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Study: Drying your hands just as important as washing

CAPE TOWN – As the Covid-19 infection rate drops it is important to maintain good hygiene such as regularly washing your hands but studies suggest drying your hands after washing them proves to be just as important.

A simple measure to protect yourself and others is by frequently washing your hands thoroughly with recent studies finding SARS-CoV-2 able to survive on the skin for up to 9 hours, but despite decreasing infection numbers maintaining frequent handwashing remains important but an often over-looked step is proper hand-drying which is just as vital.

Drying your hands removes moisture from hands but also involves friction which reduces microbial load in effect reducing the transfer of microorganisms as the transmission of these microbes are more likely to occur from wet skin according to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine but how you dry your hands matters too.

A study published in Sage Journal, researchers looked further into various hand-drying methods and their effectiveness against microbes and transmission with the team discovering that hot air hand dryers proved problematic with this method also avoided within hospitals as it is found to disperse microbes and germs off the hand despite effectively drying them with cloth roller towels also seen as problematic as could be a source of pathogen transfer to clean hands.

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Disposable paper towels were found to be the most hygienic method of drying hands within public spaces but also within hospitals with a higher risk of cross-infection or contamination with the researchers suggesting that paper towels were the quickest and most effective way of removing residual moisture that allows the transmission of microorganisms and works well enough in hospitals, doctor’s surgery or in workplaces.

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