Why you should keep your nails cut short during the coronavirus outbreak

We’ve been told that one of the main ways COVID-19 can spread is through our hands, hence why the government continues to remind us how important it is to thoroughly wash them as much as possible. But perhaps one thing we hadn’t considered is the role our nails play in all this. 

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Dr Elisabeth Dancey, a British beauty and aesthetics expert at Bijoux Medispa in Belgravia, recently told FEMAIL that having long nails during this pandemic is not the best of ideas. Why? Because fungi and bacteria are easily harboured under the nails, making this a prime spot for the virus to hide and spread through, particularly to our mouths, surfaces, and other people we touch. 

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

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The doctor explained that, ‘long nails, nail varnish and nail extensions have always been a no-no for anybody who needs spotlessly clean hands.’ This list includes everyone from parents to cooks, and most notably doctors and nurses. 

She encourages the general public to ‘now follow their example,’ when rigorously scrubbing under nails, and being more aware in general of the length of our nails. 

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So how do we know if our nails are too long? A woman on Facebook, who initially raised the question of nails and coronavirus, said she was told by an Australian nurse to try the following: ‘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.’ In this case, it’s worth reaching for the nail scissors. 

In short (no pun intended), it’s best to keep those nails trimmed for now, while we live through this crisis.