Although extensive studies are being conducted daily on the novel COVID-19 virus, experts are unanimous on the importance of handwashing. After all, recent decades have shown how powerful hand hygiene is in fighting off a variety of pathogens, including food-borne diseases and viral infections. However, two important factors need to be considered: frequency and technique. Your dentist in Clintonville shares how hand hygiene can help beat COVID-19, six steps to cleaning your hands properly, and when to practice handwashing during a pandemic.
How Does Handwashing and Sanitizing Fight COVID-19?
A recent study by Harvard Medical School found that roughly 5 million bacteria can live on your hands at any given time. Yikes! Fortunately, the basic chemistry of washing your hands with soap and water can remove the potentially dangerous microbes. Because soap is a surfactant, it can effectively break down oils and dirt on your skin. From there, the water can rinse away soap and the microbes it broke down with it. This process is crucial during a pandemic viruses do not have an opportunity to linger on your hands and spread from person to person.
6 Easy Steps to Washing Your Hands Properly
Although convenient, a quick rinse under some water won’t effectively remove the bacteria that live on your hands. Therefore, it is important to follow this simple, but powerful, routine whether you are at home or out in public:
- Place your hands under clean, running water.
- Squeeze your soap of choice into the palm of your hand.
- Work the soap into a lather by rubbing your hands together.
- Make sure to gently scrub the front and back of your hands, in between your fingers, and underneath your nails for 20 seconds.
- Rinse thoroughly to remove all of the soap.
- Dry your hands completely with a clean cloth towel or paper towel.
When to Wash Your Hands in a Pandemic
According to the CDC, washing your hands frequently can prevent 20% of respiratory infections and stop viruses from entering your eyes, nose, and mouth. However, it is estimated that only 33% of adults wash their hands as often as they should. Therefore, make sure to wash your hands when you:
- Use the restroom.
- Handle raw foods, like meat and eggs.
- Return home from the grocery store, the bank, etc.
- Take out the garbage.
- Touch public surfaces (i.e., countertops, door handles, etc.).
Is Hand Sanitizer as Effective as Soap and Water?
In short, the answer is no. However, hand sanitizer does have powerful germ-fighting properties, so it can be helpful in situations where a sink isn’t available (i.e., in your car, on a hike, etc.). It is important to think of hand sanitizer as a short-term solution and still wash your hands as soon as possible.
Proper hand hygiene is crucial in limiting the transmission of COVID-19 and flattening the curve. Therefore, prioritize the safety of both you and your family by practicing frequent handwashing and sanitization!
About the Practice
At Creative Smiles, patients of all ages can receive the highest quality dental care and world-class service. With their talented team at their side, Dr. Eric Buck, Dr. Hannah Burton, and Dr. Danny Moosa use their advanced training and years of experience to help patients achieve their dream smile. If you would like information on how they are ensuring their patients’ safety during COVID-19, visit their website or give them a call at 614-459-7766.