Coronavirus mostly spreads through respiratory droplets like the secretions we generate while coughing or sneezing. Most often, this happens through our hands and gets easily transmitted when we touch our eyes, nose or mouth, or come in close contact with another person. So, washing hands with soap and water is the cheapest, easiest, and most effective way to combat this global pandemic of COVID-19. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), clean care is safer care and this can be ensured by washing hands regularly as clean hands protect you against infection.
Amidst the pandemic fear, the advisory of washing hands regularly with soap is gaining huge momentum. So, it becomes essential to know how this can protect us from the traps of deadly COVID-19. Thomas Gilbert, an associate professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Northeastern University adduces the rationale behind this. The soaps contain a class of compounds called surfactants that pry open virus particles and encapsulate them within micelles suspended in the lather agglutinant to your hands. A soap molecule makes the insoluble virus molecules soluble in water and transfers it off from your hands down the drain. This will be effective only if you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds in the prescribed manner so that lather covers all the parts of your hand which can capture germs, like palms, wrinkles, fingernails and under rings. Using soap and water is recommended rather than sanitisers and other disinfectants because sanitiser only kills the germs and doesn’t remove it from your hands.
So, wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing and sneezing; after having close contact with an unwell person, after using the toilet, after feeding your pet, before and after eating and preparing food, after visiting public spaces and after every other activity which can make you prone to contract with the virus as prevention is always better than cure. Inculcate a good habit today to protect your and your family’s health tomorrow.