Washing Your Hands, Explained

Why is everyone saying, "Wash your hands"?

Schools, sporting events, large gatherings, and many types of businesses have been postponed as the United States begins to bear the full magnitude of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) with a proposed epicenter in the Wuhan Province of China.

 

Social media is rife with users saying both that the measures taken are either too extreme, or not extreme enough. Tensions are high, nerves are at an all-time high, and health officials are doing their best to contain and fight this virus. The one thing that seemingly everyone is agreeing upon? The importance of washing your hands. My roommate and I were recently discussing what type of soap is “good” for handwashing during a virus situation. The short answer: ANY soap is good soap. I found a wealth of information when I searched about fighting disease spread with handwashing so I will do my best. *PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS AS MEDICAL ADVICE, SEEK A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL* I only wish to create a singular place with a lot of information based off of what I have seen.

 

The most important information I discovered is that ALL soap is good soap. Antibacterial, or any other sort of anti-anything soap isn’t required. The Covid-19 spread is a virus, and *over*simply, viruses are little danger balls surrounded in fat and protein. Soaps of all types are chemically called “amphiphiles” and they love to attack those fats and proteins.

 

When you wash your hands with these amphiphiles (read soap), it destroys the protective layer around the virus and causes it to disintegrate.

 

Twenty seconds is the CDC recommended time frame for washing your hands, continually scrubbing and adding a little elbow grease to really help that soap penetrate and kill the virus.

 

Imagine you have a dirty plate after dinner. Do you just squirt a little dish soap on top of the stuck-on macaroni and cheese bits, rinse it and put the plate away? No! Well, I hope not…

 

Your hands are a plate with some stuck-on food after dinner. Soap, warm water, and get to work. Count 1-20, sing Happy Birthday to yourself twice, whatever it takes but hit that 20-second mark.

 

**An interesting trick I saw if you have little ones, put a washable stamp on the back of each hand in the morning and if the stamp is gone by lunchtime they get a little treat**

 

Hand sanitizer products are all but sold out everywhere, if you do wish to get some, ensure it is AT LEAST 60% alcohol, otherwise you’re not doing any good in stopping the virus.


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