The world is practising social distancing to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19. Right now the safest thing to do is stay at home, for yourself and for others, but there are instances when we need to go out. Grocery shopping, a visit to the pharmacy, or an emergency visit to the doctor can get stressful in these times. If it’s unavoidable to leave the house, then there are many things you can do to protect yourself and those close to you. Note: Do not take this risk if you’re vulnerable and your immunity is compromised. It’s better to get groceries and other essentials delivered, even if it costs a little extra. If you do have to go, plan your trips every few weeks, so you’re not exposing yourself too much.

Wear A Mask

 
 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by Centers for Disease Control (@cdcgov) on

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has recommended that anyone leaving their house should wear a non-medical mask. Earlier, the WHO had said that only sick people and those taking care of the sick should wear masks, but the CDC announced that the fabric masks are an added protection because asymptomatic patients are also spreading the virus. Wash your hands before wearing a mask and after disposing of it. Make sure you don’t touch your face after handling the mask, and fully cover your nose and mouth--that’s how the viral droplets enter your body. There is a shortage of the N95 masks that healthcare workers need, so you should not try to acquire those. However, a mask can be easily made at home with cloth and disposable ones can be bought at pharmacies. Or, you can even use scarves and bandanas.

Sanitise, Sanitise, Sanitise

 
 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by Centers for Disease Control (@cdcgov) on

In a grocery store, you would be touching the handle of the cart, the door, the freezer and the counters. These are all high-touch surfaces. So, bring an alcohol-based sanitiser with you and sanitise your hands before and after each visit. You can also buy disinfectant wipes to wipe these surfaces before you touch them. A study has found that the virus can stay on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on plastic for up to three days. So, bring your own grocery bag and don’t touch your mouth, nose or face. It’s safer to pay by card, or phone, than handle cash. If you do give cash, make sure you sanitise your hands after leaving the store and wash your hands for at least 20 second as soon as you get home.

Maintain Social Distance

 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by Centers for Disease Control (@cdcgov) on

Coronavirus gets transmitted from humans to humans, so social distancing is the only way to protect yourself and your family from exposure. It may feel alien and rude, but you have to maintain at least a 6-foot distance from everyone. If the store looks crowded, wait for some people to exit and then enter. Cross the street if there’s not enough space for you to maintain 6-foot distance. It’s better for one person in the family to go to the store to avoid crowding; kids should be left at home for their safety and yours. Don’t venture out if you’re sick.

Wash Hands

 
 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by World Health Organization (@who) on

There’s not enough data to suggest that gloves can reduce the risk. It will, of course, stop the virus droplets for getting on your skin, but gloves can’t stop you from touching your face. Experts advise that they may give you a false sense of security while wearing gloves. So, washing your hands is the best option, as thoroughly and as often as you can. If you are wearing gloves, make sure you dispose of them properly and not touch your face after wearing them.

Disinfect Groceries

 
 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by Hey D.C.!, What's New? (@dcwhatsnew) on

There’s no data to support that the virus can be transmitted through food or packaging, but you can still take precautions. It’s a good practice to wash your fruits and veggies with water before consuming, and it’s more important right now (don’t use soap or other chemicals). You should wipe everything from the store with disinfectant wipes, or let them sit for 72 hours. Wash your hands the moment you get home, and before handling groceries and after. Also wipe the table/counter tops after you’re done and wash your hands again. Discard the grocery bag, or wash it thoroughly for reuse. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Comments