The coronavirus pandemic has a lot of us scrambling to disinfect, clean, and stay home. However, the easiest way to halt the spread of the coronavirus is to properly wash your hands. We’ve all seen the charts, and there’s plenty more memes going around about it. Still, charts can be hard to understand, and you may be missing vital information. We’ll give you everything you need to know about proper handwashing techniques to help minimize the spread of cold, flu, and other viruses!
Soap is Key (But not a dealbreaker!)
When handwashing, it’s important to use soap. Soap doesn’t necessarily kill germs, but rather, soap breaks water tension. Typically, germs lodge in dirt, oil, grease, and other fine molecules on our bodies and hands. Soap breaks down these oils and helps to generate friction through rubbing that will help to remove germs when you rinse your hands. If you do not have soap, washing with water works well, but not as well as when you have an agent like soap.
Now that you have soap armed at your defense, let’s talk about handwashing strategies.
You should be performing hand washing routines for at least 20 seconds. There are a few ways you can time yourself without counting one Mississippi, two Mississippi. Here are a few fun ways you can use to time yourself!
- Sing happy birthday to yourself twice
- Recite the opening monologue from Star Trek, i.e. “Space, the final frontier…”
- Have a home assistant? Ask Google Home or Alexa to time you!
- Check out more songs you can sing including a flow chart of “Hey Jude”
Now that we know we’re using soap to wash our hands, and how we’re counting to twenty seconds, let’s talk about how you should be washing your hands. We’ve all seen this chart:
But let’s talk about the key areas and how they work. Essentially, you’ll want to make sure you wash your palms, back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails. Take a look at this video to help you see it in action:
Basically, your steps are:
Wet your hands and wrists, lather the soap, scrub your palms, back of your hands, wrists, and each finger individually. Then, scrub under your fingernails. After that, you can rinse your hands, dry with a paper towel, and turn off the water with a paper towel.
Remember to always wash your hands before and after eating, after using the restroom, and after interacting with the public. We hope this helps you stay safe out there!