Washing Hands With Soap and The Coronavirus
The current covid-19 coronavirus is just one of a family of coronaviruses. Both the SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and MERS, Middle East respiratory syndrome, viruses that gave us so much trouble in the past were also coronaviruses, as is the common cold.
Now the directive to please wash your hands is everywhere. Washing hands has always been recognized as an important part of public hygiene Public restrooms in most fast food restaurants and shopping malls remind employees that washing hands is required. Many even have a poster outlining proper handwashing technique. However now with a global pandemic surrounding the covid-19 coronavirus it seems everyone is reminding you to wash your hands.
Disinfectant Creams, Liquids and Gels
What you may not know is that all the disinfectant and alcohol based creams, liquids and gels on the market may not be your best defense. In fact when it comes to keeping yourself and your family safe from the coronavirus plain old soap is your best choice.
What makes soap such a powerful weapon against the coronavirus? Soap dissolves a fatty layer that holds the virus together. Without that fatty layer holding it together the virus becomes inactive. We don’t really talk about a virus “dying” because they aren’t actually alive. However once they are inactive they are no longer a threat. Alcohol based products can also affect the virus but really they are just a more expensive way to do the same thing. For times when soap and water are not practical, such as on the go alcohol sprays or wipes are handy, but you should still wash your hands with soap and water whenever you can.
Soap and the Virus
Your skin is an ideal host for virus particles. Viruses can get a good hold on the textured surface your skin offers and hang out there for a good long time. Unless you wash them away those virus particles are just sitting there waiting for an opportunity to infect. They can spread to infect you, someone else, or even various surfaces that you touch. You won’t become infected by a virus just having it on your hands, but when you touch your face you bring it closer to your eyes, nose and mouth. All of these are places where the virus can now infect you and make you sick. Soap contains a fat like structure that causes the virus to fall apart and lose it’s hold on your skin. Thus when you wash your hands with soap you “kill” the virus, make it inactive, and wash it off yourself all in one action.
Experts recommend washing your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. So turn on the water, grab your soap and lather up your hands while singing “Happy Birthday” or reciting the alphabet. Whatever helps you mark the time is fine. Just be sure to wash thoroughly, in between fingers, under and around rings and under your nails. This simple habit can really help you to keep yourself and your family healthy and virus free.