With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the focus has once again been shifted to practising hands hygiene in order to ward off the deadly infection. As the cases in India have seen a surge for a second time, the health experts have been advocating avoiding sharing personal hygiene equipment whenever possible and even sharing the nail clipper can potentially spread infections and flu.
On the Global Handwashing Day, health and industry experts say the time has come when people should maintain good hand hygiene as it can help them more than medication, vaccine and many other medical interventions. According to Global Health Observatory (GHO) data, in 2018, 5.3 million children died around the world before seeing their fifth birthday.
“India has a culture of eating food with hands, which makes it more important to trim our nails regularly and keep them clean. Keeping nails short, trimming them regularly and washing hands for at least 20 seconds, will take the chance of diseases slimmer & will prevent any kind of viruses. Since your nail clippers make contact with the area beneath your finger and toenails, they’re likely exposed to harmful bacteria and fungal spores. If you do need to let someone borrow your clippers, disinfect them with rubbing alcohol and some antibacterial soap before and after your friend uses them. By the way, you should clean them after you use them anyways,” Rajesh U. Pandya, Managing Director, KAI India.
Also read: Mask Hygiene: Caring for your skin
UNICEF said that, in 2015, more than 300,000 children under the age of five died globally from diarrhoeal infections linked to poor access to safe drinking water and sanitation – a rate of more than 800 per day. Yet many of these deaths could have been prevented through the simple act of handwashing with soap. But what is also notable that the world could also save millions of such lives by ensuring good hand washing practices. Washing hands has been proved to be the most effective and powerful shield for humanity against the COVID 19 pandemic, which is ravaging lives and livelihoods globally.
“It only takes a small cut or scratch to make the body more vulnerable to the entry of infection. Our hands and especially feet are bed to many fungal, bacterial and viral infections. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends not sharing nail clippers as one of the preventative measures against spreading Hepatitis C, in particular. A more common condition caused by the Human Papilloma virus (HPV) is the development of warts, which occur most commonly on the hands and feet” said Dr. Nandini Barua, Sr. Consultant- Dermatology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.
Another expert feels that one should be cautious when visiting a salon and opting for manicure and pedicure.
“When you borrow a nail clipper from a friend there is an element of trust involved because you know who has used it before you. Compare that to having a manicure in a beauty salon when the same equipment is used on hundreds of different people over the course of a year. In order to avoid any infection passing between clients, a professional establishment must sterilize equipment. Ascertain that your salon does precisely that,” said Dr. Manjeeta Nath Das, Internal Medicines, Columbia Asia Hospital, Palam Vihar, Gurugram
Many researchers have found that our one single nail host more bacteria than the entire hand but what is more worrisome is that most of the time these shiny cappings that add to the beauty of our fingers also enjoy most leniency when it comes to maintaining their hygiene. Lack of proper hand and particularly nail sanitation can lead to several healthcare issues and make you visit doctors more often and can even lead to hospitalization in certain cases.