This cannot be overstated: Soap and water really works! Just because a virus is called “a respiratory virus” that doesn’t mean it can only enter your body through breathing. A virus can infect you if your contaminated hands touch any of your mucus membranes such as eyes, nose or mouth. This means: the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water. Additionally, if you follow the helpful “Contagion Cleaning Checklist” we’ve gathered, you will be far along on ensuring you remain healthy.
Wash Your Hands Often to Stay Healthy
It’s tempting to load up on hand sanitizers when there is a viral outbreak. If a hand sanitizer is 60% alcohol or more, it will work. They are convenient to use on-the-go when you don’t have water, and at home it’s nice to not have gooey soap in the dish. But, soap and water really work, and it’s cheap and easy to stay healthy by washing your hands often.
Please read the list below from the CDC on key times when you are likely to get and/or spread viruses and bacteria. Parents or child-caretakers will be interested in the link to more information on changing diapers and helping kids on the toilet.
Wash with Soap and Water Before and After:
- Preparing and eating food
- Caring for someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea
- Treating a cut or wound
- Changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
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Karen Fleming, PhD, a professor in biophysics at Johns Hopkins University, explained why soap and water really works to eliminate COVID-19:
“PSA for non-science folks: Wonder why everyone is emphasizing hand washing? Sounds banal, but soap really IS an amazing weapon that we all have in our homes. This is because coronavirus is an “enveloped” virus, which means that it has an outer lipid membrane layer. Basically, it’s surrounded by a fat layer. Washing your hands with soap and water has the ability to “dissolve” this greasy fatty layer and kill the virus.
I’m told singing “Happy Birthday” twice is approximately how long we should all be scrubbing our hands with soap. Plus, just imagine how much we will all laugh by singing happy birthday in the loo while we kill this bug!”
Tips for staying healthy:
- Practicing “social distancing,” like limiting attendance at events
- Work from home if your employer will allow it
- Stay home if you feel ill
- Take your temperature daily. If you develop a fever, self-isolate and call your doctor
- Use good hand washing practices. It is extremely important to wash hands regularly
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Cover all coughs and sneezes in your elbow or with a tissue
- Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, refrigerator handle, mobile phones
Learn more about how easily COVID-19 is transmitted on our page here.