We, as a community and as a nation, can control this epidemic, mainly by using the power of soap and hand washing.The virus is a protein surrounded by a layer of fat and the soap breaks down fat. Washing the hands for 20 seconds with soap is a vital part of preventing the spread of this disease.
Viruses are not bacteria so using anti-bacterial soap will not help to kill viruses unless it also contains at least 65% alcohol. Because viruses have a fatty, greasy layer on them which acts as a protective envelope and the fact that they love attaching onto surfaces (such as your hand), it makes your hands a primary carrier for the virus and a source of infection when you then touch your face. But if you apply a detergent (such as regular hand soap, any hair shampoo, or dishwashing soap) where the virus is in contact with your hand, the soap acts as a surfactant which breaks down the greasy/fatty particles and lifts off these viruses and leaves a clean surface. Soap detergents and water act as a natural defense against all viruses like COVID-19. You need the soap to enter all creases, cracks and surfaces, which requires at least 20 seconds of hand washing (sing Happy Birthday twice).
By applying the power of soap and water to your regular habits, you can deter and decrease the chances of both spreading and contracting the disease, COVID-19.
Peter Jenkin, MD, FAAD, FRCPC
Dermatology Associates of Seattle
Peter Jenkin, Clinic Director and Board-Certified Dermatologist at Dermatology Associates of Seattle is available for consultation. For scheduling and information, visit us at appointments.daseattle.com