Coronavirus: The World Health Organization (WHO) and many other medical organizations recommend that everyone wash their hands more often so that people themselves do not become infected with the new coronavirus and do not pass it on to others. In fact, washing your hands helps prevent many diseases (from SARS to food poisoning), but the problem is that people mostly wash their hands incorrectly.
Alas, not all. Studies show that many people wash their hands incorrectly. For example, do not use soap or spend too little time on handwashing.
Well, how should this be done?
For example, the WHO recommends doing this like this:
- Wet your hands (water temperature is not important in terms of protection against infections).
- Squeeze out soap or use a lump of soap to soap your hands. By the way, there is no particular difference in health between bar soap and liquid soap, but it would be nice if the bar soap is in a soap dish with holes. Antibacterial should not be used: its effectiveness is not higher than usual, while, perhaps, it contributes to the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibiotics. But, in any case, the soap needs to be used: you cannot get rid of viruses and bacteria effectively with just one water.
- Foam the soap by rubbing your palms together.
- Rub the back of each palm and between your fingers.
- Rub between your fingers, clasped palms.
- Fold your hands in the lock and move them so that you rub your fingers.
- Rub your thumbs.
- Rub your fingertips against the other palm.
- Wash off the soap.
- Dry your hands (with a paper towel, or with a personal towel that you change every few days) or use a dryer. It is important that your hands are dry, otherwise, viruses and bacteria will easily settle on them.
- If you are using a paper towel, close the tap with it.
If you’re closer to the video tutorials, here’s the boring WHO guide:
WHO: How to handwash? With soap and water
If you want more fun, then watch how the staff of the British hospital wash their hands (and dance!) Under Gangnam Style:
Gangnam Style Handwashing
And here a very (too) cheerful person teaches children to wash their hands (instructions from UNICEF!):
Do the Global Handwashing Dance! | UNICEF
No one claims that this technique is the only true one, but you understood the essence: you need to soap and rub each area on your hands. This must be done for at least 20 seconds.
If you want to wash your hands as a professional, then do the same, but 40-60 seconds instead of 20.
Are you supposed to go to the bathroom with a stopwatch?
Not. It is usually recommended to sing the song Happy Birthday to You twice, so as not to be mistaken with time – it just takes about 20 seconds. But, of course, you can choose any other song. For example, the Wash Your Lyrics website (literal translation of the name – “Wash your lyrics”) allows you to distribute the words of the selected song by actions during proper handwashing. But it is based on recommendations for professionals who should do this for 40-60 seconds.
But what if hands are dirty, but you can’t wash them with soap?
Use antiseptic gel. The technique is about the same as with soap and water (you need to rub your hands until they become dry). But if you got your hands dirty pretty much and the dirt is visible to the naked eye, an antiseptic gel may not be very effective. Therefore, you should first use wet wipes.
Make sure that the antiseptic gel contains at least 60% alcohol. By the way, therefore, you need to carefully monitor that children do not lick their hands after they use it: this can lead to alcohol poisoning.
When do you need to wash your hands?
When they are clearly dirty. But not only. The list of indications for washing hands looks like this:
- After going to the toilet (always!)
- Before you start cooking, during and after Before eating
- After touching raw foods (meat, fish, vegetables)
- After blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing.
- After touching the animal (its own are also considered), its food or feces
- After visiting public places
- After a trip in public transport
- After cleaning the house
- Before and after wound treatment
- Before and after you help a sick person with diarrhea or vomiting
- After you change the diaper or help your baby go to the toilet
- After touching the trash
If you wash your hands so often, they will become dry and cracked
Unfortunately, yes, this is the risk that arises when you follow these recommendations (which, recall, help to avoid infectious diseases, which is important).
But there are some tips that will make the situation a little better:
- Use a soap with a lower pH (in a regular soap, it is 9.5–11).
- Wash your hands with non-hot water.
- Wipe them off without fanaticism.
- Apply a moisturizer immediately afterward. Better ointment or cream with oil, glycerin, lactic acid, urea and (or) petroleum jelly. Do not be lazy to experiment: one thing did not fit – another will do. Something lighter can be used when you are not at home.
- Watch the level of the relative humidity of the house. And if necessary, take action.
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