An expert has warned against the dangers that long nails, varnish and extensions carry amid the coronavirus epidemic. 

Dr Elisabeth Dancey, a British beauty and aesthetics expert at Bijoux Medispa in Belgravia, told FEMAIL that fungi and bacteria are easily harboured under nails, and transferred when touching your face, mouth, other people and objects.

Long nails

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

“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.

Touching nose

“Doctors know this and rigourously scrub under their nails before donning gloves and performing surgery; with a sterile nail brush and sanitising solution. We should now follow their example.”

Meanwhile GP and former orthopaedic surgeon Dr Chike Emeagi, Medical Director of Hampstead Aesthetics Clinic and Dr Chike Clinics, told FEMAIL the ideal length was just above the nail tissue, adding: “It is advisable to cut your nails as short as possible as they harbour infection.”

The warning came after a nurse went viral after revealing that long nails are one of the fastest spreaders of the coronavirus – and showed the simple way to tell if yours are short enough.

Posting on Facebook, a woman said she was told by an Australian nurse that while many people have been prioritising washing their hands well, not once have people focused enough on the importance of having short nails.

“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,” the woman wrote.

She revealed that it’s easy for bacteria, viruses, dirt, debris and even the virus to live in your fingernails, meaning if you bite them then that is then transferred into your mouth.

“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,” she said.

She recommends trying this test at home to see whether your nails are too long and need to be cut.