You and your family, along with the rest of the country, are in lock-down. And while this measure dramatically improves everyone’s chances of prospering and staying well, it doesn’t entirely eliminate risks. That’s because, when we go out for exercise, shopping or to help someone vulnerable, we come into contact with a variety of people and we may well inadvertently touch surfaces, including plastic and metal, both of which are thought to retain the virus for some time. Then we return to our homes and unless we’re careful, we can bring the virus back with us. There’s only one thing for it; it’s time to virus-proof your home. It’s all very well self-isolating, but to make the undertaking as effective as possible, there’s much more we can do. But just what are the best things to do to keep your living space free from the threat of Covid-19?
- Identify the germ hotspots of your home
- Shop online wherever possible
- Choose ‘no-contact’ deliveries so that delivery drivers don’t have to come into your property
- Wash your hands
- Keep soap and hand sanitiser
- Prepare a pandemic kit
Identifying germ hotspots
These are door handles, food preparation and eating areas, incorrectly disposed-of tissues (throw tissues straight into the bin and wash your hands afterwards, otherwise the tissues can disperse air-borne germs), sponges, bathroom fixtures and fittings, remote controls, toothbrush holders, touch-screen devices and keyboards.
Shopping online instead of in-store
Although the government guidelines allow for shopping trips, they are potentially hazardous. Not only is it extremely difficult to maintain social distancing when you’re navigating narrow aisles, you also have to touch products, with no idea how many other people have touched the same surface. Even wearing gloves, taking hand sanitiser and donning a mask can’t give you complete protection. The safest option is to order your groceries and products online. Yes, it’s harder than usual to get a delivery slot at the moment, but persistence, forward planning and being prepared to try more than one online supermarket can result in success. You’ll dramatically reduce the odds of bringing the virus into your home.
Choosing ‘no-contact’ deliveries
All your conscientiousness and hard-work keeping your home virus-free can come to nothing if someone walks through the front door and hands you packages. Not only might they touch a surface, but they can disperse the virus with their breath/coughing/sneezing. Fortunately, the vast majority of delivery services, including the supermarket chains, takeaway companies and courier firms will give you the option of a ‘no-contact’ delivery. Your food/goods can be left on your front door and you can collect them once the deliverer has gone. Just remember to discard packaging and wash your hands for 20 seconds afterwards.
Washing your hands
It was the first bit of coronavirus advice we were given and it remains among the most important – wash your hands. And then wash them again. While many of us washed our hands as a matter of course anyway, for others it’s a novelty, and one they’re having to learn how to do properly. A cursory five-second splash with cold water isn’t good enough. Hot water and soap are required and it’s vital to remember to do it after every trip to the loo, before and after, every meal, before and after every excursion and before and after coughing, touching your face, blowing your nose and sneezing. If in doubt, wash them again.
It’s become the gold bullion of the Covid-19 era, but if you can get hold of some (or already have it), hand sanitiser can make all the difference. Ideally, opt for a variety with a minimum 60% alcohol content – this kills the virus stone dead. Keep some in the car and in any bag(s) you regularly take with you when you go for exercise or shopping.
An emergency kit, stocked with several-weeks-worth of provisions, is as much for peace of mind as for anything else. Just remember to try to build your kit gradually, rather than bulk-buying in one fell swoop. In the event that coronavirus does breach the walls of your home, your kit gives you and your family ample time to completely self-isolate and forgo all trips outside. You should stock your kit with a one- or two-month supply of any medicines you’re on, a month’s worth of non-perishable foods (e.g. tinned soup, beans, rice, pasta, tinned vegetables, tinned fruit); an up-to-date first-aid kit (e.g. compresses, bandages, latex gloves); bottled water; over-the-counter painkillers (but consider not using ibuprofen because some reports suggest that this anti-inflammatory makes the virus worse); a non-mercury thermometer; bleach and disinfectant spray; slow-perishing snacks (e.g. nuts, health bars); a one- or two-month supply of pet food; novels, puzzle-books and board games;