Washing hands helps: the corona virus survives on the skin for 9 hours

The coron virus survives on our skin for 9 hours, so washing your hands often helps. In comparison, a flu virus survives 1.8 hours.

Japanese researchers claim to have found new evidence for the need to wash hands regularly in the fight against corona.

The virus survives on people’s skin five times longer than a flu virus. The new coronavirus survives on human skin for nine hours, a flu virus for 1.8 hours, according to a study published in the scientific journal Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal.

Washing without hands accelerates spreading

“The nine-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, on human skin increases the risk of contact transmission compared to the flu virus, accelerating the pandemic,” say the Japanese researchers.

They studied the survival time on the skin of people who had recently died. Both the coronavirus and the flu virus are shut down within 15 seconds when using ethanol, which is contained in hand gels.

A photo of a school class receiving hand washing information
A teacher tells a group of primary school students about the need to wash their hands. Photo: ANP / Sem van der Wal

Study endorses WHO and RIVM policy

The longer the new coronavirus remains on the skin, the greater the chance of spreading, the researchers said. “Hand hygiene can reduce that risk.”

The study endorses the WHO and RIVM policy, which is aimed at regular and careful hand washing. Almost 40 million people worldwide have been infected with the corona virus since the outbreak in China at the end of last year.

International Hand Washing Day

Last Thursday was the international day of hand washing. That day, a Rotterdam design agency made a professional app available for free that should get the whole of the Netherlands washing hands. The app, which is called Primio and has been used in healthcare for some time, stimulates hand hygiene with small knowledge modules, activities and reminders.

The developers made the app available for free, because they believe that healthy behavior needs a helping hand. “The government is trying with all the ground rules and measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but there are no tools to support us in following those rules,” explained designer Christiaan Uythoven of Dio Agency.

Also read: K3 brings the song Handjes Wassen from home

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Washing hands helps: the corona virus survives on the skin for 9 hours