As the coronavirus pandemic continues, many of us are feeling desperate to restore some normalcy to our lives. Because the situation across the US varies so much, it can be difficult to know if we are being careful enough. We looked into what experts are saying each of us can do beyond wearing a face mask and 6ft social distancing.
1. Take a moment to dry your hands
No doubt, you've already heard to wash your hands for 20 seconds too many times to count. But you may not be aware of how important it is to completely dry your hands after washing. Pathogens such as Coronavirus transfer more easily if your hands are wet. Be sure to thoroughly dry your hands after washing!
2. Plug-in HEPA filters
Proper ventilation is a term that shows up often and is likely vital in curbing the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, many buildings and spaces do not have windows that can be opened. You can increase air filtration even in spaces without windows with a plug-in HEPA filter. HEPA filters are easy to install, just be sure to select one (or more) that is appropriate to the square footage of your space. Also, know that they need time to filter the air, so are best positioned between you and other people.
3. Heat kills Coronavirus
This is not a reference to warm weather, it's a reference to using hot water to increase cleanliness. According to the WHO, heat at 56°C/133°F kills the Coronavirus. Knowing that extra heat can be effective, be sure to use hot hot water to clean your clothing that might have been exposed virus. And be sure to use the sanitizing cycle on your dishwasher to get the extra heat for disinfecting.
4. Bleach is not your only option
Bleach is a disinfectant, but is also toxic, dangerous to inhale and easily damages surfaces. Thankfully, there are plenty of CDC/EPA approved alternatives to bleach that are effective and less dangerous to inhale. We recommend disinfectants that use active ingredients like: Thymol, Citric Acid, and Hydrogen Peroxide because they are much less dangerous to inhale and make you feel more comfortable to clean safely. You can search a comprehensive CDC/EPA government approved disinfectant list here. You don't have to use toxic chemicals to safely disinfect!
5. Gloves sometimes, but not always...
Gloves are good way to increase protection, but do not prevent cross-contamination. It is recommended to wear them in potentially contaminated spaces, do what you need to do then take off upon exiting. Avoid touching your face or objects you use often like your cell phone or keys while wearing gloves, otherwise the virus can transfer to those trojan horse like objects.
6. Face Shields increase protection for the wearer
There are plenty of reasons experts like Dr. Fauci are recommending wearing shields to slow the spread of COVID-19. Studies show that wearing a face-mask is good, but wearing a mask + shield is better. Masks work best when everyone is wearing them, but there is a lot of variety in mask effectiveness. For example, bandanas aren't very effective for slowing aerosols and gators have actually shown to increase the risk of infection. Unfortunately, we cannot rely on everyone around us to wear masks, but we can increase our own personal protection by wearing a face shield.