Our lifestyle may have changed during this battle against Covid-19, with practices such as putting off gatherings and having to wear masks in public taking some getting used to.
One of the “new habits” that may be worth maintaining, even when this is actually over, must be washing our hands properly, with soap and for at least 20 seconds. Research has shown that doing this significantly reduces the amount of germs on our hands by 45%, compared to merely rinsing with water.
On this topic of germs, our hands are not the only resting ground for them. Germs and flu viruses – including the one we are currently battling - can survive on surfaces for as short as hours, and as long as several days!
It has been found that even the type of surface makes a difference to the lifespan of the Covid-19 virus, which is what scientists from The New England Journal of Medicine discovered:
- up to 3 hours in the environment
- 4 hours on copper surfaces
- 24 hours on cardboard surfaces
- as long as 3 days on stainless steel and plastic surfaces
Here are some areas we should give extra attention to, right in our homes.
The digital era may have given rise to convenient cashless payments, but there could be instances when we need to handle cash, or people who prefer to use this mode of payment. Imagine the notes and coins being passed from person to person on a daily basis, accumulating dirt and every chance of germs. Try to sanitise or wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling money. If you are unable to do so immediately, at least avoid touching your face.
Switches & door handles
These are surfaces we touch endless times on a daily basis (and may not remember to clean often). We cannot disinfect those we touch outdoors, but we can surely be responsible for our own home. Regularly wipe these high-touch objects, such as light switches, door knobs, keys and locks, just to name a few.
We know we cannot live without our gadgets - smartphones, keyboards, tablets and yes, even remote controls. Consider slipping on a water-proof cover on your electronics, and follow manufacturer instructions for cleaning and disinfecting. Allow these surfaces to dry thoroughly before use.
This could be a good time to wipe down your sofas, massage chairs, and other soft surfaces (and why not include carpets, rugs and drapes while you are at it). Use warm water and appropriate cleaners on these, in accordance to manufacturers’ instruction. Where possible, use a washable cover which would be easier to change and wash frequently.
Adding to the above, here are some additional tips for increased personal hygiene and at home.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Opt for contactless delivery or minimise close contact with the folks who are sending you your food delivery (this is also to protect them while they are still out and about, working hard to bring us food from outside!).
- Be careful when handling food packaging and containers, as the risk may stem from being in contact with a contaminated surface then unconsciously touching your face.
- If a family member falls ill, have him/her wear a mask even at home, and try to sleep in separate rooms.
- If it is not possible to use different bathrooms, clean and disinfect more diligently. If you don’t already have this habit, keep your toilet bowl lid down when not in use – flushing has been found to disseminate virus into the air.
There is probably no better time to re-assess our personal and public hygiene. Often, a little change in our habit goes a long way, particularly worth it during this universal battle against the virus.