World Hand Hygiene Day falls on the 5th May this year. Hand washing is always important, but now more than ever, hand washing is something that should be done regularly and thoroughly to prevent illness spreading. Coronavirus is a respiratory illness, so it is mainly spread through droplets from coughing/sneezing. If you don’t catch and dispose of your coughs and sneezes in the correct way, by using a tissue and disposing of it, the virus can end up on surfaces. By touching the contaminated surface, the virus can then transfer onto hands. The virus can then enter the body from touching your eyes, mouth or nose. Wash with soap and water or alternatively use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (above 60% alcohol content) to stop the virus from spreading further. According to the NHS website this is when you should wash your hands: After using the toilet or changing a nappy, before and after handling raw foods like meat and vegetables, before eating or handling food, after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing, before and after treating a cut or wound and after touching animals, including pets, their food and after cleaning their cages. There are no guidelines on how often you should be washing your hands, but it’s important to remember that the virus can live on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours. It is also advised that you wash your hands when arriving at work and arriving at home, and as soon as possible after using public transport.

Hand washing is still essential when self-isolating. It is likely that you or someone in your household are still travelling to the supermarket, or you are receiving food deliveries. Although measures are in place to prevent spread, any external items entering your home can pose a risk of infection. You should handle all food items appropriately, removing the outer packaging where you can. Metal or plastic packaging can be wiped down with antibacterial solution and a cloth, or soapy water. Once you have put away the items, wash your hands. Hands should also be washed after handling the post or receiving other delivered goods.

How to thoroughly wash your hands

1. Wet your hands with water.

2. Apply enough soap to hands.

3. Rub your hands together.

4. Use one hand to rub the back of the other. Repeat with the other hand.

5. Rub your hands together and clean in between your fingers.

6. Rub the back of your fingers against your palms.

7. Rub your thumb using your other hand. Repeat on the other thumb.

8. Rub the tips of your fingers on the palm of your other hand. Repeat with other hand.

9. Wash your wrists.

10. Rinse your hands with warm water.

11. Dry your hands completely with a disposable towel if possible.

12. Use the disposable towel to turn off the tap.

If you are washing your hands more than usual, its is possible that your hands may be becoming dry. Use a moisturiser to help with this.

Put your safety first and make sure you take extra care and ensure you wash your hands before you cook or eat, after you use the bathroom, after using public transport and if you touch anything that's been delivered or posted through your door.