From school closures to sports suspensions, from travel bans to stock market mayhem, it’s truly been a crazy week. And at the heart of it all is COVID-19, the coronavirus disease that the World Health Organization is calling a pandemic.
In light of these unprecedented events and the anxiety they’re causing around the globe, I’ve felt compelled to contribute something positive and helpful if I can. So today, I’ve decided that the best way I can help is by doing what I do best, sharing a blog post full of useful information and actionable advice! :-)
This Is The Best Way To Protect Yourself From COVID-19
While it’s easy to feel powerless against the spread of COVID-19, there’s plenty you can do to help keep yourself and your loved ones healthy. And the best way to protect yourself is also the simplest—wash your hands often!
In case you could use a little refresher on proper hand washing technique, I’ve outlined the CDC’s five-step method for you below. After that, we’ll look at when you should wash your hands, and other steps you can take to keep yourself healthy!
How To Wash Your Hands The Right Way
Step 1 – Wet
Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap, and apply hand soap.
- The temperature of the water isn’t particularly important here.
- Turning off the faucet while you wash saves water!
- According to the FDA, antibacterial soaps don’t offer added health benefits for the majority of consumers, so use whatever soap you have!
Step 2 – Lather
Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Make sure to get the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
- Rubbing your hands together to lather the soap creates friction, which helps lift dirt, grease, and microbes from the skin.
- Microbes can live on any part of your hands, including under your nails, so be sure to scrub all over!
Step 3 – Scrub
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. That’s about as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” from beginning to end twice in a row. (Or pick a 20-second section of your favorite song to sing instead!)
- Evidence suggests that washing your hands for 15-30 seconds removes significantly more germs than a quicker wash, so take your time.
Step 4 – Rinse
Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
Step 5 – Dry
Dry your hands using a clean towel, or allow them to air dry.
- Germs transfer more easily to and from wet hands, so either use a clean towel or a paper towel to dry them off, or give them a good shake!
When To Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands frequently is the easiest way to keep yourself and your family healthy, but how frequent is frequent enough? Here are some key times you should make a trip to the sink to scrub up:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a wound
- After using the toilet, or after assisting a child with using the toilet
- After changing diapers
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
- After spending time in a public place
Other Ways To Protect Yourself & Others From COVID-19
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, so the best we can do right now is avoid being exposed to it. In addition to washing your hands, here are some other common sense steps that the CDC recommends taking to protect yourself and others:
☑︎ Avoid Close Contact
Distancing yourself from others is wise if an illness is spreading in your area, especially for those who are at risk of getting very sick.
☑︎ Stay Home If You’re Sick
You don’t want to accidentally get someone else sick by exposing them to your germs!
☑︎ Cover Coughs & Sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, or use the inside of your elbow. (Don’t forget to wash your hands afterward!)
☑︎ Don’t Touch Your Face
Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible. These are the portals that viruses use to enter the body, and casually touching your face only makes that more likely!
☑︎ Clean & Disinfect Your Home
In addition to your normal home cleaning routine, aim to regularly disinfect surfaces that get touched frequently, like doorknobs, countertops, chairs, light switches, handles, toilets, sinks, etc. While cleaning and disinfecting, be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands.
The CDC states that the following disinfecting solutions are effective against coronaviruses (including COVID-19):
- Diluted household bleach (1/3 cup per gallon of water)
- Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol
- Most store-bought household disinfectants
More Useful Links & Resources
Looking for additional resources about keeping your home clean and your family healthy? Check out these posts from the OGT archives for more practical tips!
- How To Make Your Own Foaming Hand Soap
- 13 Things You Should Wash Your Hands After Touching
- How To Clean Your Home After Someone’s Been Sick