oats and more. Fatty acids are also a plus. The goal is to moisturize your skin while eradicating germs at the same time.

For soap with many of these natural ingredients that won’t dry your skin and will keep your hands fresh, clean and protected, try Morning Song Gardens hand soaps . Using their products is a natural way to fight back against the spread of germs, so you can do your part in the fight to lower transmission of COVID-19 and put an end to this once-in-a-generation pandemic.

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