• Contrary to public opinion, face masks are not the solution to protecting yourself from the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.
  • For now, the best preventive measure is simply washing your hands.However, there is a certain way to go about it. 
  • Business Insider sub-Saharan Africa takes you through the proper process below.

With the growing spread of the coronavirus in Africa, it is important to know how to protect yourself.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best preventive measure against the global epidemic is not wearing face masks or sanitisers.

It is simply by washing your hands. However, it is not enough to just use soap and water, health experts say you have to follow five steps.

Here is the right way to wash your hands:

Start with wet hands

According to the CDC, you start by wetting your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold). Then, turn off the tap, and apply soap.

Start by wetting your hands (thehealthy)
Start by wetting your hands (thehealthy)

ALSO READ: All you need to know as the coronavirus outbreak spreads to Lagos, Nigeria

Rub soap all over your hands

The next step is to lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Make sure you also lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Scrub for several seconds

It is not enough to just rub soap on your hands and just wash it off. CDC says you have to scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Explaining the need to wash for at least 20 seconds, Physician Dr Sarah Borwein, MD tells Business Insider: "Twenty seconds has been shown to be the minimum amount of time it takes to really remove germs."

Scrub your hands thoroughly (watchdoguganda)
Scrub your hands thoroughly (watchdoguganda)

Rinse

After scrubbing, rinse your hands properly under clean, running water.

Dry off

The last step is to dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them.

Several studies have shown that simply washing your hands can protect you from the coronavirus and other life-threatening diseases.

This is why you should wash your hands as often as possible. You should only use an alcohol-based sanitizer when water and soap are not available.