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Coronavirus Explainers

Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: Experts Guide On “How To Wash Hands Properly” And Why It Is So Crucial

How can soap kill coronavirus? What is the correct way to practice handwashing? Doctors and experts explain it all

A Fight Against Coronavirus Outbreak: Experts Guide On "How To Wash Hands Properly” And Why It Is So Crucial
  • Coronavirus vaccine is still 12 or 18 months away
  • As of now, the only cure of COVID-19 is washing hands properly
  • Experts say, one should wash hands minimum for 20 seconds

New Delhi: Amid all the scare and the rapid spread of coronavirus across the globe, health authorities till date have come up with one sure shot way to get rid of the virus and check the spread of the infection and that is “Washing hands with soap and water”. Palli Thordarson, a professor at the School of Chemistry at the University of New South Wales, Australia, recently took to Twitter to explain the molecular chemistry behind the logic. The professor in a series of tweets that have got around 50,000 views and 80,000 likes, explained that the virus is a self-assembled nanoparticle in which the weakest link in the lipid (fatty) bilayer. When we wash hands with soap, it dissolves the fat membrane and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and dies – or rather, we should say it becomes inactive as viruses aren’t really alive.”

Professor Thordarson further added that human skin is an ideal surface for a virus. He adds,

It is organic and the proteins and fatty acids in the dead cells on the surface interact with the virus and from hands, it can reach your face if you touch it and from the face it can enter in your eyes, nose and mouth. So the virus can get in…and voila! You get infected. That is why killing the virus from your hands become an utmost important step.

Also Read: Are Hand Sanitisers Effective In Preventing Coronavirus? All You Need To Know

NDTV spoke to experts and doctors to explain the significance of handwashing to combat the current outbreak and share a guide on “how to wash hands properly” to fight the COVID-19.

Also Read: Coronavirus Scare In India: Doctors Explain The Do’s And Don’ts For COVID-19

Dr Rajni Kant, Director, Regional Medical Research Centre & Head, Research Management, Policy, Planning and Coordination, Indian Council of Medical Research says,

The virus can get killed by simply using soap. So, just think of your hands as the enemy and wash them as regularly and for about 20 seconds minimum. If there is no soap or water available then use an alcohol-based, preferably with 60-70 per cent alcohol content, hand sanitiser.

Also Read: Are Homemade Masks Effective To Fight Coronavirus? Experts Explain

When should you wash your hands?

World Health Organisation and the United Nations Children’s Fund, both have advised washing hands more frequently than usual at this given point. According to them, you should wash hands-

– After coughing or sneezing
– When caring for the sick
– Before, during and after you prepare food
– Before eating
– After toilet use
– When hands are visibly dirty
– After handling animals or animal waste

Highlighting more details on when one should practice handwashing, Randeep Guleria, Director at AIIMS, New Delhi added,

Wash your hands before you touch any sort of eatables. If you step out and visit a shop or neighbourhood, wash hands with soap and water again. Currently, India is under a 21-days lockdown, we are not going out that frequently, but that doesn’t mean we will not wash hands. If there is a delivery of an item, I would suggest washing that parcel or package with a hand sanitiser or water and soap. After that, wash your own hands thoroughly.

Also Read: Meet India’s Coronavirus Warriors Who Are Fighting In Their Unique Way To Flatten The COVID-19 Curve And Save The Country From The Crisis

The right way to wash your hands

Amid the scare of the spread of coronavirus, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, taught the world the right way to washing hands. Giving a lesson on how to have clean and safe hands-on his social media, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus posted a video in which he showed the right technique to wash hands in 11 steps.

Step 1: Wet hands with water

Step 2: Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces

Step 3: Rub hands palm to palm

Step 4: Right palm over the left hand, interlaced fingers and vice a versa

Step 5: Palms to palms, fingers interlaced

Step 6:  Back of fingers

Step 7: Rotational rubbing of left and right thumbs

Step 8: Rotational rubbing on each palm

Step 9: Rinse with water

Step 10: Dry thoroughly with a clean towel

Step 11: Use the towel to turn off the tap

He further said, “It takes you around 20 seconds to wash your hands properly.”

Also Read: Centre Tags 170 Districts As ‘Coronavirus Hotspots’, Here’s All You Need To Know

To promote this healthy practice of washing hands with soap properly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had earlier launched the ‘Safe Hands Challenge’, in which they are asking nominees to take the #SafeHands challenge, post their video of practising handwashing and nominate at least another three people to join the challenge so that the healthy habit becomes like a movement in the fight against coronavirus. Dr Tedros nominated over 20 people including actor Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, philanthropist Melinda Gates, Bill Gates, American singer-songwriter Lady Gaga. Many of them along with other people have Nshown their support towards fighting coronavirus by taking UP the challenge.

Also Read: Coronavirus Explainer: Why Is A Lockdown Important?

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