The coronavirus is not going to leave us anytime soon. So, we have to learn to live with it. To avoid getting infected, maintaining proper hygiene, cleaning and disinfection of the living environment have become the need of the hour. Even every small nook and corner of our homes need our attention.
While maintaining social distancing norms can primarily prevent the spread of the virus, experts are encouraging cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces at least once a day, even if you’re not leaving the house. There are more to know about the characteristics of the deadly virus that causes COVID-19. Though the infection mainly spreads from person-to-person through respiratory droplets, recent studies reveal that “surface transmission” is also possible. The virus can live in the air for up to 3 hours and on surfaces such as cardboard for up to 24 hours and plastic and stainless steel for up to 3 days. So, someone could get the virus from touching something that’s been contaminated and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.
Dr. Subhankar Roy, a medical practitioner living in an apartment near Batanagar says, “Doorknobs, gates, mobile phones are “high-touch” surfaces that need frequent sanitation. Regular disinfecting and maintaining proper hygiene at home and surroundings is a must for everyone now.”
How to disinfect surfaces and household items?
Firstly, we need to understand the areas that should get good cleaning including those often touched. Cleaning a surface is simply removing dirt and particles while disinfecting some area means to kill viruses and bacteria. Here are some tips:
- Clean high-touch surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, staircase railings, light switches, countertops, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, sports equipment, toys etc wearing disposable gloves.
- Pre-clean the area that is visibly dirty with soap and water. Remove all items first and wipe surfaces clean with a wipe or a spray that can be a diluted household bleach solution, or an alcohol-based solution with at least 70% alcohol. Wash your hands vigorously once you are done.
- Keep your floor clean and dry, and make sure there are no damp corners. Damp areas help the breeding of viruses and bacteria. Keep your rooms well-ventilated. Pour some bleach solution on the surface and leave it for at least a minute before wiping off. Floors and bathroom walls should be mopped regularly by chlorine-containing disinfectant fluid.
- Basins and toilet bowls must be cleaned with the proper amount of disinfectant fluid on a daily basis. Spray them on the surfaces for disinfection and after that rinse with plenty of tap water to avoid corrosion in the pipeline. Even mops, rags and other cleaning tools should be soaked in chlorine-containing disinfectant for some time so that they don’t become the shelter for viruses.
- There’s no denying the fact that we are using too much gadgets during the lockdown. Sanitizing them regularly is equally important. You can use alcohol-based wipes or sprays but before that follow instructions for cleaning and disinfecting provided by the manufacturers. Always keep their surface dry.
- Clothes, bed sheets, towels and other linens that are used daily should be washed regularly. Changing your bed sheets and pillow covers in every week is recommended. If you are handling clothes worn by someone who is sick, always wear disposable gloves and do not shake dirty laundry. Leave the clothes to dry outside as the virus is unlikely to survive in the air without a living cell.
- Though there is no evidence that the virus can spread through food, it is always advisable to follow basic food safety guidelines that include – washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before preparing or eating food, using clean utensils, using hand sanitizer after leaving the grocery store etc.
- If someone at your home is sick, they should stay in a separate bedroom with attached bathroom, if possible. If you are taking care of someone sick, always wear gloves while washing their used utensils or giving medicines. Utensils should be washed with hot water and soap. If the person can manage it, ask them to clean their own space and wash their laundry.
Keeping our homes and surrounding clean is our responsibility. By following the guidelines provided by the health ministry and WHO, we shall surely defeat the virus.