House Hygiene: How to keep coronavirus from coming home


Q: How do we practice border control at home?

A: Start with a clean, coronavirus-free house. Wipe down and disinfect all surfaces including door handles, light switches, counters and faucets.

Next, take care not to bring the virus in by creating a coming-home routine that everyone follows. Have everyone come in through the same door, preferably one close to a sink. Put a sign on the door reminding those entering to remove shoes — which have been on surfaces where people could have coughed, sneezed or spit — and wash their hands. Stock the sink area with soap and paper, not cloth, towels. While there, clean items you touch and carry, such as your keys, cellphone, wallet and purse handle.

If you’re coming home after being in a high-risk environment, like a doctor’s office or emergency room, remove your clothes and put them straight into the washing machine. Bypass the hamper. Wash them with regular detergent, and take a shower.

Q: When we do go out for groceries, how do we avoid bringing the COVID-19 virus home?

A: No one gets infected by touching the virus. It cannot pass through skin, only through a mucosal membrane. Infection occurs when the virus is on your hands, and you touch your eyes, nose or mouth. When out, try not to touch your face until you’ve used hand sanitizer or washed your hands. Keep your car clean by wiping your steering wheel, dashboard and door handles with disinfectant. Put bags in your trunk, not inside the car.

Once home, put grocery bags in the transition zone. After you wash your hands, unload groceries and wipe down cartons and cans as you put them away. Put empty bags outside, directly into the recycle bin, and clean the counter.

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