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Your best defense against coronavirus is washing your hands. But are you doing it right?

Karina Bland
Arizona Republic
Always travel with a nurse. Lesley Hooser fixes Sawyer's injury while camping at the south rim of the Grand Canyon in 2011.

Whenever I have any health-related questions, I call my friend Lesley, who is a nurse from New Zealand. She's down-to-earth and never panics, even when there’s blood involved.

I wanted to know how to protect myself against the coronavirus.

There’s no vaccine, and I’d read that face masks won’t help because exactly how it's transmitted still is up in air. (Paper masks are intended to keep sick people from infecting others.)

Wash your hands with soap and water properly, Lesley said.

“There should be a sign in every bathroom in America showing how to wash your hands,” she said. The proper way.

I know, you’ve been washing your hands for years. (Some of you, anyway. Research says the number of people who don't wash their hands after using the bathroom is disturbingly high.)

But are you doing it the right way?

Lesley told me how: Wet yourhands, pour soap into your palm and rub to create a lather.

Rub both sides of your hands, interlacing your fingers. Then rub each fist into the opposing palm, clasp each thumb in the opposite fist and rotate it, and then circle the tips of your fingers in the opposite palm. (That gets soap under yournails.)

Scrub each wrist (it’s best to take off rings, bracelets and watches) and rinse hands, using yourelbow or paper towel to turn off the faucet.

You should dry your hands on a paper towel and use the same paper towel to open the door when youleave the room.

At home, she said, “Don’t keep reusing the same hand towel. It’s disgusting.”

Instruction from the National Health Service in the United Kingdom on how to thoroughly wash your hands.

And that's it. The whole process takes about a minute.

“That’s your best defense,” Lesley said. “Wash your hands.”

I can do that.

I think of the people around me, opening the same doors, pushing buttons on the same elevator and water cooler and reaching to shake my hand.

The question is, can you?

Reach Karina Bland at karina.bland@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @KarinaBland.

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