Posts tagged with "Wash hands"

Pandora’s box: How to open and clean delivery packages during the COVID-19 pandemic

March 20, 2020

Just as, in Greek mythology, Pandora’s box represented a source of “great and unexpected troubles,” the packages delivered to us during the COVID-19 pandemic could arrive with an assortment of unexpected and extremely dangerous germs.

What to do? According to a report by The Huffington Post, whether it’s food delivery, groceries, or something ordered from Amazon, the packages that arrive now were put together at some other location—and passed through many hands before appearing at your doorstep.

Luckily, most delivery people just leave packages at the doorstep without actually interacting with customers. And food delivery services are already are doing that—or, at the very least, encouraging customers to request it (often in the “notes” or “special instructions” section of delivery apps).

However, there’s not as much to fear when you order a hot meal: The risk of transmission through food is very low, epidemiologist Stephen Morse told The Atlantic: “Cooked foods are unlikely to be a concern unless they get contaminated after cooking.”

The contact-free delivery is more for the delivery person’s safety than your own: They are particularly at risk, given how many people they interact with in a day.

So, if you’re ordering something for delivery, be sure that the person who drops it off doesn’t have to touch or interact too closely with you: Ask him or her to leave the package at the door and knock to notify you.

If you have a concierge where you live, practice social distancing when you pick up your package for both your sakes; thank them for their work. and make sure they have access to lots of hand sanitizer.

Also, consider opening the package outside. The virus can live on cardboard, but a new study suggests that it disintegrates quickly on cardboard, unlike plastic or steel. Still, to be careful, put the cardboard packaging in an outdoor recycling bin, and then wipe down the contents with disinfectant before taking them inside.

Finally, just keep washing those hands. Wash them before you pick your deliveries up, and afterward. Wash them for 20 seconds, many times a day.

Research contact: @HuffPost

For a clean bill of health, disinfect your cell phone!

March 9, 2020

With the number of coronavirus cases steadily rising in the United States, as well as worldwide, there’s one preventative measure that’s “called for” even more than wearing a face mask, according to Debra Goff, Pharm.D., founding member of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Clean your cell phone, she advises.

“People handle their phones hundreds of times a day,” she told Prevention Magazine last week. “That means potentially exposing yourself to what’s on those surfaces every time.”

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak hit all the headlines, cell phones were acknowledged to be pretty nasty—even revolting—when it came to germs. For example, a 2017 study published in the infectious diseases journal, Germs, looked at 27 mobile phones owned by teenagers, and found “bacterial contamination” on all of them.

Surfaces can be notorious for hosting viruses, and some of them linger longer than others. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus can stay on surfaces for days or even weeks. That particular virus gets attention most during cruise ship outbreaks, but it’s actually the most common cause of gastroenteritis (a.k.a. stomach flu) in the United States. Not only is it highly contagious, but it only takes a very small amount to make you sick.

Active influenza viruses also can live on surfaces for as long as two weeks, Prevention reports—and some are still present after seven weeks. Even on porous surfaces like cotton, the flu hung around for a week.

As for the coronavirus, it can make itself comfortable on your cell phone for at least nine days, scientists now believe.

So, exactly what should a cell phone owner do to ensure that his or her device is relatively germ-free? Prevention got a few tips from Goff and is passing them on—among them:

  1. Power down first. Before doing any cleaning, turn off your phone and unplug from any charger, Goff suggests.
  2. Opt for microfiber cloths. These specially designed cloths have more fibers than other types of material and, as a result, can pick up more microscopic particles, including bacteria and viruses, Goff says. That doesn’t mean it kills theml it just lifts them off surfaces without the use of water. Think of it as a little virus magnet. Because of that, be sure to thendisinfect the cloth before using it again. The best way is using your dishwasher—that “sanitize” cycle works like a charm—then hanging the cloth up to dry. However, you also can throw it in the washing machine with warm water. And of course, wash your hands thoroughly after handling the germy cloth.
  3. Turn to rubbing alcohol. If your cell phone is particularly grubby, or you don’t have microfiber cloths, you can disinfect by creating a solution of about 60% water and 40% alcohol. Use a small corner of a cloth to gently clean the phone. Immediately use a dry portion of the cloth right afterward. A caution: Don’t spray the alcohol directly on the cell phone, and be sure to dilute it. You can also use a microfiber cloth for this for extra cleaning clout. Goff adds that regular soap and water works, too, just be sure to squeeze out excess liquid before using.
  4. 4. Don’t use abrasive products. Using a screen protector is helpful,if you want to use other types of cleaning products, says Goff, but if you don’t have one, avoid using products with ingredients that will affect your phone’s screen coating. These includewindow cleaner, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide.
  5. Keep it clean. Also, be mindful about how you’re using your phone, Goff adds, especially in germy areas like public restrooms. Handling your phone or putting it down in an area that regularly gets a fine spray of toilet water, sneezes, and coughs? Yikes.

    Your phone will pick up whatever is on that surface,” says Goff. “So, keep your phone clean, but also change your habits in terms of how you handle it after that.”

    Research contact: @PreventionMag