When and why Handwashing is so important – even when self-isolating

If you are self-isolating at home that doesn’t mean it’s OK to cut down on handwashing. It’s still as important as ever in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and coronavirus.

Even before strict measures were announced in the UK to reduce the spread of coronavirus, the NHS’s stressed how crucial it was to keep our hands clean. The message was that regularly washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds was central to preventing COVID-19 transmission.

The NHS campaign focused on washing your hands more often, especially when leaving the house or arriving home as well as when you blow your nose, cough or sneeze and before eating or touching food. In March, social distancing measures were announced in the UK and a nationwide lockdown ensued meaning that the public had to stay at home.

The fact remains though, that even at home, you must still remember to wash your hands regularly.

GP Dr Adwoa Danso says “You must continue to wash your hands regularly particularly after touching surfaces, such as doorknobs, drawer handles and phones. We know that germs can linger on these surfaces for long periods of time, so regular handwashing is still necessary.”

It is also important to clean and wipe down surfaces in your home – particularly bathroom and kitchens areas. This is because someone in your household could have the virus and not even know about it.

“We’re all trying our best to clean but it’s an impossible task when there are so many people who are unwell. It’s just as important to carry on washing your hands in isolation,” says GP Dr Gero Baiarda from GPDQ.

Home Deliveries
During UK lockdown we have all become extremely reliant on food deliveries. Delivery drivers will of course try to minimise contact and leave your food parcel on the doorstep, but there’s still a risk of infection but the reason why handwashing is still so important is because of shopping, deliveries and post entering your home, from outside.

According to a recent study, the virus can live up to 24 hours on cardboard, as well as three days on hard surfaces such as metal or hard plastic. This means that you must handle boxes carefully, removing any outer packaging which may have come into contact with another person. If the package includes metal tins, you should wipe them down with detergent (washing up liquid in water works well). Then wash your hands as soon as you’ve put away the food brought to you from outside.

Stay Alert
Thorough handwashing is still vital in the fight against coronavirus. Don’t become complacent or start to lose your dedication to good hand hygiene. Continue to wash your hands for 20 seconds as advised by the NHS.

“Every time you wash your hands you will break the chain of infection. If in doubt, give them a wash! Do this for at least 20 seconds with warm, soapy water”
GP Dr Gero Baiarda

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COVID 19: The Facts