By Bae Ji-sook
Avian influenza is dominating conversations in Korea. Everyone is talking about how to avoid the disease ― cook the poultry at 75 degrees or more for more than five minutes or avoid touching bird excrement.
Experts say, washing hands will not only prevent transmission of the bird flu but also the measles, chicken pox and mumps. They washing hands properly can drop the risk of infection in large amount.
Experts at Movement for Washing Hands, consisting of 25 health authorities and doctors, said avian influenza was infecting people mostly because they had influenza on the hands, which they transferred to other body parts.
Doctors warned that hands could be dirtier than feet covered with socks. But not many people really know the exact way to wash them. The group says washing hands for 30 seconds, eight times a day would be important.
The group to promote the necessity of washing advised that people need to wash hands after a trip outside, before touching infants, after having coughing, touching money, trash or pets.
Use soap, make it foam and rub it thoroughly. Make sure you get underneath of fingernails. Spend at least 20 seconds on it and then dry the hands thoroughly.
When using public bathrooms, the doorknob could be contaminated. Try to open the door without using the door handles. Also, do not turn pages of a book with one's saliva. Try to use a wet sponge.
But still, one needs to remind that washing hands cannot prevent all infection. Prof. Kim June-myung of Yonsei University warned that the idea of washing hands is a very basic step and its effect is very restricted in a way.