Coronavirus, Flu, and Not-So-Common Sense

Have you stocked up on surgical masks and canned beans yet? Retreated from public life? Do you even own a bomb shelter?

Ever since CDC announced a few days ago that it’s only a matter of time before Coronavirus hits the U.S. en force, the American people have been going a little bat-pooping-bananas. (Its an industry term.)

I’m not here to tell you not to worry about this much-feared infectious disease, or to lecture you about the higher likelihood of contracting the flu. And though I’m very pro flu vaccine, I’m not here to talk about that either.

What I want you to know is that despite the fact that there is no known cure for these viral infections, there is a proven, extremely effective, easy, and cheap prevention method that you already have access to. It’s called hand-washing, and I am begging you to do it.

Multiple studies have found that washing your hands the right way* kills germs and prevents disease.

Unfortunately, almost nobody actually does it the right way. A 2018 FDA study found that most people fail to properly wash their hands 97% of the time. Ninety-seven percent! That’s only 3% less that ALL the dang time!

*For the record, here’s the right way to wash your hands:

  • Turn on the water and leave it running.
  • Wet your hands.
  • Get soap.
  • Rub your hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds. (NOT UNDER THE WATER. Why do so many people think they should rub their hands together under the water? This rinses off the soap!)
  • Need a timer? Sing the ABC song, or sing Happy Birthday twice.
  • Scrub every inch of your hands, fingers, and wrists, including under your nails.
  • Rinse your hands.
  • Dry with a clean towel.

It’s also important to know when to wash your hands.

  • Before, during, and after preparing food. (If you crack an egg or touch raw meat and don’t wash your hands immediately, you’re spreading germs all over your kitchen.)
  • After using the toilet, or touching it for any reason.
  • After helping a child use the toilet or changing a diaper.
  • Before and after eating.
  • After sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose.
  • After touching an animal.
  • Anytime you’re around a sick person.
  • After leaving a particularly geeky place, like a doctor’s office or a school.
  • Before and after brushing your teeth.
  • After touching dirty laundry. (All dirty underwear has feces on it y’all. Feces.)
  • And just multiple times throughout the day! Basically, if the thought pops into your head, just go wash your hands!

You might be thinking, “Gee, Nicole. That sounds a little excessive. Do I really need to wash my hands all the live long day?”

Yes! Yes you do! Because do you want to know what happens when you don’t wash your hands? You eat poop.

That’s right. You. Eat. Poop. Even if you can’t see it, there are little particles of poop on your hands after you use the bathroom or touch your bottom. And remember, almost nobody washes their hands the right way. So if you shake someone’s hand, or even just touch something they touched, you’ve got their poop on your hands. The next time you touch your mouth, you eat poop.

So please, wash your hands. (Unless you like poop.)

Published by Nicole Roder

Writer Nicole Roder lives in Bowie, Maryland with her husband, Matt, their children, Emma, Sophia, Raymond, and Gianni. And Lucy–their fiercely terrifying, 20-pound Boston Terrier who protects their home from some ubiquitous danger only she can see. When she’s not busy composing her next great work of fiction, she’s wiping bottoms, dancing in her kitchen, singing in her minivan, building lego castles, wrapping feather boas around her neck, and driving all over God’s creation. AKA–mothering her children.

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