As a physiotherapist, I work with people on a daily basis. There is no way around it, I will need to use my hands to help someone at some point during the day. Our hands are our trade, our life but also need as much care as anything. Being that I work closely with people, hand washing is not a new idea to me. Between every client I am scrubbing the mitts. But we also take for granted they are clean with a rinse. The truth is, especially during a time of unknown proportions, we have a life saving technique that is free and easy to control - washing those dirty hands!
What is the Science Behind Hand Washing?
The Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Theresa Tam broke down the science to handwashing!
- Did you know: by washing your hands with soap and water, it destroys the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19!
- HOW: The virus shell is made of fate and protein and soap is attracted to fate molecules. The soap will therefore break apart the virus shell, causing the virus to dissolve in water! As it disintegrates, it can be washed down the drain.
- The type of soap does not matter - you do not need an antibacterial soap - any soap will do!
How to wash our hands:
We've all heard to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds - this means actively soaping and scrubbing your hands for 20 seconds - not just the process of turning on the water. To make it fun, sing a song such as Happy Birthday twice. Almost any chorus of a song is about 20 seconds - so pick a favourite an sing away!
What are the steps to get from dirty hands to sparkly clean?
- Wet hands with warm water
- Dispense a favourite soap on to your hands
- For at least 20 seconds wash:
- the backs of your hands
- between your fingers
- under your nails
- and don't forget your thumbs
- After completing the full scrub, rinse well with water
- Dry hands with paper towel
- Turn off the tap using the paper towel - by not touching the tap with a bare hand or even elbow, it ensures you haven't spread the germs back onto your hands!
There are keys to hand washing:
- Warm water - allows the soap to lather properly - cold water means the soap does not suds up and the soap is essential!
- Soap, when lathered up, will bind to the virus molecules and be able to wash them away - it's why soap is key!
I know this little write up may seem like common sense - we've been told for years by our moms to "wash your hands". But even though it may seem like common sense, the science behind it is intriguing! When we see our patients on a daily basis, multiple people a day, I want to assure you we don't take this lightly. It's something we have always done, and will always do to keep everyone safe.
Any ideas of other songs to sing? Would love to hear them!!
~ Michelle, Physiotherapist