April 1, 2020 -  Everyone – from our Prime Minister, public health officers and medical experts to politicians, radio and TV hosts, parents and friends –  tells us to wash our hands to prevent the spread of Covid-19.  Here are the reasons and effective ways to make hand washing a tool against Covid-19 from cdc.gov/coronavirus.  

Useful Information about Covid-19 

 * A virus is a small parasite that cannot reproduce by itself. Once it infects a susceptible host cell, a virus can direct the host’s cell machinery to facilitate viral replication (production of many more viral particles). Hence, infection of one cell by one viral particle can result in the production of thousands of new viruses.

*  The  coronavirus, is not a living organism, but a protein molecule (RNA) covered by a protective layer of lipid (fat), which, when absorbed by the cells of the ocular, nasal or buccal mucosa*, changes their genetic code  (mutation) and converts them into aggressor and multiplier cells. (mucosa* is a membrane that lines various cavities in the body and covers the surface of internal organs. It is mostly of endodermal origin and is continuous with the skin at various body openings such as the eyesearsinside the noseinside the mouthlipvagina, the urethral opening and the anus.)

* Since the virus is not a living organism but a protein molecule, it is not killed, but decays on its own.  The disintegration time depends on the temperature, humidity and type of material where it lies. The more confined the space, the more concentration of the virus there can be. The more open or naturally ventilated, the less.

Why hand washing with hot water and soap is useful 

 * The coronavirus spreads like any respiratory infection virus, through the mucus and saliva of people who are sick with the virus, that is, by coughing, sneezing, or direct contact with the hands or any other part of the body that has been splashed or touched by the virus.These include objects and surfaces around the sick person (e.g. doorknobs, railings on public transport), so other people can get COVID-19 if they touch these objects or surfaces and then their eyes, nose, or mouth. That is why it is important to wash our hands with the appropriate technique using hot water, soap or alcohol gel when you touch food, locks,  switches, remote control, cell phone, watches, computers, desks, TV, etc.  And when using the bathroom.

* The virus is very fragile; the only thing that protects it is a thin outer layer of fat.  That is why any soap or detergent is the best remedy, because the foam melts the FAT (that is why you have to rub so much: for 20 seconds or more using hot water above 25 degrees Celsius to make a lot of foam.  By dissolving the fat layer, the protein molecule disperses and breaks down on its own.

* Alcohol or any mixture with alcohol over 65% DISSOLVES ANY FAT, especially the external lipid layer of the virus.

* Any mix with 1 part bleach and 5 parts water directly dissolves the protein, breaks it down from the inside.

* Oxygenated water helps along after soap, alcohol and chlorine, because peroxide dissolves the virus protein, but you have to use it pure and it hurts your skin.

* NEVER shake used or unused contaminated clothing, sheets or cloth.  While the virus is glued to a porous surface, it is very inert and disintegrates only between 3 hours (fabric and porous), 4 hours (copper, because it is naturally antiseptic; and wood, because it removes all the moisture and does not let it peel off and disintegrates),  24 hours (cardboard), 42 hours (metal) and 72 hours (plastic).  But if you shake the clothes or use a feather duster, the virus molecules float in the air and stays afloat for up to 3 hours, and can lodge in your nose when you breathe it in.

* The virus molecules remain very stable in external cold, or artificial as air conditioners in houses and cars.  They also need moisture to stay stable, and especially darkness.  Therefore, dehumidified, dry, warm and bright environments will degrade it faster.

* UV(ultra violet) LIGHT on any object that may contain the virus breaks down its protein.  For example, to disinfect and reuse a mask is perfect.  But be careful, it also breaks down collagen (which is protein) in the skin, eventually causing wrinkles and skin cancer.

* The virus CANNOT go through healthy skin.

* Vinegar is NOT useful because it does not break down the protective layer of fat.

* NO SPIRITS, NOR VODKA help.  The strongest vodka is 40% alcohol, and you need 65%.

LISTERINE may work since it is 65% alcohol.There is no evidence that rinsing the nose with saline and gargling with mouthwash prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

* You have to HUMIDIFY HANDS DRY from so much washing them, because the molecules can hide in the micro cracks.  The thicker the moisturizer, the better.  

* Also keep your NAILS SHORT so that the virus does not hide there.

* For those using masks the WHO advises changing them as soon as they get wet and points out that masks are for single use and under no circumstances should they be reused. 

To make sure you are washing your hands long enough, sing this to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat while hand washing. Singing it twice takes about 20 seconds:

Wash, wash, wash your hands
Use  soapy water to clean
Merrily, merrily,  merrily, merrily
Turning Covid-19 into cream.


Editor of Canadian Filipino Net
Eleanor R. Laquian has written four best-selling books, and co-authored four others with husband Prod Laquian. She has served in various capacities at the University of British Columbia’s Institute of Asian Research as manager of administration and programs; editor and chair, publications committee; and primary researcher of the Asian Immigration to Canada project. She has a degree in journalism from Maryknoll College in the Philippines, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of the Philippines.


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