Hand Washing: Your Best Weapon Against Coronavirus, Other Outbreaks

Amid the current novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak that has already infected thousands and killed hundreds, keeping our hands clean by correctly washing them remain our best defense when it comes to making sure the virus doesn’t spread more, per advice from top health officials.

According to guidelines on how to prevent infection of the novel coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that people should “[w]ash [their] hands frequently with soap and water.”

How Hand Washing Slows Down A Viral Epidemic

Unfortunately, with the coronavirus outbreak in full swing, people doubt whether something as simple as practicing good hygiene can increase their chances of not getting infected at all. As such, a study was made to help put those doubts to rest and inform everyone that properly washing hands can do as much as slow down a global epidemic.

Made by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and now published in the journal Risk Analysis, the study reportedly combined data-based simulations with epidemiological modeling to gauge the rate of good hygiene’s effectiveness in stopping the virus spread.

The researchers then looked at the percentage of people who wash their hands, as well as those who do it thoroughly. Furthermore, the researchers also looked at existing data about global flights, including flight duration, flight distance, connections and estimates of the amount of time travelers spend in airports.

From these, the researchers were able to conclude that if 60 percent rather than 20 percent of air travelers maintained clean hands, it could slow down the spread of infections by almost 70 percent. In fact, even just increasing the number of people with clean hands by 10 percent can help reduce the rate of disease spreading by as much as 24 percent.

“The current research can potentially shape the way policymakers design and implement strategic interventions based on promoting hand washing in airports, which could help [keep] any infection within a confined geographical area during the early days of an outbreak, inhibiting its expansion as a pandemic,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

As such, properly washing your hands all the time is crucial in times like this.

Washing hands Hand washing has been proven effective to help people reduce the risk of contracting or sharing diseases but many people still ignore its importance, especially when eating. Pixabay