A key part of advice aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 infection is: wash your hands frequently. If you’re in self- isolation, in a vulnerable group and have greater need to avoid infection, or you are trying to lead a life as normal as possible, hand hygiene is a key prevention measure. Regular hand washing helps to prevent you from becoming infected and - equally importantly- helps to stop you passing COVID-19 on to others. Current advice is to wash the hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.Good hand hygiene is important because there are two key routes of COVID transmission from person to person - contact transmission and droplet transmission
Contact transmission is when someone picks up COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface or shake hands with an infected person with contaminated hands. They can then become infected if they rub their eyes or the lining of their nose or their mouth with their own hand.
Droplet transmission can happen when someone with COVID-19 sprays droplets of infected mucous by coughing or sneezing, which enters the eyes, mouth or nostrils of an uninfected person. This transmission route requires close contact (about 2 metres) between the infected and uninfected individuals. This is why physical distancing is so important.
When is a good time to wash those hands?
After coughing and sneezing
After using the toilet (we think COVID-19 might be shed in poop – washing our hands reduces the chances of us passing COVID on if we have traces of poop on our hands)
If you’ve been travelling, as soon as you arrive at your destination
As soon as returning home after being outside (you could put a note by the door to remind yourself: wash your hands)
Before handling foods and before eating with your fingers
After touching surfaces that are touched by lots of other people, such as shared computer keyboards, TV remotes, telephones, kettle handles, door handles, tap handles, toilet seats and flush handles
After touching other people, especially those outside of our immediate household group
In addition to hand washing, there are other we can do to reduce possible COVID-19 transmission:
Minimise physical contact with other people, especially people outside of our households. This means physical distancing from others when out shopping or getting exercise.
Sneezing or coughing into the inside of the elbow or covering the mouth. If tissues are used it’s important to dispose of them straight away (no! not on the floor!) and to wash your hands straight away.
Carrying alcohol hand sanitizer with us when there isn’t access to soap and water for hand washing.
These handy videos show more on hand washing and using sanitiser.
For more information on COVID1-9 hygiene visit https://www.ifh-homehygiene.org/covid-19-advice