We live in an invisible world of germs from viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi. And just because we don’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t a risk to our health.

By touching our face, nose or mouth we can transfer germs into our bodies.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases says hand hygiene is the single most important preventive measure in the current outbreak of the COVID-19.

But how well did this resident do?

In this bustling Alex streets lined with hawkers, coming into contact with customers is unavoidable. Hawker Beatrice Ramapuputla says that she does not really know how to avoid contracting COVID-19.

“It’s a bit scary because I don’t know what to do. I do need help because I handle cash with my bare hands. What must I really do to avoid the virus? Must I always wash my hands?”

Some customers feel this might be a solution, but soap and potable water must be used.

To stay healthy, washing hands thoroughly should be a daily practice.

Medical Scientist Jamie MacDonald says people must wash hands thoroughly. “The problem areas are the wrists, palms, in between the fingers, under the fingernails and in between the fingernails as well.”

Medical Technologist Bolele Disenyeng explains how hands should be washed. “You open your tap with the elbow, you wet your hands, take your soap, and cover all your hand surfaces…and if it’s not an elbow tap, you can always use tissue to close it.”

Head of the Centre for Enteric Diseases, Dr Juno Thomas, says other germs can be prevented through scrupulous hand washing.

“These are germs that cause diarrhoeal disease which is a real problem in our country, especially for children under five. And many types of respiratory diseases, not only coronavirus but influenza and the causes of the common cold. Hand hygiene is the single most important preventive measure in the current outbreak of coronavirus disease.”

As the old adage goes, prevention is, after all, better than cure.

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