Daily Reported Cases of Covid-19 are rising in near half the B.C. and more than 20,000 people in the B.C. and more than a million in the world have died from Covid-19. Nevertheless, people are filtering back into restaurants for indoor dining and into places like museums (at reduced capacity).
Regardless of how much you plan to take advantage of opening shops, bars, restaurants, and parks, you should continue social distancing, using a mask when near others outside your home, and maintaining good cleaning habits. The SARS-CoV-2 virus—the coronavirus that causes the disease Covid-19—isn’t going away anytime soon. Cleaning and sanitizing surfaces in your home can help lower the chances you or a loved one will contract Covid-19 and lower the chances you might spread it to someone else.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends we all take steps to clean and sanitize high-touch surfaces in our homes. Below, we get into the weeds of how long the virus might last on surfaces, which disinfectants may kill it, and the steps you should take to keep clean.
Wash and Moisturize Your Hands
Wash your hands after you cough, sneeze, touch your face, use the restroom, or are about to leave one place for another. You should wash your hands when you leave and return from the grocery store, for instance. Picking up SARS-Cov-2 by touching surfaces isn’t as much of a threat as we once worried it was, but it’s still a risk.
Hand sanitizer is a fast cleaning method that works wonders. (Here’s how to make your own.) It’s no substitute for washing your hands, though. Soap and water won’t necessarily kill all pathogens, but they will wash them off. The World Health Organization has detailed instructions on how to properly perform the 20-second hand wash.
Moisturizing your hands is also important. Dry, cracked skin is at greater risk for all kinds of infections, so apply a little moisturizer after you wash. It’s nice! Most moisturizing lotions have similar ingredients, starting with water and glycerin, so the brand doesn’t really matter. (Here are some hand lotions on Amazon.) If your hands are extra dry, look for something dermatologist-recommended with an “intensive” label, like Eucerin Advanced Repair, Neutrogena Hydro Boost, or Neutrogena Norwegian Formula.
Stay home if you can, even if you’re not sick. Being in large crowds or going out to restaurants poses 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.
“There will be a sizeable portion of people who are older or who have other health conditions, and if they get sick all at once, they’re going to overwhelm the health care system. So we’re trying to decrease the number of transmissions,” Dr. John Townes, head of infection prevention and control at the Oregon Health & Science University, told WIRED.
Invest in a Cloth Face Mask
A cloth mask may help protect others if you happen to have the disease. Some people who have the disease show mild symptoms, or none at all—particularly, those who are young–so you or they may have it and not know. As far as we’re aware, the novel coronavirus is transmitted through person-to-person contact or respiratory droplets. Just talking to someone can send droplets their way.
Do not put a mask on kids under 2 years old, but do help them socially distance themselves from others, and wash their hands. Evidence suggests kids are especially vulnerable to another condition caused by exposure to the coronavirus. Medical professionals have termed this condition Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).
Clean and Disinfect Your Home
The first thing you’ll want to know is that cleaning and disinfecting are two very different things.
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 still recommends you clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in our homes at least once daily just to be safe if people touching them have been in contact with the outside world or people beyond their social bubble since SARS-Cov-2 is capable of living on surfaces such as cardboard for 24 hours, but up to two or three days on plastic and stainless steel.