By Puja Gupta
November 24, 2020 (IANSlife) Here’s some trivia for you, did you know that viruses cannot replicate unless they enter a living cell. Without a host cell, they are not be able to mutate and multiply.
However, once the virus is able to attach itself to enough cells in the host, it multiplies by the minute, wreaking havoc on the host body’s structures.
Try this fun exercise : open your smartphone and zoom in tight while focusing on your palm. It will strike you that our hands are anything but smooth! With ridges and valleys, folds and rifts, there are lots of places for viruses to hide. If the skin is not intact, germs can enter the body through cracks and tears in the skin or through the pores of the fingers or hands, says Roopa Hariharan, Co-founder, PureCult, one stop shop for all home care needs.
Being sanitised and washing our hands is a principle that has been continually hammered into us, especially over the last few months. Is a hand washing routine lasting 20 seconds enough to kill pathogens such as viruses and other disease-causing germs?
“You may argue that you do not wash your hands as frequently as you should since you have not left your house, but you can also take steps to keep your hands healthy while you do wash them frequently,” she says.
Since hand washing is so important to prevent the spread of germs and diseases, it is important to know the best method for doing so. Let us also learn why it is recommended to wash our hands in a certain manner and what we can use to keep our hands soft and moisturised after repeating this routine several times a day.
Hariharan points out: “Firstly, CoronaVirus’ chemical makeup is breakable with soap and water. A single drop of soap contains quadrillions of molecules called amphiphiles which weakens the thin membrane protecting the virus and renders them defenceless. Water then washes them all away!“
What about hand sanitizers? Are they as effective? Hand sanitizers are arguably a better alternative to soap and water if the access to soap and water is unavailable. After being exposed to a high concentration of alcohol (70 percent), the virus’s structure can be broken or altered. It’s like removing all the supporting foundations from a house! The virus crumbles and collapses, she explains.
The destruction of the virus occurs in the first 2-3 seconds with either method. Why do doctors then recommend 20 seconds? This is due to our intricate hand geography. Soap and sanitizer need to reach all surfaces of our hands and fingers. Our palms, finger tips, the outside of our hands and between our fingers to protect us properly.
Each of these alternatives has its own merits. A hand wash is more convenient, since it does not need water to spread the soap. A hand sanitizer, on the other hand, is convenient during travel and when there is no access to water.
She suggests a few tips to keep in mind if you frequently wash your hands:
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Puja Gupta can be contacted at email@example.com