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Hand-Washing Technique Is Surprisingly Controversial

Your hands are never going to be clean

Your hands are never going to be clean

There are just too many things living on our hands to wash all of them off.
Killing all the microbes on your hands has never even been the point of hand-washing. The point is to get as big a reduction in microbes as possible while balancing that effort with the demands of real life.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Hand-Washing Technique Is Surprisingly Controversial

Hand-Washing Technique Is Surprisingly Controversial

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/20-seconds-30-seconds-45-seconds-how-long-should-you-wash-your-hands/

fivethirtyeight.com

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Key Ideas

Your hands are never going to be clean

There are just too many things living on our hands to wash all of them off.
Killing all the microbes on your hands has never even been the point of hand-washing. The point is to get as big a reduction in microbes as possible while balancing that effort with the demands of real life.

The numerical oddities

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to wash your hands for 20 seconds. The World Health Organization says hand-washing should take 40 to 60 seconds. And it's complicated to determine who is right.
The optimal length of time for hand-washing is likely to depend on many factors, including the type and amount of dirt on the hands and the setting of the person washing hands (temperature of water, washing technique, the type of soap, etc.)

Logarithmic reduction

Food safety researchers have to think in orders of magnitude, by necessity. Instead of aiming to completely wipe out a population of microbes, they’re trying to achieve a relative decrease as measured in orders of 10.
A 1-log reduction would be a 10-fold decrease — so, 90 percent fewer germs. A 2-log reduction is a 100-fold decrease — so 99 percent fewer germs — and 3-log is 1,000 times less, or 99.9 percent fewer. You get the picture.

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Cleaning hands

Cleaning hands

Studies show that improving handwashing at 10 of the world’s leading airports could slow the spread of infectious diseases.

On average, only 20 percent of people in airports have clean han...

Improving handwashing

Focussing on the handwashing message at the most significant 10 airports in the world could reduce the spread of disease significantly at a global level (potentially by almost 70 percent).
Even small improvements in hygiene could make a huge difference. This could potentially be achieved through education, awareness, social-media nudges, public announcements and improved access to handwashing facilities.

Spreading respiratory viruses

Our hands are the front lines in the war against the new virus.
Respiratory viruses (the new virus, the flu, and the common cold)  can be spread via our hands: We can pick up dro...

Prevention is essential

  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Contact a health worker if you have symptoms; fever and a dry cough are most common.
  • Don't touch your face.
  • Don't travel if you have a fever and cough.

The top way to clean our hands

Washing your hands with soap and water is the top way to clean our hands. If soap is not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help.
When you wash your hands with soap and water, you’re wiping viruses off your hands and sending them down the drain. The whole process is actually annihilating the viruses, rendering them harmless.

one more idea

The worst enemy of the virus

The worst enemy of the virus

Even though a vaccine for the new virus is at least a year away, we all a way to fight the virus in our own homes: soap and water.
The soaps we use contain a class of compounds called surfac...

Washing our hands the right way

Hand-washing is one of the best ways to protect against the new virus. But it has to be done the right way.
You have to scrub your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds. And make sure you cover all the important parts: palms, wrinkles, fingernails, between fingers, under rings, bandaids, or splints you may have on an injured finger.

Soap vs. hand sanitizer

Destroying the structure of viruses and other contaminations with soap and water is different than using disinfectants and sanitizers, which are designed to kill germs but not remove them from your skin.