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The disease itself is referred to as Covid-19 but is commonly known as Coronavirus. SARS-CoV-R is the official name of the pathogen.
New research shows that patients with the novel coronavirus extensively contaminate their bedrooms and bathrooms, underscoring the need to routinely clean high-touch surfaces, basins and toilet bowls.
To wash your hands effectively, you need to use clean water and soap. Hands should be rubbed together for at least 20 seconds, followed by rinsing. The use of soap is particularly important for hand washing to be effective as research has shown that washing with soap significantly reduces the presence of microbes (viruses and bacteria) on hands.
One often overlooked part of hand washing is hand drying—which is also integral to effective hand hygiene.
Hand drying not only removes moisture from the hands but it also involves friction, which further reduces the microbial load and the environmental transfer of microorganisms. Additionally, the transmission of microbes is more likely to occur from wet skin than dry skin.
Research looked at the impact of hand drying on bacteria, not viruses. But what was found is still relevant when looking at the possible transmission and spread of coronavirus in hospitals, clinics and doctors’ surgeries.
Results showed some ways of drying your hands are more beneficial than others.
Hot air hand dryers and cloth roller towels can be a problematic way of drying your hands—especially in hospitals and clinics. Hot air hand dryers increase the dispersion of particles and microorganisms into the air, contaminating the environment. Cloth roller towels are not recommended either as they become can be a source of pathogen transfer to clean hands.
Disposable paper towels offer the most hygienic method of hand drying, and are always the preferred option if you are in hospital as a patient or a visitor, or a staff member. Disposable paper towels are the quickest and most effective way to remove residual moisture that may allow for the transmission of microorganisms.
There is a higher risk of contamination and cross-infection in hospitals. While it is important to dry your hands properly wherever you are, this research acts as a timely reminder that proper and effective hand drying is integral to hand hygiene whether you’re in a hospital, doctor’s surgery or any public washroom.