Wash Your Hands to Keep Yourself Virus-Free
You’ve heard it a million times by now, and you’ll hear it a million more, but the best way to lower your risk of contracting Covid-19 (or pass it on to someone else) is to wash your hands after you cough, sneeze, touch your face, use the restroom, or are about to leave one place for another.
Even if you’re not sick, just stay home if you can. Being in large crowds or going out to restaurants pose unnecessary risks not just to yourself but to the people around you. The more you’re in public, the more chances the novel coronavirus has to hitch a ride on your hands, clothes, or person. Millions of people are very vulnerable to this virus. Putting yourself at risk also puts them at risk.
Why You Should Avoid Face Masks (for Now)
They serve an important purpose for people who are sick or are caring for an ill person, but face masks are in short supply and needed by health care workers and those who are sick with the virus. Wearing a mask may also give you a false sense of security, causing you to put yourself at greater risk.
“You may in fact be touching your face more often because you’re adjusting your mask. Or you may be trying to keep your eyeglasses from fogging up, then the portal of entry might be your eye,” Townes said. “I think we need to deemphasize wearing masks in public as a strategy.”
As far as we know, the novel coronavirus is transmitted through person-to-person contact, or respiratory droplets. Those droplets don’t stay suspended in the air, they fall to the ground within about six feet of the infected person.
To Keep Your Home Virus-Free
Clean and Disinfect
The first thing you’ll want to know is that cleaning and disinfecting are two very different things. The CDC recommends we all do a bit of both, even if nobody in your home is sick.
- Cleaning is about removing contaminants from a surface.
- Disinfecting is about killing pathogens.
- Do both daily if anything or anyone has entered or exited your home
Transmission from person-to-person is a much greater risk than transmission via surfaces, but the CDC recommends we clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in our homes at least once daily just to be safe, assuming we have had contact with the outside world in some way, either a person leaving and returning or goods coming in.
Target Your Home’s High-Touch Surfaces
Researchers have found that the novel coronavirus is capable of living on surfaces such as cardboard for 24 hours, but up to two or three days on plastic and stainless steel. So cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces is a step we should all take.
High-Touch Surfaces to Clean and Disinfect Daily:
- Table surfaces
- Hard dining chairs (seat, back, and arms)
- Kitchen counters
- Bathroom counters
- Faucets and faucet knobs
- Toilets (seat and handle)
- Light switches
- TV remote controls
- Game controllers
Everyone’s home is a little different, so just think about the surfaces you interact with most. For me, that includes the above, plus desk surfaces and mousepads (we’ll get to gadgets in a bit). Now that you know what you’re cleaning, here’s how you should do it.
First Clean, Then Disinfect:
- First, clean the surfaces, removing any contaminants, dust, or debris. You can do this by wiping them with soapy water (or a cleaning spray) and a hand towel.
- Then apply a surface-appropriate disinfectant. The quickest and easiest way to do this is with disinfecting wipes or disinfectant spray.
That’s it. Just adding these to your daily routine can help lower the risk of infection for you and anyone else in your household. If you aren’t able to obtain disinfectants at this time, just do a thorough job with the soap or cleaning agents you do have.
The EPA has a full list of disinfectants that will kill the novel coronavirus, but here are a few essentials to keep an eye out for. You can find most of these disinfectants online at Amazon or Walmart if your local grocery store is out of stock. Most disinfectants should have a label that lists the viruses they’re effective against, and that’s what you’ll want to look out for more than any particular active ingredient.
“If [a disinfectant product] has an indication for killing influenza, RSB, SARS virus, or other coronaviruses, then it should work against this one also,” Townes said.
- Disinfecting wipes (Clorox, Lysol, or store brand will do)
- Disinfectant spray (Purell, Clorox, Lysol, all make sprays that will work)
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Hydrogen peroxide
If You Cannot Find Store-Bought Disinfectants
Store shelves are bare in a lot of places, especially in the cleaning section, but you still have plenty of options. First off, please do use more soap, water, and scrubbing. That can make a huge difference.
The CDC also has a recommended recipe for a homemade cleaning solution using household bleach.
How to Make Homemade Bleach Disinfectant Spray:
- 4 teaspoons household bleach
- 1 quart water
- Pour both into one quart spray bottle, shake vigorously
- Spray on surface to disinfect, let sit for 10 minutes, wipe away with wet cloth
Bleach is excessive in most cases. You should never ever mix bleach solution with any other cleaning chemical, and it’s likely to damage or discolor sensitive surfaces. Use it as a last resort if you can’t source or acquire any other kind of disinfectant. With bleach, remember to wear gloves, open your windows (ventilation is your friend), and be careful.
Should You Disinfect Food and Snacks?
No, not without reason. According to the FDA, there is no evidence to suggest that food or food packaging can transmit the novel coronavirus, so there is currently no need to disinfect food or food packaging any more than you usually would. Just observe standard food safety.
Stay Home, Stay Safe
There’s a lot going on right now. It’s stressful. It’s scary. It can be hard to know what you should do or what’s going on. If you have more questions, and who doesn’t right now, we have a lot of thoughtful, thoroughly researched news and articles about the novel coronavirus. You can read more here. Stay safe out there, and please, if you can, stay home.
Updated March 21: We clarified that if you’re unable to obtain disinfectants, using soap and water on surfaces is still important and can be effective.
Source – https://www.wired.com/