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Probably enough for it to feel like a broken record, right? With the current COVID-19 situation however, Coronavirus washing hands for safety is becoming a highly discussed topic. Parents, teachers, friends, colleagues, doctors, and other medical professionals alike have all undoubtedly said the same thing to you so many times that you never want to hear those words again: “Remember to wash your hands!” And yet, many of us either don’t do so regularly, don’t do so properly, or don’t know how to thoroughly clean our hands with soap and water. So you might be asking, what’s the importance of washing your hands?
We’ve probably also seen (and hopefully never been!) those people who leave the bathroom without even turning on the faucet. Unfortunately, this isn’t just unhygienic, it’s downright dangerous…especially during a virus outbreak.
Everyone who’s ever told you to wash your hands wasn’t just doing so because they liked the sound of their own voice. Washing your hands frequently and properly is your first line of defense against harmful bacteria and viruses that can make you sick, sometimes fatally. Having good hand hygiene can help you stay healthy, prevent illness, and prevent the spread of germs at the faucet. All it takes to get sick is for someone to touch a germ-infected surface and touch their face afterward, so keeping your hands clean truly is the best defense against illness.
While washing your hands at any time isn’t a bad idea, there are some key activities that put you at higher risk for coming into contact with all types of germs. Before, during, and/or after these activities are the best times to make a habit of washing your hands properly. Some of these times include:
Naturally, there are plenty more times when it would be best to wash your hands, but the general rule of thumb beyond the guidelines listed above is: If you’re not sure, just wash them! And, keep in mind, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that the soap you use does not have to specifically say “antibacterial soap” on the label. Technically, any soap is antibacterial, so the label is redundant. Additionally, since not all of the germs you come into contact with are bacterial (many are viral), the antibacterial factor of soap is less important than the general cleansing qualities soap contains.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided the public with a 7-step process for properly and thoroughly washing your hands. Try following these steps every time you go to the sink and see how less frequently you get sick.
After you’ve followed these steps, make sure you wash all of the suds off of your hands. Then, dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them until your hands are dry. As far as how long you should spend washing your hands each time, sing the Happy Birthday song in your head while you wash and dry once you’ve finished the song. Singing the song out loud is an especially effective method when encouraging young children to wash their hands correctly as well.
If you’re not in a position to properly wash your hands with soap and water, you should go ahead and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, specifically one with at least 60% alcohol. This way, even though you should still wash properly as soon as you’re able, you can at least kill any germs that were already on your hands.
If you feel as though you or a loved one are experiencing similar symptoms associated with the coronavirus, do not hesitate to visit the nearest Village Emergency Center near you to be thoroughly tested. At Village Emergency Centers, we have a full staff of board-certified physicians ready at a moment’s notice. No matter the time of day, have confidence you’ll receive expert care without the wait.