Practicing proper hand hygiene is one of the best defenses against COVID-19
We all know handwashing is important. But why? How does this everyday process help prevent disease and keep us healthy?
Washing hands is first and foremost a mechanical process by which we are able to physically remove dirt, grime and germs from our hands by the miracle of soap and water. Soap – a mixture of fat or oil, water, and an alkali, or basic salt – acts as the middleman between water and the oil molecules on your hands. This is important because germs stick to the natural (and extraneous) oils and grease on our hands.
Although oil and water don’t mix, soap sticks to both. So during the handwashing process, the soap molecules bind to both the water and oils on your hands, effectively carrying away the germs as you wash. At the molecular level, soap also works by breaking things apart, to include many nasties of the microscopic variety.
Frequent handwashing is important now more than ever as we attempt to quiet the spread of COVID-19. Most of us touch our eyes, nose and mouth many times throughout the day without even realizing it. Viruses and bacteria can easily enter the body through these facial “portals” if not kept at bay with proper hand hygiene.