Mar 30 , 2020
It should be obvious right. According to a study by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, it is estimated that most people touch their faces at least 23 times an hour. While the skin on your hands does an incredible job of naturally creating a barrier for infection, it also acts as a surface where things like viruses can enter lessor protected regions like your mouth, nose, eyes, and ears. All of these areas have a mucous membrane that while efficient at keeping out larger particles from your body, is also susceptible to smaller particles like viruses that can more efficiently enter the bloodstream via the mucous membrane.
The current belief of the CDC is that COVID-19 spreads from person to person mainly through airborne “respiratory droplets” produced when someone coughs or sneezes, not unlike the flu virus. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, and also be inhaled into the lungs.
Through laboratory testing COVID-19 has proven to remain viable for hours and/or days contingent upon the surface, medical experts are still unsure how easily someone can contract this virus by touching a surface or object, such as a table or doorknob, that has COVID -19 on it and then touching their mouth, nose or possibly their eyes and even inner ears. It can be done, it's just believed to be significantly more difficult than airborne transmission.
Do I need to use antibacterial soap?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t think so and the data supports it. Antibacterial soaps are no more effective than conventional soap and water. 42 years of FDA research, along with many independent studies have produced no evidence that triclosan (the principal ingredient in antibacterial soap) provides any health benefits as compared to old-fashioned soap. The same can be said for "natural” antibacterial products.
Also, remember, antibacterial soaps specifically target bacteria (the bacterial in antibacterial), but not the viruses like COVID-19 that cause the majority of seasonal colds and cases of flu. Plus any product with triclosan is bad for the environment, can lead to other health problems, can act as endocrine disruptors and can help to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Enough said!
How about alcohol-based hand sanitizers?
Only if soap and water are not available. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t kill as many germs as washing with soap and water. And if you are going to use a hand sanitizer make sure it contains at least 60% alcohol by volume. Hand sanitizers with lessor alcohol levels are not as effective air killing germs.
Are there any dangers from washing my hands too often?
If you have deeper cracks in the skin or have overly dry or chapped hands, be careful about how often you wash them or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers (which can further perpetuate dry skin). Washing your hands too often or use of hand sanitizers strips your hands of healthy oils and good bacteria needed to fight off germs. Germs can also more easily enter your body through skin that is damaged.
Signs you are over-washing your hands include red or raw skin, itching or flaky skin and pain.
Hand Washing Tips
- Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold).
- Away from the water, lather with soap and rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. Don’t forget your wrists, the back of your hands, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
- Rinse your hands well (until soap is gone) under running water.
- Turn off the water with your elbow (if you can or use a clean fresh towel)
- Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them.
- If you used a towel to dry your hands, use the same towel to open the bathroom door to leave the room. Discard the towel in a wastebasket* (try not to be a jerk and just throw it on the floor).*
In love and health,
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