Everyone is telling us to stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic. But are we truly safe in our homes? Can we confidently say we won’t get the virus if we self-isolate? These are just some of the questions that boggle the minds of many right now. And the truth is no one has a definite answer so far. Not the government, not the medical experts and certainly not your nosy neighbor. Still, we need to practice coronavirus home safety tips that should, at least, lessen the risks of being infected with the dreaded COVID-19.
It’s important to practice coronavirus safety tips at home if there are other people living with you. This is particularly necessary if you have young children and family members who have an existing medical condition or are over 60 years old.
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Coronavirus Safety Tips When Going Out
Coronavirus home safety tips start when you’re not at home. What we know so far about COVID-19 is that it spreads easily from person to person. You can also get infected by touching contaminated surfaces before touching your face. That means the less people you have contact with, the less the risk of getting infected is.
If you haven’t been prepping and you don’t have ample supplies to last you until this pandemic is over, you have no choice but to go out. You simply just can’t wait for the government to hand out relief goods. Others like the people in the frontline, meanwhile, have no choice but to go to work.
(Related: Foods to Stockpile for A Pandemic)
Before you head out for work or a supply run, make sure you’re prepared. If you have a surgical mask or N95 respirator, wear it. If you don’t have any of these, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests wearing a cloth mask. In case you have an abundant supply, by all means, please donate them to the frontliners.
When you have to go out to get supplies and do other important tasks, we are advised to wear cloth masks and practice social distancing. Once done, we are to head directly back home making sure we clean up well before entering or touching anything. But how sure are we that we’re safe from COVID-19, especially if we isolate ourselves in our homes? There’s no sure way to tell but we can all do what is necessary to lessen the risks of getting infected. These coronavirus home safety tips will hopefully keep coronavirus at bay.
COVID-19 Safety Measures Upon Returning Home
Every time you go out, there’s no way of telling if you would come into contact with the coronavirus. That’s why you have to take every precaution there is upon returning home and going near your loved ones.
Take Your Shoes Off
Don’t bring your shoes inside your home. This should be practiced even without this horrific pandemic. The sole of shoes are in contact with the ground, which is filled with germs and other nasty stuff. Imagine stepping on spit or dog poop then entering your home without taking off your shoes. Gross, right? Also, Huffington Post reported that coronavirus can live on footwear for days.
Once you get home, take your shoes off and disinfect it by soaking it in water with bleach or washing it with soap and water. A quick fix would be to spray your footwear with alcohol.
Another option is use a foot bath. Soak a doormat with diluted bleach or alcohol so the bottom of your footwear will be disinfected. That seems like a waste of disinfectants, though, especially now that there seems to be shortage of these items.
Make sure you wear footwear that you can easily take off. That way, there’s less need for you to touch your shoes. Also, if you can’t wash your pair immediately, set them aside where no one else can touch them.
Remove Your Clothes
You’re not trying to traumatize the neighbors here but it’s ideal that you take off your clothes or at least the ones exposed while you were out. Place them immediately in the laundry basket or, better yet, soak them in water with bleach.
If you choose to use a laundry basket for your exposed clothes, make sure you clean and disinfect it, as well. A better option is to line the hamper with something that you can dispose or wash of later.
It’s been established early on that the coronavirus can stick to clothes but for how long depends on the fabric. Researchers believe that the more porous the materials like cotton, the easier for the fibers to dry and break the virus particles apart. The virus particles are more likely to stick longer on spandex, polyester and similar materials.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands is considered one of the most effective ways to fight off coronavirus. Any soap will do as long as you wash your hands for at least twenty seconds. Rinse them dry them well afterwards because, well, that’s just the right thing to do.
If you have a faucet outside, wash your hands there before touching anything else or going inside. If that is not an option, have someone open the door for you so you can avoid touching the doorknob or handle when you enter. Proceed to the sink immediately to wash your hands.
If you still don’t know how to wash your hands the right way, you must first wet your hands (duh!). Place some hand soap on your hands then scrub your palms, back of the hands, between your fingers, then your thumbs. Get the tips of your nails, as well. While doing all these, count for twenty seconds or sing the Happy Birthday Song twice. Rinse your hands thoroughly then grab a piece of paper towel to dry your hands. Use it to turn the faucet off before discarding it properly. If for some unbelievable reason that you still can’t get it, watch the video below.
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Use Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers
Always have a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol or an alcohol pray in your pocket every time you go out. Place one near the front door, too, so you can disinfect your hands before going inside, especially if you have to open the door yourself. Splash some on your hands and rub it all over also for at least twenty seconds. Similar to washing hands, try to get into all surfaces and crevices.
Wash Grocery Items
Pandemic or not, you should always wash produce. Don’t use soap on them, though. Ideally, you should soak them in a fruit and vegetable wash. That’s just a mixture of one part white vinegar and three parts water. Washing produce in a solution of diluted vinegar kills 98% of bacteria, according to an experiment done by NPR. An impressive 85% of the bacteria are removed when you use a brush to scrubbing the produce while simply rinsing in water is less effective.
While the figures are remarkable, there is a lack of evidence that vinegar solution can kill the coronavirus so you shouldn’t depend on this method. Still, you should use the solution as it gets rid of harmful bacteria. That’s one less thing to worry about.
Scrub your produce under running water to remove any visible dirt then soak them in the fruit and vegetable wash for ten minutes or so. After draining the wash, rinse and scrub them well to help remove as much of the virus as possible. Place them on a paper towel to air dry.
For the rest of the stuff you brought from the store, you should sanitize them, too. Use soap and water on the items you can wash. Clean the more delicate items using towel paper with sanitizer. Discard your used paper towel correctly. You can also take the products out of their packaging and throw away the trash properly.
Don’t forget to disinfect your work surface or kitchen sink once you’re done cleaning and putting away your grocery items. Also, wash your hands afterwards.
Disinfect Your Phone and Other Personal Items
You probably brought your phone on your grocery run. Ideally, you shouldn’t take it out unless you have an important call to make or take. Make sure to wipe it clean when you get home.
The same goes with your wallet. It’s better if you didn’t bring your wallet along. If you can pay online or digital, do so as much as possible. Paper money and coins exchange hands numerous times and you don’t know how clean those hands were. Coronavirus or not, you should be wary of the germs they carry.
Some people have taken to washing their money when they get home. While this seems absurd, it does help get rid of bacteria. If you wish to wash your coins, go ahead and do so. Be careful not to damage the bills, though. You can just wipe them clean or spray with alcohol if you want.
Washing your hands after handling money and other items is still one of the most effective coronavirus home safety tips you can do.
Take A Bath
Right now, the debate is still on regarding the virus being airborne or not. One day, they’ll say it’s not and the next, someone else will say there’s a possibility they are airborne. Just to be on the side of caution, take a bath once you get home.
Hot baths as cure for coronavirus has already been debunked. A normal shower with a lot more soaping and scrubbing involved should do the trick.
Keep Your Car Clean
Don’t forget to clean your car when you get home. That is, if you drive one to work or to get supplies. Sanitize the steering wheel, dashboard, controls, gear shift, rear view mirror, door handles, and other parts that you would have touched along the way. You can even give the car sets a spray of alcohol to be sure. Oh, and clean your car keys, too.
Tell the others, especially your children, not to go near the car. If you or someone else really has to touch the car, make sure you give the door handle a quick spray before opening it. Also, wash your hands afterwards.
Coronavirus Home Safety Tips
Even if you haven’t been out for a while, you should still practice coronavirus home safety tips to make sure your family is safe from the coronavirus disease.
Always Wash Your Hands
If we haven’t said it enough, we’ll say it again: WASH YOUR HANDS! Even at home, you need to keep your hands clean. Wash them with soap and water for twenty seconds before handling food and after eating. Wash your hands after using the toilet. Wash your hands after doing chores and house repairs such as washing dishes, doing laundry, taking out the trash, gardening, fixing the kitchen sink, and such. Even if you haven’t been doing anything, wash your hands just so this will quickly become a habit. This is a good routine to have even after the pandemic.
Disinfect Surfaces Regularly
One way your hands can get dirty and possibly carry the coronavirus disease is if they come into contact with something carrying the said virus. Whatever nasty stuff you touch outside, you bring them back home. It’s therefore important to not only wash your hands but also to disinfect all the surfaces that you may have touched. Make sure you do some disinfecting after coming home and doing all the safety tips against COVID-19 we already mentioned.
Even if no one has been outside, you should still disinfect your home regularly. In fact, you should do this the house every day. You probably already clean your home on a regular basis. You just need to add the task of disinfecting all high-touch surfaces.
Grab some alcohol-based wipes or cleaning sprays that say they kill 99.99 % of germs. Use them to clean doorknobs, fridge handle, drawer knobs, toilet handles, faucets, light switches, remote controls, and other commonly touched items. Wipe or spray the dining table, kitchen counter, coffee table and other table tops, as well.
Place alcohol sprays or wipes in strategic places around your home so you can readily disinfect when you need to.
Once or twice a week, give your floor a thorough cleaning. After the usual sweeping, mop the floor with bleach. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommends a mixture of 1 cup bleach and 5 gallons water. Don’t forget to wear disposable gloves when handling bleach. Once done, dispose of the gloves properly and wash your hands.
Hydrogen peroxide is also effective against the coronavirus disease. Rhinovirus was, in fact, made inactivate using 3% hydrogen peroxide in just eight minutes, according to the CDC. Pour it on the sink, counter tops and tables then scrub and rinse them clean after about 10 to 15 minutes.
Designate Personal Items
If you don’t have your own plates, glasses, cups, and eating utensils, now is the time to have one. Similarly, each family member should have their own soap, tube of toothpaste, floss, and, of course, toothbrush. There is a high chance that you’re spreading germs and viruses by sharing these items.
Some businesses are offering home deliveries to help people affected by the coronavirus lockdown, which is basically everyone except the doctors, nurses, police, and other frontliners. Check out which local businesses are delivering food and other necessities so you don’t have to go out. Just make sure to be extra careful when receiving the packages.
Inform the delivery guys to just leave the package by the door so you can maintain social distancing. Just pay online or leave your money outside for them to pick up. If you have to meet them, wear a mask and try not to touch the package yet.
Once the transaction is done, sanitize the package. Avoid spraying alcohol on food items, though. Just wipe the outside of the containers. Wash your hands after handling the package and especially before eating your food delivery.
Know the Facts
One effective way to fight COVID-19 is to have access to reliable information. That means you shouldn’t believe anything you see or read on social media or even hear from your other people. Admittedly, it’s quite difficult to figure out what’s fact or fake with so many things being posted on social media. Still, you need to be vigilant.
(Related: COVID-19 Facts You Need To Know)
You’re already at home and in front of your computer or scrolling on your phone. The least you can do is to verify what you read. Do a little research before believing and re-posting anything. The more fallacies that are spread, the harder it is to contain this pandemic.
Talk To Everyone
Now that you know what to do to keep your home safe from coronavirus, you need to sit everyone down and discuss what’s happening. This is especially important if you have little children. Make sure they understand the gravity of the situation without making them fearful. Let them understand that there’s nothing to worry about as long as they all follow the coronavirus home safety tips that you’ll lay down.
Having this talk should also help everyone’s mental well-being. Explain to them that they need to be honest about their feelings so you can all deal with the problem as a family. You should also assure the little ones that things will go back to normal as long as everyone contributes.
Since we’re on the topic, you should also plan activities that will help everyone, especially the children, cope with the stress. This pandemic not only affects you physically but also mentally so you shouldn’t forget to take care of yourself in this regard.
What To Do If Someone Is Infected
It’s hard to say if you’re infected with COVID-19 if you haven’t been tested. The lack of test kits isn’t really helping. What you can do is watch out for the symptoms.
Once someone comes down with fever or starts coughing, assume that they have COVID-19.It’s better to be wrong than to later regret not doing something.
Isolate the sick person in a separate room with its own bathroom immediately. Call your doctor or inform the local hospital that you have a potential COVID-19 patient. He or she will be categorized as a Person Under Investigation (PUI) or Person Under Monitoring (PUM) depending on whether the patient has travelled to a place with confirmed cases or has been exposed to a person with coronavirus. Wait for instructions from the authorities or experts on whether you have to take the patient to the hospital. Otherwise, you should isolate the person.
Assign one person to take care of the sick while in isolation. The caretaker will be responsible for bringing the patient food, water, and other needs until they’re better or gets cleared. While doing this task, don’t forget to wear protective clothing such as a mask, eye protection, and disposable gloves.
Be careful handling and cleaning the patient’s dishes, clothes, towels, beddings, and other items. Take the necessary precautions so whatever the patient has won’t spread to the rest of the family.
Keep an eye for more symptoms and if the condition of the patient is worsening. Call the doctor immediately if he experiences difficulty breathing, pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, and the lips or face turns blue.
Just imagine that you’re already infected with COVID-19 (knock on wood) and you don’t want your loved ones to get sick, too. With that mindset, you’ll be more wary when you’re out or at home. about coughing, sneezing or touching stuff with unwashed hands.