As the Coronavirus has started to spread in our area we look for ways to protect ourselves and our families.
The CDC has advised that one of the best ways to protect yourself from getting sick is washing your hands. Hand sanitizer is a good choice if you don’t have access to soap and water - but soap remains the best method for cleaning your hands!
So why does soap clean so well, and how do you properly wash your hands?
Soap is mildly antibacterial but it does not kill viruses. Soap molecules work by loosening bacteria and viruses from your hands so that they can be washed away (from a Harvard University study http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2017/say-goodbye-antibacterial-soaps-fda-banning-household-item/ ). Using soap instead of simply rinsing with water encourages you to wash longer in order to get the soap off. These two features combined help soap do its job effectively. In other words, soap doesn't kill the bacteria and viruses, but it helps lift them from your skin to be rinsed away.
Commercial soaps often contain detergents and antibacterial additives that say they kill bacteria and viruses. The Food and Drug Administration actually banned many of these compounds in 2016 (including triclosan) because they could cause negative effects like bacterial resistance and hormonal disruption. In fact most commercial “soaps” are not even true soap but detergent compounds.
“Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.” (http://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-issues-final-rule-safety-and-effectiveness-antibacterial-soaps)
To clean your hands just follow these 5 steps per the CDC guidelines:
1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. 3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. 4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
All this hand washing got your skin feeling dry? Handmade soap contains glycerin, a natural byproduct of soapmaking, and an excellent moisturizer!
So wash your hands often to protect you and your family, and use handmade soap to help protect your skin!