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Home » Coronavirus: Why is washing hands with soap and water so effective? – News
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Coronavirus: Why is washing hands with soap and water so effective? – News

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The medical science behind it is fairly simple.

You might well ask how Covid-19 having brought the world to its knees and making 7 billion people cringe in fear is destroyed so easily by soap and water. What is so special about soap and water and any soap at that? They do not even say carbolic acid. Even lavender bars are good enough. If this virus is so fragile then why can’t it be destroyed just as easily within the body, like say by gargling with soapy water for 40 seconds since it is supposed to park in the throat initially.

I am not even being facetious, just very serious. These past few weeks the hand washing option has leapt to the top of the charts and become not just a ritual but a grail. We wash like Lady Macbeth gone mad till our skin wrinkles, the odour of fragrant soap relentlessly permeating our nostrils, wash, wash, wash. Most of us haven’t even stopped to ask why it is so effective.

The reason is simple. Viruses, especially coronaviruses like those that give us the common cold and the seasonal flu and the sniffles, reside quite comfortably in our hands and are easily transmitted by hand to mouth and nose contact. By washing incessantly or at least frequently what we do manage to achieve is the crippling of the virus. Medical science says the soapy suds and the art of rubbing damage the outside layer of the virus and mash the pokey prongs that create its crown (hence its name) thereby rendering it inactive. It may still be alive but it is no longer capable of infecting the person since it has lost that capability thanks to the rubadub dub exercise. More like a crushed work if you want an analogy.

Very much like the HIV virus which is so fragile and cannot live outside its host. It hits the air and begins to degenerate instantly, still but damaged. This one is rubbed into oblivion.

So, very good reasons to wash hands. The quantum leap to having something abrasive that peels off the outer skin of the virus even after it has entered the body and cripples it is something scientists and researchers will probably be working on. For now just keep clean and remember that with each rub you are distancing yourself from the enemy.





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