The COVID 19 Pandemic has brought us many changes & many emotions including fear! People are scared, they are scared to interact with their loved ones, they are scared to go to the grocery store and they are terrified to go to a doctor or hospital right now. It’s a scary time and everyone has to do what is comfortable for them. For those who are considered “high risk” which primarily includes the elderly (>65 years of age), those with chronic medical disease (i.e., COPD, asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney or liver disease) and those who are “immunocompromised” (have a weakened immune systems) it is probably best to stay home as much as possible.
If you are venturing out again, how do you stay safe? All healthcare providers receive training regarding what we call “aseptic technique”. Aseptic technique is using practices & procedures to prevent contamination from pathogens. This practice is (or should be) utilized in all healthcare settings to minimize the risk of infection & to prevent to spread of infection. Infection is the invasion & multiplication of microorganisms (i.e., viruses or bacteria) that are not normally present within the body and cause us to get sick.
When we talk about preventing infection, we use the terms contamination & decontamination. Contamination means that something has been made impure by exposure to or addition of a substance (i.e., viruses or bacteria). You can just think of it as dirty. Decontamination is where you remove or neutralize the contamination from the area, object or person. Think of this as clean. Aseptic technique involves utilizing practices to prevent contamination (i.e., cleaning rooms between patients) & to perform decontamination as necessary (i.e., sterilization of surgical tools).
COVID 19 virus has been proven to live on objects for up to 72 hours. This means that our every day environment may be contaminated (dirty). There are measures we can take to try to minimize our contamination.
Developing a regular “routine” to use when you are out & about will help make sure you do these things consistently. My general practice is as follows;
Before entering the store, office, etc. put your mask on. Avoid touching the inside of the mask at all times as you want the inside to stay as clean as possible.
Limit items to be touched while in the dirty environment (store, office, etc). I usually take my phone & reading glasses out of my purse so they are handy.
Enter the dirty environment (store, office, etc.) and touch whatever you want to touch!
It is imperative to not touch your face while you are in the dirty environment. The primary way that viruses are spread among humans is through the eyes, nose & mouth, so please don’t touch your face unless your hands are clean (always).
Upon exiting the dirty environment or once you get to your car, utilize hand sanitizer to clean your hands.
Remove your mask, avoid touching the inside (clean) or the outside (dirty). I like to leave my mask in the car, it gets pretty hot in there & there is plenty of UV light so hopefully that helps to keep it virus free!
Wipe down items you touched while in the dirty environment (i.e., phone, reading glasses, debit card, etc.) as soon as possible with a disinfectant wipe. Keep a small garbage bag in your car to dispose of dirty items.
When you get home, wash your hands so you know they are clean!
I am not afraid of getting the virus from a grocery item, bag or Amazon package, if you are, feel free to wipe everything down with disinfecting wipes, I personally just don’t do it as I think the risk is so small it’s not worth the effort.
Stay safe my friends!
The Content above is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.