1.6+ million Americans have contracted the latest coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. The illness can spread from person-to-person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks and releases respiratory droplets into the air. Those droplets can also land on surfaces and be spread when another person touches the surface, then touches their eyes, mouth, or nose.
In addition to all of this, state governments are encouraging Americans to stay home to help slow the spread of the disease. Because of this, you’re spending a great deal of time in your home, and it needs to be safe. Here are crucial tips to make sure it is.
Wash Your Hands Often
By now, you probably know how important it is to wash your hands frequently to kill the germs associated with COVID-19. Use soap and water and scrub every part of your hands and fingers for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after encountering others or touching surfaces.
If you don’t have access to soap and water, keep hand sanitizer near. If you have more than one bottle, keep it throughout different rooms of your home so you always have some within reach.
Clean Surfaces in Your Home
Evidence says that COVID-19 can live on surfaces for hours to days, depending on the material. It’s important to keep your home clean, especially if you or your loved ones are coming into contact with others outside of the home.
Before disinfecting, wash surfaces with soap and water. Cleaning first reduces the amount of germs living on the surfaces before killing them with disinfectant. Zero in on high-touch areas such as:
- Light switches
Now it’s time to kill any remaining germs. If possible, choose an EPA-registered household disinfectant. If you don’t have anything from that list, diluted household bleach is another option. Read the label to make sure the bleach is suitable for disinfectant (some common bleaches, like those used to whiten clothing, are not meant to disinfect surfaces.)
Note: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state that diluted bleach solutions are good for disinfection for up to 24 hours. You can also use alcohol solutions containing at least 70 percent alcohol.
Wash Linens and Clothing Often
Whether you (or a loved one) are an essential worker who’s been working outside the home for a while, or you’re currently working from home, it’s crucial to launder potentially contaminated items as soon as possible. This includes clothing, towels, bed sheets, blankets, and even shoes.
Wear disposable gloves when laundering items from a person who may have come into contact with the virus. The CDC says it’s OK to wash potentially contaminated items with non-contaminated items. Use the warmest appropriate water temperature and dry all items completely. After doing the laundry, remove and throw away the disposable gloves, then wash your hands with soap and water immediately.
Talk to Family Members About Cleanliness
Cleaning and disinfecting your home can only get you so far if the rest of your household doesn’t practice cleanliness. Have a conversation about good personal hygiene and home cleanliness, especially with young children. Talk about how long the COVID-19 virus can live on household surfaces and encourage all members of the household to help keep surfaces germ-free.
Get Some Fresh Air
There’s something about a subtle breeze that can brighten a mood and freshen a room. If you’re cooped up in your home, get as much fresh air as you can — while maintaining a safe distance from others, of course.
Open the windows in your home or sit on your porch, patio, or deck. Go for a walk or a bicycle ride. Just remember that if you go to a park or a public place, make sure there is at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.
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