Coronavirus infection: the importance of good personal hygiene in reducing infection risk

The Covid-19 (Coronavirus) infection is spreading more widely. The best way to protect yourself, your family and your work colleagues is through preventive actions such as regular handwashing, using disposable tissues when you cough and sneeze, and staying at home when you are unwell. Remember also not to touch your nose, mouth or eyes unless you have washed your hands recently.

Many of my patients are informing me they are unable to buy hand sanitizer because pharmacies and supermarkets have no stock as people have been buying large amounts because of concerns about coronavirus (Covid-19) infection. Don’t bother buying hand sanitizer. Use soap and warm water instead. Washing your hands with soap and water is usually more effective than using hand sanitizers at removing germs, and is also better at preserving the “good” bacteria on your hands. Soap and water is also a lot cheaper than sanitizer.

Finally, one person has recently died from coronavirus infection in the UK. This has caused some anxiety amongst the public and also generated a lot of media coverage. It’s important to reassure people that:

  • The number of coronavirus cases in the UK is currently low.
  • Most people will recover if they become infected.
  • You can reduce your risk of infection through good personal hygiene such as regular hand-washing.