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By Pam Burke 

Just 20 seconds of your life

The 6 Steps of Handwashing


Last updated 4/7/2020 at 4:31pm

Havre Daily News/Pam Burke


The Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health recommend a thorough cleaning of your hands, repeatedly throughout the day, as well as avoiding touching your face to keep from getting COVID-19 by transferring the coronavirus from infected surfaces to your mouth, nose and eye - where the virus enters the body through mucous membranes.

Any hand soap will work, because the virus is a simple structure made of a fat and protein sphere around some genetic coding called RNA. The soap disintegrates the fat in the shell, like soap and warm water is used to clean greasy hands and dishes.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and advisor to six presidents, including for the current COVID-19 pandemic, has said that the reason repeated handwashing and avoiding touching the face are necessary is because it's unlikely that one handwashing will get every viable virus people have contacted in public. Also, if viruses are present on objects brought into the home, or left behind by others who have come in, subsequent handwashing will help disintegrate those viruses.

Johns Hopkins Medicine also recommended washing in water that is 77 degrees or warmer, keeping nails short and keeping hands moisturized. Repeated washing dries the skin and viruses can hide in any cracks

Start with wet hands and soap - and the 20-second hand washing begins with Step 1.

1. Swipe palms together to lather soap and clean the palm-side of your hands.

2. Spread and interweave fingers, then slide fingers forward and back against each other to scrub the sides of your fingers. Swap hands so first one hand's thumb is to the outside, then the other.

3. With fingers still spread, interweave fingers again - this time with one palm against the back of the other hand. Scrub fingers together again, but this time also scrub the webbing between your fingers. Swap hand position so each hand scrubs the other.

Havre Daily News/Pam Burke


4. Grasp one thumb with the other hand and scrub the entire thumb, base to tip, in a rotating back-and-forth motion. Switch hands and scrub the other thumb.

5. Wrap one hand around the back of the other, near the wrist. Scrub the back surface of your hand in a rotating back-and-forth motion from wrist to fingertips and back. Scrub a little extra on the fingernails. Switch hands to get them both scrubbed.

6. Finally, pinch the fingertips and thumb tip of one hand together, then scrub them in a circular motion against the palm of the other hand to clean the ends of your digits and fingernails. It's also time to cleanse the creases and any calluses in your palm.

Now you can rinse your hands.


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