Common hand washing tips
Speaker 1: Dr Rebecca Rohrer
So, washing your hands is one of the most effective ways that you can prevent the transmission of viruses. It's really important even washing your hands with soap and water.
And it sounds like a simple thing to do but actually lots of people don't know how to do it well.
So, the advice is that you should be washing your hands regularly; That means obviously you get on public transport, when you get in from work, before you eat, as well as your standard hygiene practices.
So, wash your hands a little bit more often. Lots of good guidance has come out around how you should wash your hands. So washing your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
Q. How long should you wash your hands for?
Speaker 2: Dr Matthew Brown
So, the recommended length of time for washing your hands is 20 seconds and that may seem like a short time but actually I think a lot of people don't necessarily do it for the full amount of time.
So there are some techniques to make sure that you are washing your hands for the appropriate length, and that involves different songs or different lyrics it's kind of help you help you reach the time.
Dr Rebecca Rohrer:
The double happy birthday is a classic, but actually I really like some of the lyric generators. Any one that allows you to kind of create your own your own lyrics and I think if it's personal to you and you'll always remember.
Dr Matthew Brown: Absolutely.
Q. How often and when should you wash your hands?
Dr Matthew Brown: There are multiple points throughout the day, that we recommend washing your hands.
So firstly, before you commute to work and after your commute to work and particularly using public transport and also, it's very hard not to touch definitely communal areas of transport and so washing your hands when you get in to work is important. Before eating and then also standard hygiene practices, so obviously and to the toilet.
Q. Should you clean underneath your nails too?
Dr Rebecca Rohrer: Absolutely. So washing your hands is important for two reasons –Firstly, to have slippery and it allows you to get off germs you might not be able to see.
Secondly, it's particularly important for coronavirus, because coronavirus is covered in a fatty envelope and actually soap, and water breaks that envelope apart and destroys the virus that way.
So, it's really important to make sure that you're covering underneath your fingernails, top and bottom of your palms, your thumbs, your wrists when you wash your hands.
Q. Should jewellery be removed when washing your hands?
Dr Matthew Brown: You should remove any jewellery which you can remove, for washing your hands. Understandably, germs and bits of soap and things can get stuck under the edge of jewellery. So, it's really important to do a thorough and proper job. And that you remove all jewellery bracelets and you can make way for the soap and water.
Q. Is it better to dry the hands with a disposable paper towel or dryer?
Dr Rebecca Rohrer: The key thing when drying your hands is that your hands remain clean. You don't contaminate your hands again by drying them. So ideally a disposable paper towel that you can then put into a bin is great.
Hand dryers might be fine, as long as you don't touch anything around the dryers and perhaps if it comes on automatically. So, what you don't want to do is to re-contaminate your hands during the drying process.
Q. How well should you dry your hands after washing them?
Dr Matthew Brown: So, I think it's really important after you wash your hands dry them thoroughly. As Rebecca said previously it actually it's really important you don't in thinking that you don't re-contaminate your hands after you've washed them.
And there is a potential habit of people to do that when they haven’t dried their hands properly, they rub it on clothing or something else. We'd recommend using disposable paper towels, I mean so your hands I dried thoroughly. So, you're not tempted to dry them with something which may be unclean.
Q. Should you use a disposable towel to turn off the tap?
Dr Rebecca Rohrer: So, ideally you don't want to re-contaminate your hands after washing. So blocking off the tap either with a paper towel in your hand or with your elbow is ideally the best thing to do.
Q. Should you wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand gel?
Dr Matthew Brown: So, the ideal is to wash your hands with soap and water as opposed to alcohol hand gel. So, soap and water is really good particularly with viruses, because of the factor content of it breaks down the wall of the virus and kills the virus essentially.
However, using alcohol hand gel, is much better than doing nothing. So, if you're in a situation where you don't have access to soap and water. So, we recommend using alcohol hand gel that’s available and using soap and water when it’s next available.
Dr Rebecca Rohrer: So, as alcohol handrails sells out really quickly, there are lots and lots of different alternatives and I think that can be a bit confusing for people.
It's really important for people to use a minimum of 60% alcohol content gel. That's the one that's been best proven as a good alternative to soap and water.
Q. What’s the best way to apply alcohol-based hand gel?
Dr Matthew Brown: So, the way you wash your hands with alcohol hand gel is the same way you should wash your hands with soap and water. And the same principle applies for 20 seconds, rubbing your hands until you get every area including the nails and also the back of the hands.
The only difference is we wouldn't recommend drying your hands after using alcohol hand gel, as part the way it works is by drying naturally on your hands. There's no need to dry your hands but it's important not to rub them early or you can be re-contaminating them after using alcohol hand gel.
Q. Will using alcohol-based hand gel often damage your hands?
Dr Rebecca Rohrer: I think lots of people are suffering from dry hands at the moment as a result of more frequent washing or more frequent use of hand gel. I'm using a lot more moisturiser. I think it's important that if you're using a moisturiser, it's your own moisturiser, you're not sharing with other people. And you know obviously your using new moisturisers that you are less likely to be contaminated.