New NHS film highlights importance of hand washing to combat coronavirus

A new video by the NHS in Leeds is highlighting the importance of hand washing in the fight against coronavirus.

With research suggesting people typically touch their faces nearly 350 times a day,  the short film shows how important it is to have clean hands. It follows people out and about in Leeds, taking part in typical activities, to show just how many things they touch. Any one of these could be contaminated with coronavirus or other infections including flu and norovirus, which they could then catch if they touch their face or spread to someone else.

Dr Sarah Forbes, Associate Medical Director at NHS Leeds CCG, said: “Door handles, hand rails, touch pads, phones, trolley handles, wallets, bags, petrol pumps, items in shops – we touch hundreds of surfaces every day. Any one of these, especially in public places, could harbour coronavirus, which can live up to 72 hours on some surfaces.

“A major reason why we’re so susceptible to diseases like coronavirus is that as well as touching lots of shared surfaces, we also constantly touch our faces. So hand washing is critically important if you’ve been out and about and have touched things that other people may also have touched. Even if you haven’t been out, washing your hands thoroughly and regularly is the best way to protect yourself and those around you.”

People should always wash their hands:

  • after coughing, sneezing or blowing their nose
  • before leaving home
  • on arrival at school/workplace
  • after travelling on public transport
  • after using the toilet
  • after breaks and sporting activities
  • before and after food preparation
  • before eating any food, including snacks
  • before leaving school/workplace
  • on arrival at home

Ideally, hands should be washed with warm water and liquid soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing and drying them thoroughly. Bar soap and shared towels should be avoided if at all possible, as these can become contaminated.  If soap and water are not available, people should use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol.

As well as good hand hygiene, keeping a safe distance from people (ideally two metres) and wearing a face covering on public transport, when using any health services, and in shops or other enclosed spaces will also help stop the virus from spreading.

It’s also essential that people don’t go out if they or anyone in their household or bubble has any symptoms of coronavirus, including a high temperature, continuous cough or loss / change of taste or smell.