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The Science of Hand Washing

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • hygiene: practices used for keeping oneself clean
  • eliminate: to remove or destroy something
  • adhere: to stick or attach to something
  • friction: the resistance of objects rubbing against each other
  • transfer: to move an object from one place to another
  • professional: a person who works in a specific field

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Washing hands is common practice for maintaining good hygiene and disease. However, show that many people still don’t wash their hands properly. Rinsing with water is not enough to eliminate viruses. This is because viruses can adhere to skin, and the friction caused by rubbing hands together is not always enough to them. The molecules in hand soap are able to break the virus away from the skin. These molecules can then kill the virus by breaking the bonds that hold it together. It is recommended that people wash their hands for over twenty seconds with soap and water. Drying hands is also important, because wet hands can transfer bacteria to more easily than dry hands. Some people use hand sanitizer instead of soap to prevent disease. While hand sanitizer can be against bacteria and viruses, medical professionals agree that it is not quite as effective as soap and water.

Comprehension questions

1. Rinsing with water does not eliminate viruses because

Correct! Wrong!

Rinsing with water does not eliminate viruses because water can't break a virus apart from the skin.

2. Drying hands is important because

Correct! Wrong!

Drying hands is important because wet hands spread bacteria more easily.

3. Hand sanitizer is

Correct! Wrong!

Hand sanitizer is less effective against viruses than water and soap.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Hand washing is one measure you can take to prevent infection from COVID-19. What other precautions are you taking to protect yourself?

Transcript

Washing hands is common practice for maintaining good hygiene and preventing disease. However, studies show that many people still don’t wash their hands properly. Rinsing with water is not enough to eliminate viruses. This is because viruses can adhere to skin, and the friction caused by rubbing hands together is not always enough to remove them. The molecules in hand soap are able to break the virus away from the skin. These molecules can then kill the virus by breaking the bonds that hold it together. It is recommended that people wash their hands for over twenty seconds with soap and water. Drying hands is also important, because wet hands can transfer bacteria to surfaces more easily than dry hands. Some people use hand sanitizer instead of soap to prevent disease. While hand sanitizer can be effective against bacteria and viruses, medical professionals agree that it is not quite as effective as soap and water.

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub

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