It's a challenging and unbelievable time we're living in. It's easy to feel powerless, and insubstantial. There are moments things feel pointless. But there is encouragement around us, and there is something we can do to help flatten the curve. When it comes to taking care of ourselves, protecting ourselves and those around us, aside from social distancing, we have one weapon: Washing our hands.
It's amazing, and honestly a little crazy, that something so simple can be so powerful and effective. We all know that washing your hands keeps you clean. But here are some did-you-knows and tips to help you better understand why this simple action is so helpful against COVID-19 (and lots of other germs).
Did You Know…
COVID-19 is a virus, its complex and crown-like structure held together by lipid molecules and proteins, like fatty armor. Soap lather, a bubble-like structure, traps viral matter and other biomaterials, neutralizing them. The act of washing your hands with soap and water breaks down the virus's protective barrier, and it essentially falls apart as you wash it away. This is why it's important to wash for at least 20 seconds (sing your favorite tune from this massive list) and get a good lather going. Diligently scrub between fingers and fingernails, and your palms, rinse thoroughly and dry your hands with a disposable paper towel. At the end of the day, it's the lather and the friction that frees your hands of the grimy stuff.
Because COVID-19 is a virus, both antibacterial soaps and other soaps (bars of soap, dish soap, etc.) have the same ability to break down the virus on your hands. Basically, anything that lathers works. So the next time you're at the store, and you see one loan container of soap, don't be deterred if it's not "antibacterial". Grab that thing and run, because it's gold.
One of the first things people stocked up was hand sanitizer, but it's not as good at destroying viruses, even if it's the recommended 62% alcohol (or more). In fact, hand sanitizer doesn't protect against non-enveloped viruses (norovirus and rhinovirus, which are variations of the common cold).
Now for the Tips…
If you're running low on your favorite foaming soap, you can make your own from bodywashes and bars of soap. Of course, a regular bar of soap works too, but if you just have to have foaming soap, here's a tutorial for creating foaming soap from bars. Here's another tutorial for extending the life of your bodywash to create foaming soap! It's a fun little crafty project to keep you busy while you stay safe at home.
We're all hunkered down at home, but if you do have to run an errand (hey, we all gotta eat), make it a habit to wash your hands as soon as you step in the door. I know, you used hand sanitizer before you got home. Guess what: It doesn't matter. Hand sanitizer, while helpful, doesn't have the same cleansing power as a good scrub with soap and water. Here's the proof.
Wash, rinse, repeat. This simple act can protect you and those around you as we got about our days and our new (but temporary) normal.
Oh yeah: Don't touch your face.