Maintaining overall hygiene during Unlock Phases

There is no time or place for hygienic practices. They should be imbibed as a part of regular living.
Handwashing, discarding clothes for a wash and sanitizing feet after returning from outside – all of
these have gained prominence now, but should have always been the norm. The need of the hour is
however to focus on the three most important hygiene practices specific for COVID 19 –
Handwashing with soap and using sanitisers, wearing a mask and appropriate hand hygiene before
and after removing it and not touching the face with unclean hands.
Dr Dibyendu Mukherjee, Consultant, Internal Medicine at Fortis Anandapur said, “With the unlock
phases in place, more and more people are going back to their workplace. However, the risk of
contraction is still prevalent. Thus certain practices should be kept in mind to ensure safety in these
trying times.”
One of which is maintaining toilet hygiene. Washing hands after using the washroom is a must for all
genders, since the doorknobs and other metallic objects are seemingly harmless-looking super-
spreaders of a lot of diseases, not just COVID 19. Maintaining toilet hygiene has always been a
challenge for women in our country. In general, women can choose to use seat-cover sanitation
sprays or StandAndPee. It is better to avoid insertion and removal of tampons in a public toilet.
Sanitary napkins can be used for the office hours.
After returning precautionary measure begin by leaving shoes outside home and just like in hospitals
maintaining a proper informal doffing area where all unsterile items such as bags, umbrellas, car
keys, watches, spectacles, key chains and clothes can be removed and kept. Immediately after this, it
is advisable to take a hot, scrubbing bath with soap and sanitisation of the aforementioned products
with 70% ethanol based sanitiser spray / liquid as applicable. For phones and watches, immerse
cotton pads in sanitizer and rub gently. It is of prime importance to ensure that items that cannot be
sanitised properly every day such as bags and shoes are left at the segregated area.
A neglected aspect is taking care of nail hygiene, which is of great significance and essentially an
extension of hand hygiene. Keeping the nails shortly clipped is the single most important step here,
in addition to rinsing them thoroughly with soap or sanitiser as a part of the handwashing steps.
Apart from that, it’s essential to file and buff them to prevent breakage and injury. The skin around
the nails are delicate and prone to tears, hence an access point for pulp space infections and
paronychia. Excessive handwashing and detergent use can also lead to nail problems. However,
isolated yellowing, breakage, pitting, thickening, spotting of nails in the absence of any local
offending factor should prompt an investigation into an underlying systemic disease.

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