Choosing the Right Hand Soap During the COVID-19 Era
When the COVID-19 crisis first began, one of the first pieces of advice that people received was to wash their hands frequently. By now, you've probably heard all about how you should be washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, maybe while singing a song like "Happy Birthday" twice or the ABC song once to make sure you've washed long enough, but you might still be asking yourself what kind of soap is the most effective against the corona virus. After all, there are countless different hand soaps on the market, and some of them have to be more effective against the corona virus than others, right?
Why Washing Your Hands With Soap is So Effective
First of all, the fact that you wash your hands with soap and water is more important than what kind of soap you use. If you were to take a look at a soap molecule, it would resemble a tadpole with a round head and a tail. The "head" is polar, which means it holds a charge and is attracted to water molecules. Meanwhile, the "tail" is non-polar and repels water molecules. It does, however, attract other particulates in water, which is why a combination of soap and water can be used to clean just about anything. The tails also disrupt the outer layers of most bacteria and viruses, destroying them and leaving surfaces germ-free. Alcohol works in a similar fashion, which is why hand sanitizer kills most bacteria and viruses.
As for how you should wash your hands, the 20-second rule definitely applies, especially when you use running water. Running water is less likely to be contaminated, so scrubbing your hands with soap underneath a running faucet will eliminate most of the harmful viruses and bacteria on your skin. After you're done washing your hands, thoroughly but gently blot your hands dry.
Regular Soap is Best
Now that we've discussed why washing your hands is so important in preventing the spread of COVID-19, what kind of soap should you be using. As it turns out, regular hand soap is best. Yes, there are additives that supposedly make some soaps more effective than others, but it's the soap itself that destroys the virus. Antibacterial soap does contain compounds that kill bacteria, but overall you don't need much more than regular soap to keep yourself safe from COVID-19.
Even though regular additive-free soap is technically all you need to protect yourself from the corona virus, that doesn't mean you cannot benefit from other kinds of soap. For example, hand soap that contains aloe vera can help moisturize your skin and prevent your hands from feeling dry and chapped. Frequent hand-washing and the use of sanitizers can do a number on your skin, so anything that contains a moisturizer is welcome even if it doesn't make soap more effective against bacteria and viruses.
In the end, the most important thing is that you remember to wash your hands frequently with soap and water. This means washing your hands every time you come into contact with other people and every time you come in from outside. As simple as it is, washing your hands is really the best way to prevent the spread of this virus and bring us closer to ending this pandemic.
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