Promoting handwashing, like this signboard at a Chile airport, will go a long way towards containing the coronavirus. Picture: Reuters
Promoting handwashing, like this signboard at a Chile airport, will go a long way towards containing the coronavirus. Picture: Reuters

WATCH: Doctor breaks down science behind importance of washing hands with fun TikTok video

By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Time of article published Mar 16, 2020

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Amid the ongoing covid-19 outbreak, washing of hands effectively has been the biggest message from health officials globally to avoid contracting or spreading the virus.

The importance of hand-washing has inspired campaigns, knowledge sharing and the use of social media as a tool to spread awareness. 

In order to be effective at repelling the virus, the public have been urged to scrub for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitiser which has at least 60 percent alcohol content.

Professor Lucy Rogers of London’s Brunel University. who is also a judge on BBC’s 'Robot Wars', shared the video on TikTok about the importance of washing hands with soup.

In the video, Rogers starts by saying that soap is such an ordinary, everyday thing but asks if it really work on viruses?  "Well, the answer is most definitely yes," she answers.

Rogers then mixes some pepper, oil and water in a bowl for her demonstration. "The pepper represents a virus, the oil is the fat that holds the virus together, and the water is just water," she explains. 

When she puts her finger into the mixture without any soap, nothing happens. The professor then washes her hand with soap and water and when she dips her soapy finger into the mixture, the pepper quickly repels in large circles away from her fingertip. "All the pepper, or the virus, runs away," she adds.

Rogers's hand-washing comes at a crucial time in South Africa: President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster and announced school closures and travel bans as the number of infections continue to rise. 

In an address shown live on television, Ramaphosa said South Africa had now experienced its first cases of domestic transmission of the virus whereas, up to the weekend, all people who had tested positive had done so upon return from abroad. 

In a quest to raise more awareness, World Health Organization has also dipped into social media to provide accurate information. While the organization has been using Twitter and Facebook for years, it's also posted videos on TikTok to present information on the virus.

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