The message from Canada’s Federal Health officials, including Provincial and Municipal governments, is becoming louder and louder – asking everyone to stay home or respect the rules for ‘physical distancing’ if you have go out, even for just a walk. We are reaching a crisis point in the fight against the Covid-19 virus and if we are to win this battle, EVERYONE must abide by the rules and be vigilant in doing so. We are also being told to wash our hands with soap over and over again, until the message sinks into the very layers of our skin. Whether you count the recommended 20 seconds of washing or sing a tune like ‘Row, row, row your boat’ three times or Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ On a Prayer’ – our hands are beginning to look like dried prunes, peeling like an eczema outbreak. Moisturizing lotions are effective in keeping the redness and itch at bay, but only until we wash our hands again. So how does using soap kill the coronavirus?
According to many health officials and medical experts, viruses and bacteria get on our hands from all types of surfaces, objects and from other people. Without thinking, we often end up touching our nose, mouth or our eyes, offering a way for the microbes to get into our bodies. Being more diligent in not doing so and washing our hands with soap and water properly and frequently can significantly stop that from happening. When washing, you must clean and scrub both the front and back of your hands, as well as each fingertip, underneath your nails and in between your fingers.
Scientists explain that soap is comprised of pin-shaped molecules that have a ‘hydrophilic head’ that securely bonds with water, but also a ‘hydrophobic tail’ that avoids water, allowing the molecules to connect with fats and oils instead. In that form, the molecules interact with other molecules and join up. Many viruses and bacteria, including coronaviruses, have what are called ‘lipid membranes’, like fats. They are studded with types of proteins giving them the ability to infect the cells in our body and keep the bacteria alive. Washing your hands with soap and water envelopes the bacterial microbes – and with the ability of the hydrophobic tails to avoid water and connect with fat and oils instead, they are able to lodge into the oily, lipid membranes of the virus, pulling them apart. Soap then traps the dirt and virus fragments in tiny bubbles called ‘micelles’, and then washes them away
The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged our daily lifestyles in many ways and unsettling to many people. By maintaining the practice of washing your hands properly and diligently, you can help in winning the fight against the virus – and potentially save your life and the life others. Be safe and be healthy.