The Grapevine

Why Hand Washing Is Still Recommended To Fight The Coronavirus

Unfortunately, much is still unknown about the current COVID-19 outbreak that’s been plaguing the world and infecting hundreds of thousands of people, while researchers are still hard at work trying to understand it and hopefully develop a vaccine in the near future.

With that in mind, one thing is still guaranteed in this case: something as simple as properly washing your hands can greatly minimize the risk of contracting it or spreading it to other people. But why is this so?

Good Ol’ Hand Washing

The reason is actually really quite simple: It’s just that washing the limbs that you use a lot in your daily life really, really works – and this works in a lot of things, not just during outbreaks of respiratory viruses that come out in recent years. For one thing, it’s also one of the best ways to minimize the risk of spreading disease-causing microbes that are known as pathogens (such as flesh-eating bugs and the infamous E. coli), which are usually the culprit behind foodborne diseases that can range from mild to life-threatening. And this holds true whether you’re the one trying to avoid getting infected or trying to rid yourself of any microbes so you won’t pass it off to other unsuspecting people. In fact, studies show that it’s even more effective than using sanitizers.

“Hand washing with soap for 20 seconds is one of the single most important practices to protect yourself, your family, and your community,” Matthew Freeman, a professor of epidemiology and global health at Emory University, said.

And on a physical level, it works all thanks to some pretty basic chemistry. This is because soap is a surfactant, meaning that it’s capable of breaking down all of the oils and dirt on your hand, which water then rinses off and takes away from your skin, carrying any microbes along with it.

“By rubbing your hands together you create the friction to get the oils off,” Freeman added.

So make sure that you never skip washing your hands on a regular basis, even if there’s no threat from a virus outbreak. It’s a simple recipe for good health. You’ll thank yourself later.

Washing hands The best way to clean your hands of bacteria is not about what product you use, but the way you use it. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, Public Domain

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