A 20-Second Hand Wash Might Just Save You From Coronavirus: Here’s How (Video)

March 4, 2020
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Hand wash

The white indicates just how many germs go unseen on the surface of our hands 
 

Health officials are stressing to the public that washing your hands properly is essential to preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Not only will cleaning your hands well help kill germs, but it can also wash away dirt and grime that viruses can latch onto and even feed upon.

More than 40 per cent of Americans said they’re improving personal hygiene techniques, like hand-washing, to prevent infection from coronavirus – which has sickened 121 people in the US and killed nine – a new survey found.

But do you know what it means to ‘properly’ wash your hands? A glowing liquid reveals just how gross – and potentially coronavirus-infested – your hands remain if you don’t wash them or even cut the scrubbing short.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are several instances before and after which you should wash your hands.

This includes before, during, and after preparing or eating food; after using the toilet or helping a child who has used the toilet; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; after caring for someone who is sick; and after touching garbage.

Washing hands is better than hand sanitizer, whenever possible because the gel often leaves behind a few germs.

‘Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community – from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals,’ the CDC writes on its website.

The CDC recommends washing your hands for 20 seconds.

If you need a timer, you can sing Happy Birthday twice or the choruses of Beyoncé’s Love on Top, Lizzo’s Truth Hurts or Toto’s Africa.

To show the difference a hand-washing can make, DailyMail.com used Glo Germ lotion, in a March 2018 experiment, which revealed under a UV light how dirty our hands really are.

We tested the differences between washing your hands for five seconds, the recommended 20 seconds and using hand sanitizer to show what’s left behind even after a ‘thorough’ wash.

Glo Germ is a liquid rubbed on your hands like lotion that simulates germs to teach proper handwashing techniques and general infection control.

While your hands may appear clean on the surface, the ultra-violet light uncovers what’s really living on your skin.

In our controlled experiment, the Glo Germ revealed a swell of bacteria after not having washed our hands.

After holding a coffee cup for less than a minute, the UV light showed just how quickly the germs from our hands spread to the cup.

We then washed our hands for five seconds.

The UV light showed the areas in between fingers and at the base of the palms harboured most of the germs after the quick wash.

Germs also remained under our fingernails and got stuck on our rings.

Hand sanitizer was tested and though germs were still seen on our hands, it appeared to be less than the five-second wash.

Then after a 20-second wash to the recommended tune of Happy Birthday, our hands showed minimal germs.

A 20-second wash proved to be the best at ridding our hands of germs.

NO WASH

You can infect yourself by touching your eyes, nose and mouth with hands that have picked up bacteria, such as staph and salmonella.

While it is impossible to keep your hands completely germ-free, washing regularly before eating or cooking and after using the bathroom or blowing your nose can minimize your risk of getting sick.

However, a 2015 study found that 62 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women admit they don’t bother washing their hands after using the bathroom.

WASHING HANDS FOR FIVE SECONDS

Dr Brian Secemsky, an internal medicine physician practising at University of California San Francisco-affiliated outpatient clinics, told DailyMail.com: ‘Washing hands often, wearing masks, and staying home from work during periods of fever can help reduce the transmission of the [flu] virus.’

The CDC warns people to wash their hands and cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze to avoid spreading their virus and to also protect yourself by getting the flu shot.

However, researchers at the University of Maryland warn that the virus can also spread by travelling through the air.

Our test indicates that washing your hands for 20 seconds, as the CDC recommends, is your best bet at protecting against harmful germs and staying safe this flu season.

WASHING HANDS FOR 20 SECONDS

Our test indicates that washing your hands for 20 seconds, as the CDC recommends, is your best bet at protecting against harmful germs and staying safe this flu season.

The federal health agency recommends singing the Happy Birthday song from beginning to end twice if you’re unsure how long 20 seconds lasts.

USING HAND SANITIZER

Hand sanitizer has become a convenient alternative to washing hands with soap and water and claims to be 99.9 per cent of germs.

Today, consumers are using antiseptic rubs more frequently at home, work, school and in other public settings where the risk of infection is relatively low,’ said Dr Janet Woodcock, director of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a statement.

Our test revealed there were some germs in the cracks of our hands after using hand sanitizer.

The CDC recommends using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol because those without alcohol may not kill all the germs and irritate your skin.

The agency also encourages people to wash their hands the old-fashioned way with soap and water when you can.

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Source: Daily Mail UK

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