In recent weeks, as we wrung our hands as the last bottles of surface sanitiser vanished from supermarket shelves and warehouse stock piles, Boris Johnson has inspired the UK to wash their hands in the time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice. Before that, once was enough.
So why is everyone going wild about hand sanitiser?
Because we are so used to an age of convenience. Fast food, technology, and now personal cleansing. It’s true it’s a great defence in the absence of soap and water, but until the 1960s hand sanitiser didn’t exist, yet humans survived many battles with disease. The story goes that a Latina student nurse came up with the idea to deliver cleaning alcohol via a gel to assist in cleansing hands in the sixties, but it was hardly a popular everyday article until the early 2000s when SARS hit headlines. But recent studies of scientists using UV light that highlights microbes have unanimously agreed that a good wash with soap and water is far more effective than rubbing in a bit of hand gel for ten seconds.
Most medical examination boards require students to learn thorough handwashing techniques as part of their exam studies, so if it’s crucial for frontline doctors and nurses, it’s also essential for the rest of us, not least in a pandemic.
We are in a war now, against a silent, invisible enemy, and in a war, easy shortcuts can be fatal. As lockdowns globally tighten, many of us will end up based at home and we can continue to wage the war with far greater chances of victory if we continue to pump the soap, keep physically socially distant, and unite behind the authorities.
Who knows? Perhaps Morrison already whistles the first verse of Waltzing Matilda as he dutifully scrubs his palms, fingertips and in between.
Due to further global shortages which have severely affected the entire hygiene consumables industry, the restocking ETA of all hand sanitiser items has been extended to late April. Sanitation and cleanliness play a very important part in containing the COVID19 virus. The suggestions below provide a solution for when sanitiser is no longer available.
More information about Hand washing
Authorities state you should wash your hands:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching garbage
To find out more about ‘How soap kills the coronavirus’, have a look at this video by Vox:
To encourage hand washing at your facility, we’ve created some free resources for you to use in PDF form, or print out to put on the walls for all to see.