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Can Covid-19 hide under nails?

Claim: A message circulating on social media claimed that Covid-19 can hide under nails. It also stated that doctors have proposed to discontinue beauty nails trade markets.

Verdict: Inconclusive

Contacted for a comment, Mpilo Central Hospital Acting Chief Executive Officer, Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said the message was misleading.

“It is a misleading statement. The correct thing is that the coronavirus can survive on hard surfaces for up to three or more days. It can be transmitted through constant infection with infected hands and nails that is why hand washing is recommended,” said Professor Ngwenya.

A journal of the American Academy of Dermatology on ‘A potential hidden reservoir: The role of nail hygiene in preventing transmission of Covid-19’ said because Covid-19 survives for long time periods on environment surfaces, it is likely to retain viability on the nails.

“Longer nail length is also associated with higher probability of practicing ineffective hand hygiene. We therefore recommend that nails are kept short and emphasize cleansing of nail undersides as part of proper hand washing,” read the journal.

However, British beauty aesthetic expert at Bijoux Medispa in Belgravia, Dr Elisabeth Dancey noted that fungi and bacteria are easily harboured under nails.

This bacteria is then transferred when touching objects, your face and other people.

“Long nails, nail varnish and nail extensions have always been a no-no for anybody who needs spotlessly clean hands, nurses, doctors, therapists, cooks, mothers and carers.

“Germs such as bacteria, fungi and viruses (including the coronavirus) can harbor underneath the nail space and easily be transmitted to whatever you touch. Put simply, you cannot see the dirt that lies beneath,” said Dr Dancey.

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