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Research Shows: Drying the Hands Is Crucial For Reducing Virus Transmission

Date : Mar 11, 2020

Author : DR A Zayed

With the current COVID-19 virus outbreak, people have heard the message crystal-clear: “washing the hands and using disinfectants regularly, is important for avoiding the infection.” 

But, there is another part of this message that only recently surfaced that shouldn’t be overlooked, and that is, hand drying. Study finds: drying your hand after washing important to reduce spreading virus.

According to, John Gammon, one of the authors of the study at Swansea University, drying the hands is just as an important strategy as washing them. This simple, yet very important act, reduces the possibility of recontamination. 

Person washing hands in bathroom

Why Drying the Hands Matters?

Plenty of researchers have analyzed how the coronavirus, and any virus in general, manifest in the body. And every single study has pointed out at one particular factor – moisture. A moist surface is a nesting place for germs. It’s the ideal living ground where they can thrive and multiply. 

Study finds: drying your hand after washing important to reduce spreading virus. The reason for that is relatively simple. Germs need moisture and without drying our hands after washing, we provide that ideal surface for them, pointed out Miryam Wahrman, a biology professor. 

But, the way you dry your hands matters as well. The professor advises using cloth or paper towels to dry the hands completely. Based on statistics, Wahrman suggests that these two methods eradicate the germs much better than washing does since they create powerful friction. The friction is enough to remove anything that might get stuck on the skin. 

Cloth Towels Vs Paper Towels – Which One Is Better?

Both cloth and paper towels create friction. But, each of them has its own positive and negative aspects. 

Paper towels are disposable. They are a super-effective method for rubbing the skin, particularly for removing germs. However, they are not as environmentally-friendly as the cloth method. Plus, they are more expensive. You will be throwing them away with each use. But you are less likely to contract any germs from them. 

Cloth towels are reusable. You can wash them, clean them, and use them again. This is a cheaper and better option for the environment. But, they also have plenty of red flags. First of all, every individual in the house should have a personal towel. Secondly, these towels should be regularly cleaned. And finally, they too need to be dried completely. Otherwise, they can create a place that will attract even more germs. 

What About Air Dryers?

A big “no”, stated the professor. The device, whether it’s a jet or air drier, it may gush the germs back to your skin and all around the air. In other words, you will end up breathing them in. 

Also, very few people are patient enough to wait for the drier to completely dry out the moisture on the hands, therefore creating a powerful environment for more bacteria to flourish. Not to even mention, you will be touching the doorknobs with wet hands, transferring all the bacteria to a highly accessible surface. This makes the whole recontamination a lot easier. 

Final Thoughts

According to the latest study finds: drying your hand after washing important to reduce spreading the virus. But, to achieve that, it’s a good idea to use paper and cloth towels. By removing all the moisture from the skin, you reduce the possibility of contracting or transmitting the virus. So, the next time you do go to the restroom, it’s a good idea to keep a few tissues in your pocket, just in case. They need to be clean, of course, but they can definitely come in handy.

References

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1757177418815549?journalCode=bjib

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-dry-your-hands-preven-coronavirus-2020-3

https://www.wired.com/story/wash-your-hands-but-beware-the-electric-hand-dryer/

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