Discussion: Preventative Measures and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Subject: Public Health
Pages: 1
Words: 292
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: College

The COVID-19 pandemic put the topic of preventative measures at the forefront of the public conversation. Handwashing, in particular, became the focus of discussion as it is considered one of the easiest yet effective methods to combat the coronavirus’s spread. Nevertheless, it is essential to distinguish between handwashing with water and soap and using hand sanitizer in terms of effectiveness in damaging the cell membranes of viruses and preventing infection.

Washing hands with soap and water is a highly effective preventative measure. Amphiphiles, the molecules resembling natural lipids, can break down the lipids that make up the cellular membranes of the coronavirus, destroying the viruses adhering to one’s hands (Rosenthal and Thordarson). Different soaps contain amphiphiles, with water as an agent removing the broken membranes of the virus from the skin. Meanwhile, the alcohol in hand sanitizers nullifies the hydrophobic effect created by the lipids of the virus and allows it to destroy the cells and wash them away with water (Rosenthal and Thordarson). Thus, prolonged handwashing can remove most of the virus cells and prevent them from infecting the body’s cells. The measure should be considered efficient as most of the world’s population has easy access to clean water and soap.

In addition, the use of face masks can help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Research indicates that face masks substantially decrease the risk of infection due to minimizing inhalation of droplets carrying the infection (Li et al. 903). Specifically, masks reduce the risk of infection by approximately 70%, particularly for healthcare workers (Li et al. 905). Furthermore, using face masks and other coverings is a relatively inexpensive measure available to many. In summary, handwashing with soap and water and face masks effectively prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection.

Works Cited

Li, Yanni, et al. “Face Masks to Prevent Transmission of COVID-19: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” American Journal of Infection Control, vol. 49, 2021, pp. 900-906.

Rosenthal, Alex, and Pall Thordarson. “Which is better: Soap or hand sanitizer?” YouTube, Ted-Ed, 2020, Web.