Even during this period of stay-at-home and social distancing, it’s important to occasionally leave the house to run errands and get some fresh air. These everyday activities can help keep you healthy and sane but could also put you at risk of potentially contracting COVID-19.
“Since the virus can be passed along by those who appear asymptomatic, we must stay alert and be vigilant about who comes inside our front door and into our homes,” says Angela Rumore, Clinical Education Specialist at Tampa General Hospital.
According to the CDC, the virus is thought to spread primarily through person-to-person contact and respiratory droplets that can be inhaled when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. It can also be spread by touching a surface or object contaminated with the virus and then touching your own mouth, nose or eyes.
While contact through surfaces is not thought to be the main form of COVID-19 transmission, it is still possible to get infected from surfaces that have the virus on them.
The virus can live on some surfaces anywhere from a few hours up to several days. Rumore shares tips on how to best ensure you are keeping COVID-19 outside your home.
Make a game plan:
- Designate one person to be your errand runner to limit outside exposures.
When you’re out:
- Practice social distancing and avoid coming within six feet of others.
- Wipe down handles on shopping carts or baskets with disinfectant wipes.
- Wear a cloth or fabric face mask and avoid touching your face.
- Clean your hands frequently!
When you return home, establish a new routine:
- Come through the same door, preferably one close to a sink.
- Remove shoes upon entry and wash hands immediately with soap for 20 seconds.
- Wipe down and disinfect handheld items including your keys, cellphone and wallet.
- Clean your hands after accepting deliveries or collecting mail.
If you are coming home after being in a high-risk environment, such as caring for a person with COVID-19, remove your clothes and wash them immediately using the warmest appropriate water setting.
“We are all having to make big life changes to slow the spread of COVID-19. These recommendations are no replacement for proper hand hygiene and social distancing, but they can still make a difference in your home,” explains Rumore. “With so much uncertainty surrounding the evolving pandemic, having even a little bit of control might help us get through this a bit easier.”