Why Removing Chipped Nail Polish May Prevent The Spread Of Coronavirus

After an Australian nurse's post on Facebook urged people to keep their fingernails short to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, people began to wonder what fingernail length is safe during this time. 

When asked about the post, WebMD Medical Editor Dr. Neha Pathak, who is a board-certified primary care physician who focuses on both internal and lifestyle medicine told Insider that nails can harbor germs, but because the novel coronavirus is still being studied, it's not yet known exactly how long the COVID-19 virus can live on nails and skin. 

Dr. Pathak said, "It's important to remember that we are still learning so much about this virus. It's only been known to us for about four months, so everything we say should be caveated with 'from what we know right now."

Pathak then explained that nails can certainly harbor germs, and it's quite possible that they can cause the spread of viruses- such as the coronavirus. 

"Nails can absolutely harbor germs and allow for spread. We don't know yet how long the new coronavirus can live on our skin and nails, but certainly long enough to allow for spread if we don't clean our hands and nails properly," Pathak said. 

Dr. Patak recommends that everyone try to keep their nails trimmed so that their nails do not reach over the top of their fingertip, as well as recommends that nail polish is removed. She also made reference to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation for hospital workers to keep their nails trimmed. 

There are plenty of things we should be doing during this time such as staying sage while grocery shopping, cleaning produce from the supermarket, and social distancing- but now consider adding keeping your nails short and free of polish to this list. 

Photo: Getty

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