Current evidence indicates that transmission occurs when contaminated hands touch the mucosa membrane of the mouth, nose, or eyes. The virus can also be indirectly transferred from one surface to another by contaminated hands. Therefore, hand hygiene is extremely important to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Washing your hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand rub prevents the transmission of COVID-19 and reduces the general burden of disease by interrupting the transmission of not only COVID-19, but also other viruses and bacteria that can cause the common cold, flu, or pneumonia.
Hand hygiene refers to the action of cleaning hands either by using:
- Soap and running water (Hand Washing) OR
- Alcohol-based (60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol alcohol) hand rub (Hand Sanitizing)
Frequent washing of hands with regular soap and water is a simple way to kill germs on your hands. A hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol may also be used to kill germs, but it is more preferable to wash your hands with soap and water. If that is unavailable, one can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
How to Wash your Hands
Proper handwashing and rubbing technique (wash for at least 20 seconds):
When washing hands with soap and water, it is preferable to use disposable paper towels to dry hands. If these are not available, let hands air dry, as cloth, towels, and fabrics can re-contaminate your hands. However, if you use cloth towels, clean and replace them frequently before use. For more information on what to do if you have inconsistent access to clean water and may not be able to practice handwashing behaviors as recommended, see the section in Course 2 via the link below.Handwashing