Throughout the day, we constantly touch surfaces which are home to numerous types of bacteria. From gas pump handles, mailboxes, escalator rails, ATM buttons, crosswalk buttons and door handles, we might not acknowledge the reality of how much bacteria we come in contact with everyday. We might unknowingly touch our faces throughout the day, with contaminated hands. By touching contaminated surfaces, and then touching parts of our face, we can become sick with the virus. Bacterias can transfer from surfaces to us, which is why we must ensure proper personal hygiene.
Ways the infection can enter your body through touching your face:
Respiratory Hygiene: Droplets produced by your body (e.g., sneezing and couching) contribute to the spread of the virus. There are certain things we can do to reduce and avoid this transfer of bacteria, by practicing good respiratory hygiene. Covering your nose and mouth with your inner elbow, and using tissues when sneezing or coughing will help protect those around you. This includes not spitting, and constant hand cleaning after coughing or sneezing. It might be instinctual to use your hands to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, but it is important that you do not use this method, and rather your arm or tissue! Using your hand will increase the chances of spreading the virus by contaminating other surfaces and people.
As we are all stuck at home for weeks on end, you might be tempted to find ways to get out of the house. However, the only times which you should be going into public areas is to get necessities, such as food or medicine. If you must go out, you should take extra precautions when going into public spaces. You should be aware of different moments, from taking transportation, arriving at your location, and returning home.
Transportation: Buses & Subways
If you can, try to arrange your travel around less busy times (e.g., rush hour). Taking emptier subway cars and busses will reduce your risk, by avoiding being in close proximity to others. If there are other people around, do your best to keep your distance; 2 meters (3 feet). Remember however, that it is still vital to wash your hands and avoid facial contact, as railings and handles could be contaminated!
Tip: If you need to press a button at a crosswalk, use your elbow instead of fingertips. If your destination is within walkable distance, it might be a safer option than public transport.
Arriving at your Location: Grocery stores, pharmacy, etc.
If you run out of food at home, the grocery store becomes unavoidable. If you must go out, take advantage of handicap buttons to open doors, using your elbow to press the buttons. Before using shopping cards, sanitize the handles as well as your hands. If you can, use hand sanitizer throughout your shopping process (as you pick up and look at items, you are coming in contact with bacteria. Be mindful about the things you touch in the sore, just pick up what you need!
Once you are ready to check out, some grocery stores might have lines on the floor which are measured out as 2 meters apart (6 feet) so that you can keep your distance from others as well as employees. This precaution will protect both your safety and workers.
If you have a credit/debit card, or mobile-payment applications, use these methods over cash. Cash will increase person-to-person interaction, however, if this is your only option, be sure to wash your hands after the transaction.
Tip: If someone is near or looking at a product you need to take, kindly let them know. You could say “Oh, excuse me, I am trying to get that item, but I need to keep my distance”.
Returning home: Always wash your hands as soon as you get home
You, your clothes, and things you have touched and used have potentially been exposed to the virus.
If you are wearing gloves, take them off before you use the door handle to go inside. If you are not, wash your hands when inside and then disinfect any handles or surfaces you have touched. Leave shoes outside, and remove and wash your clothes. Take a shower and try to clean the things you have just purchased (e.g., washing produce).
If you used your own vehicle to travel, disinfect the wheel and handles (door and trunk).
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