USA Today published an article today that tells a gruesome story. Most of us are washing our hands wrong. An internet is full of videos about proper hand washing techinque. So why are we still doing it wrong?
I filmed my 5-year-old daughter washing her hands and she does it pretty well for her age. Better than many adults. Take a look.
Hand washing in bullet points:
Wet your hands, close the tap
Apply enough soap
Rub your palms together to form foam
Spread the foam all over the hands and wrists – don’t forget the back of your hands, fingertips and thumbs
Keep rubbing for at least 20 seconds
Open the tap with your wrist or elbow (not your fingertips)
Rinse well with running water
Close the tap with your wrist, elbow or back of your hand. Or disposable towel if you are using them to dry your hands.
And remember, if you are in a public toilet, the door handle is the most contaminated surface there so try to open the door with something else than with your clean hands.
This is an update for my previous post about things you can do to prevent the coronavirus (or any virus) from spreading too quickly.
If you have flu-like symptoms (even the slightest), do not go out. If you need to go to buy food or medicine, ask your friend or family to do it for you and leave the shopping outside your door.
Work remotely if possible.
If you are healthy (no flu-like symptoms), you may go out but keep distance to other people and avoid public places.
Do not visit friends and family – especially the elderly or who’s immune system is impaired (like cancer sufferers). Instead call them.
Wash hands every time you come in, after using toilet and before you eat – use proper technique when washing the hands, drying them and closing the tap. Use hand sanitiser if washing hands is not optional.
If you are healthy and not in a risk group, go food shopping during the day. Leave the early morning hours to the risk-groups when it is the most quiet.
Gough and sneeze to your sleeve. This is important especially in public places. And very important it the food stores where all of us need to go. Remeber that there is not such thing as innocent or unharmful uncovered cough!
Wash the fruits and vegetables with soap (remember to rinse thoroughly).
If you get flu like symptoms DO NOT phone the health officials. DO NOT go to the health centre. Treat yourself at home like with any cold. DO NOT go out. Instead ask a friend or family to bring you the stuff you need and ask them to leave them behind your door. But if you develop more severe symptoms like breathing difficulties, that is the time to call your health care officials. Why this is important? Because the health care system is now under huge pressure and all of us need to understand that even if you are worried that you have contracted coronavirus, you do not need to see/call a doctor. If you do not have breathing difficulties, there is no need to call or see a doctor. In the worst case scenario, you might take common cold to the health centre and the staff will get sick during the time when they are needed the most.
Cancel you hobbies and holidays (in the next coming months). Cancel everything where several people would gather.
Cancel you non-urgent dental and doctor’s appointments.
Remember that we will get thorough this. It is only temporary and life will go on after the epidemic passes. It will be difficult to distance yourself from people (unless you are an introvert). Use internet to connect to people. Chat with people you don’t know. They are as desperate to connect as you are. Sing from the window if you like and if it lifts your mood or the neighbour’s.
As the coronavirus is pandemic now and in many countries it has become epidemic, like with any epidemic, the most important thing is to slow down the spread of the virus. It’s no longer a question of avoiding it. Coronavirus will come and most likely you will get it but personally that’s not what I’m worried about. What worries us health professionals is that too many people will get sick at the same time and the health care system is not able to cope. That is why we need everyone’s help in slowing down the spread of the virus.
What Can I Do?
Most important thing is to avoid all unnecessary traveling. Even the small scale traveling like going shopping. Stay home. You may go for a walk but keep distance to the other people you encounter.
Do not visit friends or family, especially the elderly or people with low immune system (like cancer sufferers) because for them the coronavirus may be lethal. You can always phone them or connect with online video if available. Cancel your hobbies and don’t go to the birthday parties. Cancel non-urgent appointments to the dentist and doctor. Remember, this is only a temporary measure for common good.
Work remotely if possible.
Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap before you eat, before you prepare a meal, every time you come in from outside, work or home, and after using a toilet. Use proper technique (here’s how) especially when closing the tap. And remember that the door handle is probably the most contaminated thing you can touch in a public toilet, so try to open the door with your elbow or wrist. If the door has a knob, use disposable tissue to open it.
Cough and sneeze on your sleeve or disposable tissue. Cover your nose and mouth properly (here’s how). Remember that even the smallest cough will possibly spread the virus around you and if you happen to walk past an elderly person when not covering your mouth when coughing, you might be responsible for their death.
Wash the vegetables and fruits with soap (remember to rinse) before you eat them. I use washing up liquid or just regular hand soap.
If you get flu like symptoms DO NOT phone the health officials. DO NOT go to the health centre. Treat yourself at home like with any cold. DO NOT go out. Instead ask a friend or family to bring you the stuff you need and ask them to leave them behind your door. But if you develop more severe symptoms like breathing difficulties, that is the time to call your health care officials.
Please help slowing down the virus and share this post to you friends and colleagues to raise awareness.