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Mar 18, 2020

Do You Know the Proper Hand-Washing Techniques?

There is a lot of information available on the internet on COVID-19. In the following story, we walk you through the steps to help you minimize risks. Now, soap and water are your best defenses against viruses, but hand sanitizer is a good substitute.  Washing with soap and water is a key public practice that can significantly slow the rate of the pandemic and limit the number of infections, but it works when everyone washes their hands.  The process starts with a good lather. Here is that story with Andrea Polanco.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The best way to prevent the transmission of the novel coronavirus is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.  While this virus that’s causing COVID-19 is a nasty bug, it is easily destroyed with many disinfectants when used the right way. While hand-washing is supposed to be a part of our daily personal hygiene, you must ensure that you are doing it the right way. Charletta Casanova of the Belize Red Cross has set up a small station to demonstrate proper hand-washing steps. It’s a timed, multi-step process of wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry.


Charletta Casanova

Charletta Casanova, Field & Logistics Officer, Belize Red Cross

“We also talk about when you doing hand-washing that you use running water. Don’t come and pour in the container and then wash from there because that is not healthy. So, Andrew is gonna be my faucet and he will pour the water. So, I will be wetting my hand s – I have a watch and so I will take it off because it is not waterproof; if it is, then you can keep it one. So, I wet my hands and I am going to wet it all the way up here to my elbows because it has been exposed also to germs, especially if I say I did like this and I sneeze with my hands. So, I get the soap and rub my hands together. Usually, what kills the germs on your hands is the suds; so if I see that the suds don’t have enough soap, I can always go and get some more and I take it up to my elbows and I rub.”


Scrubbing the hands should take at least twenty-seconds. If you need a timer, you sing or hum the happy birthday song while you scrub.


Charletta Casanova

“While I am doing this, if you notice there is a gap between your hands, so you take your fingers like this and it also helps with who have on nails and you wash the inside of your hands like this and then you do it on the other side. You have a lot of people that have nails, so you also have to make sure that you take an extra time to clean between each one and then from there you wash between the fingers and we go to the other one.   We also do the big thumb, because most of the times, we forget the thumb, so we have to come into the thumb and do it like this. Then each finger; if you have on rings, you push it forward and you wash and push it backwards. Some people may can’t  take off their rings, so you make sure you get all of them by pushing them front and back, turning it around so that you get to each one of them.”


And when you are finished scrubbing, you must rinse off properly and dry your hands.


Charletta Casanova

“If you notice my hand is not touching the water that is coming off my hand because that is the germs that I am washing off. And I use a paper towel. If you don’t have paper towel it is not best for you to put it on your clothes because then you get back the same germs. If you don’t have paper towel, then it is best that you just drip dry. But be careful when you are doing this because you don’t want the water from your hands to spill on anyone else. So, what I usually do, I take off a good amount of paper and I fold it in half and I start sapping from my elbow come down and then I deal with my fingers. Then for the next hand, I do it like this, turn it over and sap and come down. Usually, when you are in the bathroom and do this, the same paper you use on your hands you hold the door knob to come out of the bathroom and then you dispose of the paper.”


Proper hand-washing, should be complemented by overall good hygiene practices, as it is one of the low cost and highly effective ways of preventing the spread of the virus. While many use sanitizers, it shouldn’t replace soap and water. Those sanitizers should also contain at least sixty percent alcohol and be used when water and soap are not accessible.  The Belize Red Cross says hand-washing, should be followed by other preventative measures.


Jessie Young

Jessie Young, Community Development Officer, Belize Red Cross

“A lot of people are going crazy buying a lot of sanitizer out there but it is not as effective as soap and water, that is the number one thing. Sanitizer is the secondary method being used. But once you are at home and you have soap and water, we strongly recommend that you use that. Stay six feet from each other and use your elbows and not shaking hands. Clean your surfaces with Lysol, Clorox, such as the doorknobs, bathroom pipes and faucets and clean them regularly; even the refrigerator door or stoves.”


You should wash your hands frequently, and especially during key times when you are likely to get or spread germs. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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