The Unwelcome Guest: Items You Should Sanitize Regularly to Kick Coronavirus Out of Your Home and Out of Your Life
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (however, if you have been you probably want to stay there) you’ve heard about COVID-19, or Coronavirus. Initially, the virus seemed like a situation that would stay confined to China where it originated, however, it has quickly spread and the CDC has declared it a pandemic. As a result, the government has issued a stay-at-home order and non-essential businesses are closed. Gatherings of large amounts of people have been banned, which means that many people are out of a job, and schooling has transitioned to online instruction. As a result of these drastic changes, it is crucial to stay informed about current events, especially about how to stay healthy and protected from the virus.
An especially important topic to be aware of is the items which are most susceptible to harboring the bacteria which causes coronavirus. The following list consists of items which should be sanitized regularly and which are most relevant to our lifestyle as college-aged individuals. For the sake of emphasizing objects which are less known to require regular sanitization, obvious things such as your phone and your hands (hopefully you’ve already been washing) will be omitted.
During this time of social distancing and self-quarantining, delivery services have become critical in reducing the amount of contact with others by allowing people to order supplies online instead of going to a store and risking exposure. However, coronavirus is capable of remaining on surfaces for a number of days after being exposed. After being handled by an unknown number of people, it is better to be safe than sorry and sanitize your packages before handling them.
Read this article to understand how to correctly disinfect packages: https://www.komando.com/coronavirus/sanitize-packages/711838/
- Small handheld items such as credit cards, purses, and keys
Occasionally we must leave our house, whether to get groceries, go to a necessary doctor’s appointment, etc. Of course, during this time we practice the six feet apart rule and don protective gear which limits exposure to us as well as other people. However, if you handle things in public which could be contaminated (i.e. door handles, pin pads), your gloves are not going to prevent your personal items from being contaminated as well. In fact, they may do the opposite. Many have warned about the dangers of cross contamination which can result from handling your belongings right after being in contact with surfaces in public. As such, you should take a Clorox wipe to these items when you return from your shopping trip, otherwise the virus may linger. Gloves are a good preventative measure, but nothing works better than good, old-fashioned bleach.
Watch this video to understand more about cross contamination: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXU6VjjLFsw
Similar to items you utilize when you’re in public, your car is at risk of harboring bacteria after a shopping trip or errand. Once you return to your car, after sanitizing your hands, give your surfaces, including your door handles, steering wheel, and anything else touched often, a quick wipe down to ensure you’re not keeping any undesirable passengers.
- Your mask
Currently, disposable medical masks need to be reserved for healthcare professionals in the front lines of the battle against coronavirus. Luckily there are countless tutorials online explaining how to make homemade masks which can keep you and those around you safe. However, it is important to sanitize these masks after using them, as any bacteria it picks up can remain on the material.
In order to find out how to make, use, and sanitize masks, check out this article:
- Reusable grocery bags
If you still want to be environmentally friendly and refrain from using plastic grocery bags, make sure you wash your reusable grocery bags in order to keep your food and other items safe. To keep the quality of the fabric, you can hand wash them in the sink or bathtub using warm water and laundry detergent, or put them on a gentle cycle in the washing machine before air drying them.
- Surfaces in your home
This tip is self-explanatory. Any surface in your home that is being touched often should also be sanitized often. This includes counters, door knobs, light switches, and sink handles. Luckily the only things this tip requires is disinfectant and common sense.
Your phone, obviously. Especially after you’re out in public. However, you should also sanitize your laptop and other surfaces such as TV remotes, gaming consoles, gaming controllers, IPads, and anything other electronics which you come into regular contact with.
Knowing what to sanitize is important, but knowing how to sanitize is just as, if not more, important to ensuring that you’re effectively eradicating the virus from your home. In order to understand the best way to clean and disinfect, read this informational piece by the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html.
Although it can be inconvenient, tiring, or even stressful to keep up with regular sanitization, it is important to flatten the curve and protect yourself and others from becoming sick. When in public, imagine everyone is your sweet, cookie-baking grandmother and act accordingly to protect her from becoming infected. These acts to prevent the spread may seem small, but they could possibly save a life. Stay strong, and stay safe.