Nurse warns that longer nails are one of the easiest ways to get infected with COVID-19

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An expert has warned against the dangers that long nails, varnish and extensions carry amid the coronavirus epidemic. 

Dr Elisabeth Dancey, a British beauty and aesthetics expert at Bijoux Medispa in Belgravia, told FEMAIL that fungi and bacteria are easily harboured under nails, and transferred when touching your face, mouth, other people and objects.

She said: ‘Long nails, nail varnish and nail extensions have always been a no-no for anybody who needs spotlessly clean hands; nurses, doctors, therapists, cooks, mothers and carers. 

‘Germs’ such as bacteria, fungi and viruses (including the Coronavirus) can harbour underneath the nail space and easily be transmitted to whatever you touch. Put simply, you cannot see the dirt that lies beneath.

‘Doctors know this and rigourously scrub under their nails before donning gloves and performing surgery; with a sterile nail brush and sanitising solution. We should now follow their example’.

Meanwhile GP and former orthopaedic surgeon Dr Chike Emeagi, Medical Director of Hampstead Aesthetics Clinic and Dr Chike Clinics, told FEMAIL the ideal length was just above the nail tissue, adding: ‘It is advisable to cut your nails as short as possible as they harbour infection’.

The warning came after a nurse went viral after revealing that long nails are one of the fastest spreaders of the coronavirus – and showed the simple way to tell if yours are short enough.

A nurse has warned why keeping your nails long during the coronavirus pandemic is one of the An expert has warned against the dangers that long nails, varnish and extensions carry amid the coronavirus epidemic afterfastest ways to spread the virus (pictured)

An expert has warned against the dangers that long nails, varnish and extensions carry amid the coronavirus epidemic after a nurse went viral warning why keeping your nails long during the coronavirus pandemic is one of the fastest ways to spread the virus (pictured)

Posting on Facebook, a woman said she was told by an Australian nurse that while many people have been prioritising washing their hands well, not once have people focused enough on the importance of having short nails.

‘Among all the hand-washing instructions and the fun 20-second song suggestions, I haven’t seen anyone note that it is impossible to wash your hands properly if your fingernails are long,’ the woman wrote.

She revealed that it’s easy for bacteria, viruses, dirt, debris and even the virus to live in your fingernails, meaning if you bite them then that is then transferred into your mouth.

‘If you can’t put your fingernails straight down against your other palm without your nails adding too much distance to do it, you cannot wash under your fingernails properly unless you use a nail brush every time,’ she said.

She recommends trying this test at home to see whether your nails are too long and need to be cut.

She revealed it's easy for bacteria, viruses, dirt, debris and possibly the virus to live in your fingernails, meaning if you bite them then that is transferred into your mouth (stock image)

She revealed it’s easy for bacteria, viruses, dirt, debris and possibly the virus to live in your fingernails, meaning if you bite them then that is transferred into your mouth (stock image)

While many have been using hand sanitiser at regular intervals during the virus spread, the woman said for those who have long nails ‘hand sanitiser won’t do the trick’.

GP Dr Chike Emeagi reveals how short your nails should be 

Dr Chike told FEMAIL: ‘As an ex orthopaedic surgeon and GP we are always told to cut our nails short. 

‘In this present environment it would be advisable to cut your nails as they harbour infection. 

‘The ideal length would be to cut your nails as short as possible, just above the edge of the tissue.’

‘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 wrote.

She concluded: ‘Please, during this global emergency, keep your nails short.’ 

Many commented on the post and said they hadn’t heard about how important it was to keep your nails short before.

Others added that germs can live in your nail polish too, meaning it’s a good idea to keep your nails both short and clean.

‘Nurses can’t have painted or fake nails as they harbour an incredible amount of bacteria. This is true even when not in a pandemic,’ one woman wrote.

‘The same is true of engagement rings and wedding bands.’

British registered nurse Abigail Morinkyo, told FEMAIL this was just one of the ways bacteria could be transferred. 

She said: ‘Coronavirus can be passed on through contact, or droplets in the air when people cough or sneeze. 

‘Long or false nails are defintely not the biggest carriers, or else they would not have countries in lockdown. 

‘The disease can be passed on through false nails, in a similar way to touch, but that is one of the ways that it can be passed on.’

Furthermore, Dr. Niket Sonpal, New York based internist and gastroenterologist and adjunct professor at Touro College commented to InStyle US: ‘Long nails are not entirely ideal during an outbreak simply for the reason that they take longer to clean. 

‘People are not mindful that they have to allocate more time than usual to wash the underside of the nails, and they harbor more germs and bacteria.’ 

An allergy and infectious diseases specialist issued a severe warning to nail biters about how the bad habit could seriously increase the risk of contracting coronavirus (stock image)

An allergy and infectious diseases specialist issued a severe warning to nail biters about how the bad habit could seriously increase the risk of contracting coronavirus (stock image)

What are some tips to stop you from biting your nails? 

Wear gloves whenever possible

Chew gum

Keep fingers busy by playing with something like a fidget spinner or a rubber band

Get regular manicures and keep your cuticles in good condition

Use a bitter nail paint

Speaking previously to FEMAIL, an allergy and infectious diseases specialist issued a severe warning to nail biters about how the bad habit could seriously increase the risk of contracting coronavirus. 

Purvi Parikh, an allergy and infectious disease specialist with New York University’s Langone Medical Center, advised that all kinds of ‘bacteria, viruses, dirt, and debris’ can collect under the nails – and this can then be transferred into your mouth when you bite your nails, particularly if you aren’t washing or sanitizing your hands properly.

‘Every time you touch your face — especially your mouth, nose, and eyes — you’re transferring all of those germs. And you can get sick,’ she told The Cut, adding that germs going directly into your mouth is ‘the easiest way you can contract any infection’.

She said: ‘There are so many infections going around this time of year, from bacterial to viral to the flu. But then on top of that, given that we now have this coronavirus, there’s even more reason not to bite your nails.’ 

How to STOP touching your face: Expert reveals his top tips to beating the ‘dangerous’ everyday habit that can spread coronavirus

By Jessica Rach for MailOnline

  • Expert has revealed how the practice of touching your face can be instrumental in spreading diseases like coronavirus
  • Dr. James Cherry, an infectious diseases expert at UCLA, advised wearing gloves or using a sterile contraption to touch your face
  • Author Martin Grunwald revealed politicians are extensively trained not to touch their face as it carries negative connotations and distracts from speeches

An expert has revealed how touching your face regularly could play a major role in the spread of diseases like coronavirus.  

Dr. James Cherry, an infectious diseases expert at UCLA, has warned that the masks worn by many in the hopes of protecting themselves from the virus won’t actually help if you still touch your eyes or other crevices – a common way to contract a virus.

He says that the regular movement, which comes naturally to most, is something which should be avoided, and advises wearing gloves to make you more conscious of your movements, or keeping the hands occupied by folding them.

Martin Grunwald, who wrote a book about touch perception entitled Homo hapticus, reveals that politicians are ‘trained extensively’ to not to touch their face, explaining that ‘self-touch frequency’ is a ‘negative affect’ and shown to distract attention from a public speech.

Dr. James Cherry, an infectious diseases expert at UCLA has shared top tips for how to stop the 'dangerous' habit of touching your face regularly, including wearing gloves (stock image)

Dr. James Cherry, an infectious diseases expert at UCLA has shared top tips for how to stop the ‘dangerous’ habit of touching your face regularly, including wearing gloves (stock image)

Speaking to the LA Times, Dr Cherry said: ‘Surgical masks don’t cover the eyes. And people wearing masks can sometimes get an itch on their nose, and if they rub their nose through their mask, they’re likely to rub their eyes.

‘Viruses are very happy infecting through the eyes as well as through nose and mouth’.

He says: ‘Consider wearing gloves. The latest food safety gloves can also be used on smartphone screens, and gloves might make you more conscious about touching your face.’

Nathan Winch, an award-winning entrepreneur who has sold a successful hand sanitizer company, told Femail: ‘Viruses can enter your body through the mouth, nose or eyes so each time you rub your eyes when you’re tired, put your hand to your mouth to stifle a yawn or scratch your nose, you run the risk of inviting coronavirus in. 

‘The virus can latch on to mucus membranes, going on to destroy cells in the throat, nose or sinuses. From there, in someone with a weakened immune system, it can go on to attack the lungs and kidneys.

‘If you feel an itch that must be scratched, have makeup to apply or contact lenses or dentures, try and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after you touch your face. You might also want to consider wearing sterilised gloves if you’re on the move and carry a hand sanitiser if possible.’

Meanwhile Homo hapticus author Martin revealed that politicians are extensively trained not to touch their face as it carries negative connotations and distracts from speeches.

In his book, he writes: ‘Every human being spontaneously touches its eyes, cheeks, chin and mouth manifold every day. These spontaneous facial self-touches (sFST) are elicited with little or no awareness and are distinct from gestures and instrumental acts.

‘Self-touch frequency has been shown to be influenced by negative affect and attention distraction and may be involved in regulating emotion and working memory functions.

‘Politicians, for example, learn through extensive training to restrain from touching their face during public speaking’. 

 



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