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Does Washing Your Hands Prevent Covid-19?

Jan 05

Hand washing is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Without even realizing it people tend to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth frequently. Washing your hands with soap and water helps to remove germs from your hands and can prevent infection.

While there is limited evidence that COVID-19 can be spread via clothes, utensils, furniture, or other surfaces; public health officials put hand washing and surface cleaning at the top of their updated guidance for COVID-19 precautions. The risk of contracting the coronavirus through touch may be lower but is still a factor. Basic soap-and-water scrubbing can, in fact, kill bacteria and viruses like coronavirus. Cleaning with soap and water can also dislodge germs and cause them to slide off surfaces when rinsing.

Speaking, shouting, coughing, and sneezing play a much larger role in the spread of COVID-19 than surface transmission, because we emit tiny aerosol water particles containing the virus when we cough or sneeze.

Does hand washing stop COVID? The best defense against the spread of COVID-19 is getting vaccinated. Although hand washing may have a limited role in preventing the transmission of COVID-19, there is substantial research proving that it does reduce the spread of colds, influenza (flu), and gastrointestinal infections. This article covers when should you wash your hands, how long should you wash your hands, hand sanitizers vs soap, and other helpful tips.

When Should You Wash Your Hands?

Washing your hands is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.

You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often. COVID-19 safety protocols suggest additional situations where you should wash your hands during these key times when it is more likely to get and spread germs:

Hand Hygiene and Pandemic Protocol

Hand washing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can prevent germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout entire communities — from your home, workplace, childcare facilities, and hospitals.

Many people ask “Does soap kill COVID?” and “Does hand washing prevent COVID-19?” Washing your hands correctly can help prevent the spread of germs. Washing your hands with soap can also prevent the spread of water droplets on masks that carry the COVID-19 virus. It is important to know how to wash your hands correctly.

Five Easy Steps For Washing Your Hands

  1. Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with soap. Make sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands well under running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel.

Hand Sanitizer vs Washing Hands with Soap

Washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs. If soap and water are not readily available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol will help in preventing the spread of germs.

Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs, but are not as effective as soap and water. Here are some facts about hand sanitizers to keep in mind:

Preventing the Spread of Germs During COVID-19

To help prevent the spread of germs during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to clean hands before and after:

Have you Been Exposed to COVID-19?

If you have come in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, it is important to follow current quarantine, masking, and testing protocols. Close contact denotes having been within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

Fully Vaccinated

After close contact with someone who has COVID-19, those who are fully vaccinated must strictly wear a mask around others for 10 days. After 5 days, get tested for COVID-19. If your test results are negative, you may resume normal activities. If at any time you develop symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and stay home.

To be considered fully vaccinated you must meet the following criteria:

Partially Vaccinated or Unvaccinated

After close contact with someone who has COVID-19, those who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated must stay home for 5 days. After 5 days, get tested for COVID-19. You must then strictly wear a mask for an additional 5 days. If at any time you develop symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and stay home.

Those considered to be partially vaccinated or unvaccinated include those who:

Other Safety Measures

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