Nurse warns that long fingernails could be the key to catching coronavirus

womans nails on hand
Keep them trimmed and clean during lockdown, a nurse warns. Photo credit: Getty.

With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, most of us have become much stricter about handwashing and sanitising then ever before. 

Reminders are everywhere on social media and public notices, and we're all in the habit of singing 'Happy Birthday' twice as a marker of the appropriate length of time to wash. 

However an Australian nurse has issued a warning that will come as bad news to Instagram influencers: All of these precautions could be null and void if you have long fingernails.

According to the Express, the Australian health worker took to Facebook to advise the best hygiene practice is to trim your fingernails and keep them short.

"Among all the hand-washing instructions and the fun 20-second song suggestions, I haven't seen anyone note that it is impossible to wash your hands properly if your fingernails are long," she reportedly wrote. 

There's an easy test to see if yours are too long, she says. 

"If you can't put your fingernails straight down against the 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."

Dr Elisabeth Dancey, a British beauty and aesthetics expert, told the Daily Mail that the nails are a perfect spot for fungi and bacteria to be harboured. 

"'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," she says. 

"Germs such as bacteria, fungi and viruses (including the Coronavirus) can harbour underneath the nail space and easily be transmitted to whatever you touch. 

"Put simply, you cannot see the dirt that lies beneath."

Obviously chewing nails aren't the solution, as that allows the bacteria a direct line into your mouth. Instead, keep them trimmed, filed and clean throughout the lockdown, and give your nails a chance to get strong again without frequent shellac and SNS.