We are in a world pandemic! This article is important in that you will read 5 ways to protect yourself from Covid-19, better known as the Corona Virus. You’ve heard it all before? Social distancing! Wash your hands! Wear your masks! Don’t touch your face? But here are some things we just don’t do to really protect ourselves and our family. No matter how many times we hear it, we still unknowingly expose our hands & face. It’s not just about being 6 feet away from someone who might have Covid-19. There are so many little and subtle ways this disease is spreading. Let me explain.
We Touch Everything!
Yes We Do! Without thinking about it. Example: we touch doors, in and out of stores. Then we touch our faces, eyes, and mouths, etc. Hence the pandemic! Yes, we wear masks, but that is protecting us from what is airborne. We unwittingly touch everything. There are so many natural everyday things we do that are a part of our life that we don’t notice everything we touch. Then, unknowingly, we spread it . Let me explain.
We are not in the habit of watching for everything we touch. You hear it on the news ALL the time. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face! Even when the hand sanitizer runs out in stores, not everyone who buys it uses it. This is a new generation, a change in our lifestyles that we must become diligent or this pandemic may continue for a long time. Let me give you some examples of things we touch without thinking about it:
- You go grocery shopping. You grab the shopping cart by the handles or grab a basket as you go into the store? Do you wipe those shopping cart handles with hand sanitizer *before* you touch the handle? Ask yourself? How many people have touched those carts before you? Now you’ve touched it, not thinking about the person before you “who may be sneezed on the cart!”
- You go to work. How about pushing the buttons on an elevator? Do you wipe down the buttons before you push it? How many people have been in that elevator before you? Did you wash/sanitize your hands after you touched the button on the elevator? Then you go into a meeting and shake someone else’s hand, or pass a pen, or paper to someone who needs it. Yikes! Yeah! You probably think this is overkill. Uhmmm, maybe, but it is safer to think of these things.
1. Wash Your Hands. Don’t Touch Your Face!
Covid-19 is No Joke! Why do you think they keep saying ‘DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE!? All of the normal things we usually do can pass Covid-19 to others, even though the CDC says it’s not usually spread by touch. But they don’t know that for sure. The CDC website states “Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food, it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day, wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.”
This article also states “In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging. Likely ??? You should always handle and prepare food safely, including keeping raw meat separate from other foods, refrigerating perishable foods, and cooking meat to the right temperature to kill harmful germs. See CDC’s Food Safety site for more information.” Before preparing or eating food, it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day, wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. But in my logical brain, then why are they recommending wearing ‘gloves’ everywhere? As far as I’m concerned, why are there still cases developing if it’s not spread by touch? Covid-19 is a futuristic Sci-Fi movie in progress! Either way, we need to take better precautions. I say ‘better safe than sorry!” So with that in mind, here are 5 scenarios to be more aware so you can protect yourself and your families.
Most of the daily activities I mention above bring us in close personal and physical contact with others. As we hand-off equipment, use shopping carts, pick up papers, or anything that someone else has touched. There are places we have to go, like grocery stores, doctor’s appointments, work, and pharmacies, to name a few. We sit in chairs and hold the handles; open doors to the bathroom at work where everyone has touched; office building entrance doors when we enter or leave a building; pick up magazines to read that others have already touched; use pens from someone else when we have to sign documents/ paperwork, and we touch the ATM keyboards to get money, all the time!
2. Going To Work.
Not everything is closed during this pandemic and many people are still working. There are so many opportunities to catch Covid-19 at our place of employment. If you work in an office, you’re in a meeting and your pen or pencils are next to your papers. Someone sitting next to you reaches over to borrow your pen before you can stop them! What do you do?
Solution: To be polite you can wait, but you should wipe your pen with hand sanitizer after it is returned. Maybe a gentle reminder to the person to make sure he carries a pen of his own due to the Covid-19. I think a co-worker might be appreciative of that reminder. I know I would be.
You need to go food shopping. You park your car and head toward the shopping cart to place your groceries. Do you sanitize the shopping cart handle before touching it? How many people have touched that handle? I bet more than 90% of people don’t think to sanitize that handlebar on the shopping cart before or after they touch it.
Solution: Use hand sanitizer to wipe down the handlebar on the shopping cart before you touch that handle. When you leave the store and put all bags, clothes, food, etc. into the car, make sure you do not touch your face before sanitizing your hands, car doorknobs, keys, key-chain, steering wheel. Even before you touch your car steering wheel, make sure you’ve sanitized your hands. Sounds like a lot. It’s not. Keep a roll of paper towels in the car. Take one, spray it with hand sanitizer and wipe down these items then and there. It takes about 2-3 minutes of your time…maybe.
When you arrive home, you may think you must wipe down all the food packages and boxes of stuff you just bought. Well, after some research, the powers that be say no! You don’t have to wipe down all the food you just brought into the house. See the above reference to CDC. However, I wipe down each item in the bag with Clorox wipes (except for frozen foods, like veggies). Anything that may have been touched in the store by someone else is cleaned. Sounds like a lot of work, I know, but these precautions can keep you or a loved one from getting Covid-19.
4. Doctor’s Offices
Although many doctors are using social distancing, there are still things that need to be cleaned up, as far as I’m concerned. Doctor’s should remove all the magazines in the waiting area. Those magazines have been touched by a ga-zillion people. There is no clear way to sterilize every magazine or page touched by someone. I’ve noticed that doctor offices have literally nothing in there to touch nowadays. Good idea. Get them in and get them out.
Solution 1: Of course, chairs should be 6 feet away from each other. If not, move your chair or find a place to sit at least 6 feet away from others. I have to go to the doctor regularly. Every doctor I’ve gone to makes me wait outside in the car. I call when I get there. Someone comes out and takes my temperature, gives me hand sanitizer, and takes me to a private room. The doctors have masks and if you don’t, they will provide. I carry my masks with me in my glove compartment and some in my purse – available at all times.
Solution 2: Bring your own materials. Bring or use your own pens/pencils to sign documentation needed in the doctor’s office. Bring a book to read or iPad while you wait to keep you busy. Use your cell phone for apps to listen to music or play games while waiting for the doctor. If you pay by credit or debit card and have to touch a keypad, make sure you clean your hands after touching the keypad. Yes, even lightly wipe down your debit or credit card, (which we use regularly) front and back.
5. ATM Machines
Do you clean the ATM keypad before you touch the numbers? Thousands of people have touched that keypad all day, and I can guarantee you that people are not thinking of sanitizing it before or after they touch it. Not on purpose, just from habit.
Solution: If you use an ATM machine, remember to use hand sanitizer to clean the keyboard before touching it. A paper towel with hand sanitizer on it to lightly wipe down the numbers takes care of that problem. I sanitize it before I touch it and then clean it after to leave it clean for the next person. Just thinking ahead.
6. Tips To Protect Yourself In Public
Are you checking the things to keep you safe? I came across a test on the AARP website. Take the test on the AARP. It’s a test of how effective we are about using our masks and protecting ourselves. Then read below for some helpful hints to keep us safer. As conscious as I am, I didn’t get a great score on the test. I was shocked because I am very diligent about where I put my hands and what I touch outside my home. Try the test and see how you do. It’s free and helps you be more aware. We are not used to be conscious *all* the time. We’ve got too much on our minds daily and it’s easy to get lost in the day’s thoughts.
- Keep Sanitized Wipes In Your Purse, Pocket, or Car: I keep cloth-like packets of hand sanitizers that are to be used one time. Tear off the wrapper and wipe the object and then throw away the wipe. If you need them, go reach out to me and I’ll tell you where to get them shipped directly to your house, packaged and clean. What I use comes in a neat little package you can put in your bag or pocket. Extremely convenient and easy to use without carrying bottles of hand sanitizer.
- Keep a roll of paper towels in the car. Use hand sanitizer or wipes to clean handles, doorknobs, shopping carts, etc. before you touch them. If you don’t have paper towels, you can pour sanitizer in your hand, wipe whatever needs to be cleaned, re-sanitize your hands before touching anything else.
- Wipe/Clean Your Cart Handles: When you arrive and park at the Supermarket, or where ever you have to use a grocery cart, take hand sanitizer and wipe down the handle of the shopping cart. If you’re using the little baskets, do the same. We have no idea how many people go in and out of those stores, all touching the various carts and baskets where they place their groceries?
- Opening Doors. When you open any door (outside your home) make sure you use a paper towel, push the door open with your shoulder, or use a rag you carry for opening and closing doors as you go about your daily business. The other day I went to Staples for paper for my printer. I didn’t have a paper towel, but I had a napkin in my car. I used that napkin to touch the door so I could enter. On the way out, I used my shoulder to push the door open, then used hand sanitizer to open my car door.
- Wear A Mask. You can get them just about everywhere nowadays and not all are up to standards to protect yourself. The ones I use are medical grade and they are the safest (in my eyes). But I guess it is important just to have ‘something.’
- Caregivers. Caregivers are obligated to protect our loved ones during Covid-19. How Caregivers Protect Their Loved Ones has some good information on how to do so.
Beware and be safe. God bless.