Since the start of 2020, the world as we knew it has changed to incorporate social distancing, face coverings, and stay-at-home orders. While experts are still conducting extensive research on the novel Coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have continued to reinforce the importance of proper handwashing and sanitizing. Therefore, grocery stores, banks, and virtually every other business has implemented extensive sanitation measures, including hand sanitizing stations throughout their building. But does proper hand hygiene help fight COVID-19? Your dentist in Orange Park shares the answer, as well as proper technique.
The Science Behind the Power of Handwashing
Did you know that up to 5 million bacteria can live on each of your hands at any given time? When you add that with the fact that people touch their face 23 times an hour on average and can transmit harmful germs and viruses in a brief handshake, you have a recipe for a pandemic. Therefore, experts are urging the public to properly and frequently wash their hands to reduce the likelihood of it passing from person to person or entering their system through their eyes, nose, or mouth. Fortunately, soap kills germs, bacteria, and viruses on a molecular level by breaking down the microbes and rendering them ineffective. From there, the water washes away the remnants, which leaves your hands squeaky clean!
5 Easy Steps to Washing Your Hands Properly
While a quick rinse under water may be convenient and remove some visible debris, the proper technique needs to be implemented to thoroughly clean your hands. Here are five easy steps to follow:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water.
- Apply your soap of choice into the palm of your hands.
- Work it into a lather by scrubbing the fronts and backs of your hands, as well as your fingernails and underneath any jewelry, for 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands with water.
- Dry your hands completely with a disposable paper towel or air dryer.
Is Hand Sanitizer Just as Effective?
In short, the answer is no. However, hand sanitizer plays a vital role in proper hand hygiene when soap, water, and a sink are not available (i.e., while in your car, while traveling, etc.). However, make sure to look at it as a short-term solution and properly wash your hands as soon as you are able.
Frequency Is Important
Even before COVID-19, washing your hands after using the restroom or when handling raw meat was routine. However, amid a pandemic, it is crucial to increase the frequency of when you wash your hands, even while you are at home. Therefore, make sure to practice proper handwashing:
- Before you put on your face covering.
- When you take out the garbage.
- After you touch your pet.
- Whenever you touch a public surface.
- After returning home from errands.
Amid a pandemic, it is easy to feel helpless and out of control. Fortunately, something as simple as handwashing and sanitizing can help fight this virus and keep you safe whether you are at home or out in public!
About the Author
Even before Dr. Natasha Patel entered the reputable Nova Southeastern University School of Dental Medicine, dentistry was a significant part of her life. Since she was a young girl, she spent a lot of time at her father’s dental practice, which began her lifelong passion for dentistry. Today, she uses her extensive experience, skill, and talent to help her patients at Kind Care Dentistry achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. Dr. Patel also has a philanthropic project that is dedicated to serving underprivileged tribal populations and school children in Dang, India. If you would like additional information on how she is using her expertise to keep her patients safe during COVID-19, please visit her website or give her a call at 904-278-9011.