Hand washing has become one of the staples of the coronavirus crisis. Seemingly forgotten by some in the general public, handwashing has made a major comeback as one of the essential tools to help limit the spread of the virus.
Washing your hands is no easy task though. This is why we bring to you five tips for the ultimate handwashing technique.
When to Wash your Hands
Whenever you touch anything and need to touch your face. Whenever you are going to eat anything. Items’ surfaces can become contaminated with numerous pathogenic agents, including coronavirus. You want to avoid your hands becoming carriers of those pathogens. In the case of coronavirus, you want to avoid getting it on your hands so that the virus does not get close to your eyes, nose and mouth in the eventuality you touch your face.
Which happens…all the time. A 2015 study involving 26 medical students at the University of New South Wales found that on average the students touched their faces a whooping 23 times per hour.
You got it: just wash your hands as often as you can!
Below is a must-watch video about how cross-contamination can happen if you fail to wash your hands.
What to Use
Running water rather than stagnant water, as this will make sure you do not keep scooping what you just washed away from your hands.
And soap, anything soap: old fashioned soap bars, fragrant liquid soaps, you name it. Soap is your best ally against threats like coronavirus.
That’s because soap will neutralise the virus by breaking down the fatty barrier protecting it. Antibacterial handwashes will not work any better as the coronavirus is not a bacteria, but a virus instead.
Warm or Cold Water?
Cold and warm water work equally well. Warm water might only be more effective in case you need to remove oil (which can harbor bacteria) from your hands. Whilst we know coronaviruses tend to prefer colder temperatures, there is currently no evidence in favour of warm water above cold water. Warmer water also tends to create more skin irritation (for example dermatitis), which might compromise skin integrity and expose you to higher chances of infections.
Note that good hand hygiene tends to dry our hands. Make sure to keep them moisturised. Some great ingredients include aloe vera, almond oil and hyaluronic acid just to mention a few.
Handwashing Technique to Minimise the Spread of Coronavirus
Below is the World Health Organisation (WHO) handwashing protocol. Make sure to follow every single step. This should take you about 20 to 40 seconds, or about 2 “Happy Birthday” singalongs.
We believe there could be an extra step in the WHO handwashing protocol.
Below is a must-watch video that takes you through WHO’s handwashing protocol step by step. It cleverly shows you which areas would have been missed if not for following this protocol.
You will notice the video unintentionally reveals one zone that is left untouched by WHO’s protocol (around the 1min35sec mark). We believe adding the one simple step performed in the video would take care of it for perfectly clean hands. This step would come after step number 7 in the WHO infographic. That extra step makes sure we have not missed the area around the wrists and sides of the hands.
Just as a reminder – below is a diagram that shows the most frequently missed parts of the hand when incorrect hand washing technique is not adopted. Improperly washed hands remain a cause of concern, as highlighted below.
Think you might be sick and unsure what to do? Have some concerns regarding the current situation and would like to talk about it with medical professionals? Book in for a telehealth consult in less than a minute and speak with a qualified Australian doctor or psychologist who might be able to answer all your questions.