Limiting the spread

    Limiting the spread

    There are many ways that you can limit the spread of the disease. You should wash your hands more often than usual. When washing your hands, you should do it for at least 20 seconds using soap and hot water. 

    The virus is completely susceptible to normal soap. This is because the virus has an outer coat made up of something called a lipid bilayer. It’s this outer coat that keeps all of the important parts of the virus together. There are small molecules in soap which can cause disruption of this outer coat, destroying this protective barrier and allowing the components that make up the virus to be released into the surrounding water. The molecules in the soap then form small bubbles which coats these viral parts and helps to wash them away.

    The effectiveness of soap against viruses is based on crystal clear science, and this is why the advice about washing hands with hot soapy water is critical and should be taken seriously.  

    Hand sanitisers can also kill viruses, but it’s important they contain more than 60% alcohol. These sanitisers work in the same way, by disrupting the outer coat of the virus. Soap is always the better option though, as it’s much easier to get full coverage on your hands using soap rather than a hand sanitiser and the physical action of scrubbing with soap can help remove particles and microbes from your hands.

    It’s important to get used to washing your hands thoroughly. You should wash your hands when changing environment (for example, coming home from outside). Washing your hands should take around 20 seconds and the advice often given is to sing Happy Birthday while washing. Other songs are available. 

    You should wet your hands with water, apply enough soap to cover your hands, and rub your hands together. Try to make sure you wash the back of your hands, as well as the parts in between your fingers. Rub your thumbs with the opposite hands, and rub your fingertips on the palm of your hand. Dry your hands with a disposable towel, and then use this towel to turn off the tap.

    You should try especially hard to remember to wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. You should also wash your hands as soon as you can if you’re in an area where others are coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use hand sanitiser. 

    When you are coughing or sneezing, the current best advice from the World Health Organisation is to sneeze into a tissue which you should dispose of immediately if you can do so safely. If you don’t have a tissue, you should bring the inside of your arm up to your face and sneeze into the inside of your elbow.