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Help prevent coronavirus by washing your hands to these 20 songs

You could sing “Happy Birthday” twice to measure 20 seconds while scrubbing your hands. Or, you could jam out to Dolly Parton and Gwen Stefani.
The CDC recommends washing hands for at least 20 seconds to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The CDC recommends washing hands for at least 20 seconds to prevent the spread of coronavirus. [ GABRIELLE CALISE | Times ]
Published Mar. 5, 2020
Updated Mar. 6, 2020

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The ritual of hand-washing shouldn’t just be a swish of the palms with some soap and water. These days, doing it properly and thoroughly is more important than ever:

Scrubbing frequently with hot water and soap is the easiest thing you can do to cut your chances of spreading coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s important to do this before and after handling food, after using the bathroom, and before leaving home. The center recommends using hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol content if soap and water are not available.

Lather up and scrub palms, the area in between the fingers, the tops of your hands, around your thumbs and under your nails. Friction is essential for removing microbes, grease and dirt, according to the federal agency. Use a paper towel as a barrier when you turn off the sink.

Here’s the thing: You have to do this for at least 20 seconds. That’s about two rounds of “Happy Birthday.”

Freelance journalist Jen Monnier was quick to list some alternative song choices on Twitter in case the birthday song gets old. Her thread went viral, inspiring other users to share their favorites.

We took some of Twitter’s suggestions and added our own. Here are 20 tunes you can use to time your hand-washing.

1. “Mambo No. 5” By Lou Bega

2. “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo

3. “Believe” by Cher

4. “God Save the Queen"

5. “Jolene” by Dolly Parton

6. “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

7. “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X

You’ll need the bridge as well as the chorus to make it over 20 seconds, so start with “Can’t nobody tell me nothing.”

8. The Imperial March by John Williams

9. “Raspberry Beret” by Prince

10. “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers

11. “Picture To Burn” by Taylor Swift

Many other T-Swift songs work, too:

12. “Ms. Jackson” by OutKast

13. “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees

14. “Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club

15. The opening part of “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance.

"When I was a young boy/ My father took me into the city/ To see a marching band/ He said, “Son, when you grow up/ Would you be the savior of the broken /The beaten, and the damned?”

16. "No Scrubs” by TLC

17. “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani

18. “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas

19. “Love on Top” by Beyonce

20. All of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, if you are ambitious.

The entire song lasts about 18 hand washes.

What songs are you using for your bathroom karaoke? Let us know in the comments.

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus guide

Q&A: What you need to know after Florida’s first positive coronavirus cases.

PROTECT YOURSELF: Household cleaners can kill the virus on most surfaces, including your phone screen.

BE PREPARED: Guidelines for essentials to keep in your home should you have to stay inside.

FACE MASKS: They offer some protection, but studies debate their effectiveness.

WORKPLACE RISK: A list of five things employers could be doing to help curb the spread of the disease.

READER BEWARE: Look out for bad information as false claims are spreading online.

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