With coronavirus showing no signs of getting arrested in its rampage across the world, the best we can do is safeguard ourselves by adopting appropriate and advised preventive practices. We all know that the best way to prevent getting infected is to clean, clean, and clean! But what does that entail? We’re going to break it down for you into actionable practices, so you know exactly what to do.
Precautions to Take When Stepping out of the House
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With lockdowns in place all over the world and social distancing being implemented everywhere, going out should only be reserved for absolutely essential purposes—purchasing foodstuff, medicines, baby food or doctor visits. When going out the main idea is to reduce direct skin contact with external surfaces of all kinds and to keep exposure to the minimum.
When you do step out here are some simple steps you should take:
- Wear long clothing: Long sleeved tshirts and full-length pants (instead of shorts or capris). This way you reduce any inadvertent direct skin contact with outside surfaces like door frames, counters, glass etc.
- Cover your hair: Wear a scarf or a cap. That way any aerosolised water droplets from sneezing, coughing, or talking won’t touch hair.
- Wear a mask: The efficacy of masks may be limited in areas that see high levels of infections such as hospitals, but when walking down a street it can prevent breathing in of aerosolised water droplets from sneezing, coughing or talking. Since a mask will be in contact with your nose and mouth, leave that as the last thing you wear before you leave to ensure it does not get contaminated through too much touching as you dress up.
- Avoid public transport: The less people you come in contact with the fewer are your chances of getting infections. Use your car, motorcycle or walk. If you have a mountain bike, now may be a good time to spring it out for city use.
- Curb your pets from rubbing against outside things: Sniffing and rubbing against poles, lampposts, bushes, other people are all favourite pet pastimes. Like you, though, they need to be in contact with as few surfaces of the outside world as possible. They themselves do not contract coronavirus but you could as they carry the virus on their fur and then transfer it to chairs, carpets, floors and you when you pet them or give them a belly rub! Instead take them for a walk through a quiet lane or an empty lot. Wash their paws when you get home and wipe of their silly faces with a wipe if they allow it. If possible, make them wear a tshirt, especially if you have a very playful pet.
- Carry tissues or alcohol wipes with you: If you need to punch buttons, then wrap your finger in tissue or a wipe to prevent any contact. If you want to save tissues and wipes then at least carry a hand sanitizer, then wipe your fingers off immediately before you touch other things in your bag. Dispose used tissues and wipes safely in dustbins.
- Cough or sneeze into tissue, towel or elbow: Act responsibly by following protocols. Even if you do not have a Covid-19 infection, seeing you practice things as required will set an example and encourage others to do the same.
- Use cards over cash: Cash touches countless hands, some of which could be those of an infected person, who then passes the infection to others who will handle the notes and coins. Opt for cards. Fewer contacts and can be wiped up afterwards.
- Wash hands or use sanitizer: After touching things outside, if possible wash hands immediately. If wash basins are not accessible, use hand sanitizer or alcohol wipes at the soonest, so you do not touch possibly contaminated hands to your face. NEVER touch your face with unwashed or un-sanitized hands.
- Maintain safe distance: A personal distance of 2 meters is ideal as at that distance, even if someone in your vicinity sneezes or coughs, aerosolised water droplets do not reach you. Steer clear or hugging, shaking hands, embracing.
Precautions to Take When Getting Back in the House
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Unless you step into a bubble when you go outside, there is going to be some amount of unavoidable contact with things and people outside. The idea behind these measures is to reduce the entry of germs and risks into your home as much as possible. As they say, prevention is better than cure…an adage that could not be more befittingly used for the 2019 coronavirus.
When you come back from the outside, here are some simple steps you should take:
- Do not touch anything as you enter: Not the doorknob, not the entryway table, not the walls. There could be germs on your hands that could get transferred.
- Remove footwear: Get your footwear off and leave it at the entrance so no dirt or contamination tracks in on shoe soles. Apart from preventing the entry of viruses, this will also help keep the house floors clean.
- Disinfect pet paws when they come in from a walk: Wash them off with soap and water, wipe dry. At times such as these don’t you just wish there were footwear for dogs?
- Get your clothes off and put into laundry basket: Jackets, sweaters, coats, if you wear them should be put for washing. If you didn’t wear them, then whatever clothes you wore when stepping out should go into the laundry basket.
- Shower: Shower before you change into comfy home clothes. This should take care of sweat, dust and any viruses that may have adhered to your skin. If a bath or shower are not possible, then at least wash up all exposed parts.
- Wipe clean all packages: Groceries, veggies and fruits, milk cartons, biscuit and snacks packets…and whatever else you have purchased should be wiped clean with disinfecting bleach solution before storing. To make solution, add 20 ml of bleach to a litre of water. Wipe packets with this and then store. Use gloves when handling and cleaning. Dispose gloves safely after use. If using a (spare) rubber kitchen glove, wash with soap and water and hang up to dry.
- Clean your phone, keys, and handbag: Use the disinfecting solution to also clean your phone, keys, and handbags before returning them to their places. If you have used a cloth bag, put it for washing.
After this you are free to lounge around in the warm, safe comfort of home. Social distancing can prove to be a challenge for people. You can use this time productively to improve your home, your lifestyle, fitness and diet, to complete online courses and get better qualified professionally…the possibilities are limitless.
Stay safe everyone!