According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 can spread if you touch a surface or object contaminated with the virus, and then touch your own eyes, nose or mouth.
Although you can’t control the cleanliness of what you touch outside your home, there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from within.
Kimberly Atrubin, manager of infection prevention at Tampa General Hospital, shares five simple tips in addition to proper hand hygiene, for safeguarding your home during a viral outbreak:
- Clean high-touch surfaces daily including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, toilets, faucets and electronics. Dust, soil and microbes on surfaces can all transmit infection. Cleaning removes foreign material and reduces the numbers of infectious agents and makes transmission of infectious organisms less likely.
- Use an EPA-registered household disinfectant, diluted bleach solution or alcohol solution with at least seventy percent alcohol. Follow the label and manufacturer’s instructions and leave disinfectant solution on surfaces for at least one minute before wiping.
- Wash clothing, towels, linens and other items using the warmest appropriate water setting, dry items completely, and wash hands immediately after with soap and water. Higher water temperatures work better to effectively remove germs and clean heavily soiled garments.
- Emphasize frequent hand hygiene and teach family members how to perform respiratory etiquette. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing or use the inside of your elbow as a shield. Always wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
- Self-isolate. Maintain appropriate distance from family members within your household to prevent others from getting sick. Ideally, stay in different rooms and use a separate bathroom.
"We know there’s a lot to take in, but please don’t panic,” says Atrubin. “Just remember these simple cautionary measures to help better prepare and protect you and your home against Coronavirus. Be aware. Stay informed. And remember you are not alone. We are all in this together!"