How to Keep Your Fingernails Germ Free

The novel coronavirus has forced us to temporarily change or rethink almost all of our day to day activities and habits. From working out to grocery shopping to skincare and beauty treatments. Every seemingly obvious part that shapes everyday life had to be slightly altered to fit with the new restrictions imposed to flatten the curve. 

Recently, a few experts have warned that it is best to avoid long nails, nail extensions and nail varnish these days, as germs, fungi, and viruses (including the coronavirus) tend to harbor underneath the nail and can easily be transmitted to anything you touch. The longer the nails are, the harder it is to clean it properly. It is not yet known precisely how long the virus can survive on the nail as a surface, but it is certainly a period of time that allows transmission onto sensitive areas like the face. The importance of washing hands correctly has been thoroughly discussed, but what about keeping the nail area clean?

This is what you can do to maintain your nail hygiene during the outbreak.


1. Keep Nails Short

Keep Them Short

Long nails have never been a part of the lives of doctors and nurses. Anyone who needs to keep their hands as clean as possible and perform sterile procedures is instructed to keep their nails short. Now the CDC recommends the general public adopt the same precautionary habit - trim your nails regularly and make sure they don’t extend past the top of your fingertip.

A Facebook post listing the advice of an Australian nurse on the topic recently went viral. ‘If you can't rub the very ends of your fingers against the other palm, then your hands aren't truly clean after you wash them, no matter how long you soap up,’ she said.

2. Remove Chipped Nail Polish ASAP

Remove Chipped Nail Polish ASAP
Many nail salons are currently closed due to orders implemented by governments worldwide. If you happen to still have some chipped nail polish on, it is recommended that you remove it at home. There are many online guides to gel and acrylic removal as well. The cracks and crevices of chipping nail polish offer germs and viruses a convenient place to reside.
After you have removed the nail polish with acetone or any other dedicated remover, wash your hands for 20-30 seconds and scrub carefully around the fingers, thumbs, wrists and around and under the nails. As mentioned before, soap is the most effective annihilator of Covid-19. 

3. Disinfect Your Tools

Disinfect Your Tools
If you use items like clippers, it is best to clean them with a disinfecting spray. Like any other hard metal surface, these tools will harbor an active Coronavirus for 2-3 days. If you’re not sure which brand or kind of disinfectant to pick up, the EPA has posted a list of certified disinfectants. Make sure you read the instructions carefully before use. 

4. Avoid Biting, Chewing and Picking

Avoid Biting, Chewing and Picking
This may be the most important piece of advice and the hardest one to follow. Respiratory viruses like the one causing Covid-19 have no way to enter the body other than through the eyes, nose, or mouth. So, picking at your nails or the skin around your cuticles is putting you in direct danger. The CDC also strongly recommends against biting on hangnails and cutting cuticles, as they act as barriers to prevent infection.
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