Leaving home to run errands and get some fresh air are essential activities that will help keep you healthy and efficient, but they also set you up for a collision with other people outside your household – and a gathering of microbes. That’s why a growing number of states and grocery stores are tightening the steps to require wearing homemade face masks and social travel within stores.
But more precautions must be taken, as the US has over 740,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Because highly contagious new coronavirus strains can be transmitted through asymptomatic outbreaks, it is important to remain alert.
Here are smart, sound tips to follow if you need to leave home to run important tasks. And here is the current understanding of coronavirus when it comes to food and mail delivery, such as Amazon packages.
Wearing a face mask in public places can be a smart idea
The CDC reverses its position on who should and should not wear a face mask in public. Prior to its latest announcement, the CDC and other health experts maintained that there was no need for the general public to wear a face mask when they left the house.
However, the rapid spread of COVID-19 has caused the US authority on infectious diseases to change course. The institute now recommends that people live in areas with high rates of transmission, and those going to places where they cannot maintain social mobility (that is, six feet of space between you and others people who are not members of the household), soak their nose and mouth in a cloth or other type of stunning fabric, including face masks that you make at home or buy.
The CDC considers this a voluntary measure of health, and a recommendation, though some counties and cities make a mandate – usually when you gather somewhere with other people, such as in a store, and not while you are alone in your car, or walking where keeping six feet away from others is easy to do. At the very least, it’s a good idea to keep your face covered for no other reason than to avoid the sight or interview of a stranger in the store.
Here’s what you need to know about homemade and other nonmedical face masks and prevention of coronavirus.
Don’t make shopping a source of entertainment
The point of shelter in the area and to stay at home efforts is to prevent you from transmitting the virus to others or getting yourself. Yes, it can be boring, but the list of symptoms of COVID-19 is long and scary for people who have it (like my cousin), even if they are cured, which can take weeks.
The bottom line: You don’t want it, and you want to limit your exposure to others. So shop quickly and efficiently. Now is the time to get what you want and get out, not to browse the aisles as a way to pass the time. Entertain yourself in other ways instead.
Enough with the fingers: Use your knees, feet, elbows and knuckles
If you still press the buttons for walking signs with your fingers, stop. Anytime you need to open a door, push a button, pull a lever or digitally sign for something, use another body instead. You have a lot.
For example, I often tap out a PIN code or make a choice on a digital screen with my knuckle instead of the pad of my finger. I push open a door with my shoulders, hips or feet instead of my hands.
You can usually flip a light switch or sink faucet with your elbow or wrist, and you can wrap the sleeve of your sweater or jacket around the handle of any door you have to physically pull open. It’s easy to just throw your clothes in the wash instead of exposing your skin now, especially if the chances are that you’ll use your hands to hold food items or your face is high.
Distance, distance, distance
Social travel can mean anything from hunting at home and refraining from seeing outside friends and family in person to maintaining a border between you and others when you go out. The practice of keeping 6 feet away from those outside your home team extends to waiting in line at the grocery store, going for walks (you can take a short walk on the bike bike if you’re careful about finding street traffic) and pick up food to go.
If you need to keep more distance between yourself and another person while walking or when an item is reached at the store, take a step and wait or politely ask the person to give you additional clearance (“Oh, I’m trying to maintain my distance to everyone. “)
UPDATES OF CORONAVIRUS
Search for automatic options
If the doors to any building you are entering are not yet open or have an automatic sensor, look around before you pull a handle. Most modern buildings have access buttons to open doors for people with mobility concerns. You can easily hold it on your arm, hip or foot (some are relatively low) and wait a few seconds for the doors to open.
Consider buying an automatic soap dispenser for the home so you don’t have to worry about transferring germs to the pump.
Watch where you put your phone
As we try to use disinfecting wipes on phones, another smart idea is to avoid putting your device on the iffy surface to get started. Do you really need to put your phone down, or can you just stuff it in a pocket or purse? The less you can expose your phone to shared surfaces, the less you have to worry about them in the first place.
If you are putting your phone on a shared surface, say if you are paying for takeout, lay down a napkin and set your phone on it. This will save you the need to disinfect your device often.
Keep your available tote bags
Plus, store policy does not exclude you from carrying out tote bags and other bags to grocery stores. If you want to reduce your environmental impact, look for ways to reuse fresh store bags at home.
The stores I shop for are constantly making baskets and carts, and only a few offer sanitary wipes. Others appoint gloved staff to wipe the carts and baskets for you disinfectant before you go shopping. Still others spray your disinfectant’s hands before entering a store.
Regardless, it is a good idea to thoroughly wash your hands before leaving home to protect others, bring your own sanitary wipes if you have them and the store does not offer that option and be sure to wash your hands when you get home. Really, we can’t stress that enough.
Do not classify labor with your bare hands
At a time when face masks are becoming more common in stores and shoppers will give you an eye-opener for rummaging through lemons, here’s a little advice: Don’t follow the bear.
When ordering food, use a glove or stick your hand inside a fresh, store-supplied supply and use the outside like a glove to pick up and examine the garlic and bananas you like, so as not to touch each item with your bare hands. This will make others feel more comfortable, and will likely inspire them to follow suit.
Whatever you do, setting boundaries
See, if they don’t live in your household, don’t touch them. Most of us watch this dictatorship today, but in the off-opportunity you see a friend or family member, prevent the urge to hug, tap the elbows or anywhere near 6 feet. Catch the wind if you have to. Blow a kiss (minus the actual infusion). We have 13 smart and fun ways to safely greet someone who keeps you safe.
For food and package delivery, embrace awkward
Keeping distance means that you need to feel comfortable talking through closed doors and hanging back instead of hurrying to help the person delivering you packages, mail and food. For example, if you’re outside, it’s okay to let the mailman walk in front of the door and put the mail in the box instead of doing it directly – it should be careful at times, and help protect you and them from by keeping distance.
Equally, if a food delivery person or neighbor drops something, give a warm thank you through the closed door and wait for them to step back six feet before opening the door to thank them again and slowly. They value your consideration and seriousness.
Wash your hands every time you get ‘home’ – seriously
Along with social travel, washing your hands thoroughly is one of your best defenses against getting coronavirus. Give your hands a thorough scrub each time you return. 20 seconds is the recommendation, which may seem like age, but if you wash slowly, it’s easy to do.
I count five long seconds (one thousand) of soap in each hand, between the fingers and up to the wrists, then count another five seconds to thoroughly wash each hand to get the soap (and any dead germs). I often wash the pump dispenser pump and fauchet handles as well.
It helps me feel safe to fix my contacts, blow my nose and choose to grind something or other my teeth into the comfort of my own space.
Do not neglect your car and home
After returning from running errors, it doesn’t hurt to wipe your car and surfaces in your home, especially if you share it with others. Personal contact is the most common vector, but viruses and bacteria spread through objects and other forms of indirect physical contact. Here is our guide to sanitizing your home and car.
Bring extra napkins, disinfect wipes and facial tissue
Packing excess tissues, disinfecting wipes, wet rags and other paper products in my purse is part of my habit, but now I pay close attention to how much paper I have in hand .
Usually, I can use a spare napkin to wipe my hands after an impromptu snack (also in my bag). Now, these products can be easily used to eliminate germs, or act as a barrier between you (or your phone) and a surface. For example, opening a knob if you only see someone cough in their hands before knitting a knot.
Stop handling cash
While it is believed that the highest risk for coronavirus infection comes from human transmission, we know that shared surfaces can disrupt the virus. Play it safe by setting cash aside for now and relying more on contactless payments.
A large number of payment terminals accept Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and credit cards with contactless logos on them. And remember, if a digital signature is required, you can use your knuckle instead of your index finger. For a physical signature, start packing your own pen.
It is questionable for long-term items
Coronavirus can cling to surfaces, such as your jacket or tabletop, for up to nine days at room temperature, studies have found. However, the CDC found that the coronavirus RNA remained in the cabins about the Diamond Princess Cruise ship for up to 17 days after the passengers left.
We know that a thorough cleaning with good soap and water will kill the virus’ structure, but if you’re not sure how to disinfect an item, such as a clean jacket or just a pair of boots, that Scheduling for three or four weeks is another option.
Read on for global coronavirus updates, how to track viruses’ spread worldwide, and how to sanitize your home.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or health goals.