Coronavirus changed our world. But what can you do to keep it from entering your home or workplace? The simple answer is to clean and disinfect yourself, your home and your workspace.
Stepping out you hear many people discussing how this pandemic keeps their children home and affected how they work. It’s not unusual to see someone pull out a small bottle of hand sanitizer after touching places other people have been. You can bet more people exercise diligence in washing their hands, too.
The CDC began offering advice on how to stay safe months ago. We’re regular visitors to other people’s homes to perform home inspections. That makes those of us at Champia Real Estate Inspections highly aware of the need to keep families and homes safe. While neither a Coronavirus Home Inspector or a Coronavirus Real Estate Inspection exists, we can use our experience in sharing these tips created by CDC experts.
Follow these tips and you’ll do your best to avoid COVID-19 and other viruses, such as influenza (the flu).
First, Wash Your Hands
It all starts with the hands. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and you take the biggest step to prevent infection.
And the soap doesn’t have to include antibacterial agents. Just regular soap, making sure you cleanse every part of your hands, including under your fingernails. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. We’ve seen plenty of empty shelves when out shopping So if you can’t find a hand sanitizer, you can make your own with Isopropyl alcohol and aloe vera. Some experts warn getting the alcohol to mix properly isn’t as easy as you think.
Wash your hands:
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing,
- After using the restroom,
- Before preparing a meal,
- During food preparation, especially after handling raw meat or poultry products,
- After preparing a meal,
- After arriving home – You just spent time in a filthy car after exposure to other people and dirty surfaces. Yes, you need to wash them!
- After having been in a public place. Yes, every time you come in or go out,
- After greeting another person, though that brings us to other tips:
How to Avoid Exposure
Stop shaking hands. It’s not impolite, it keeps both of you safe. Other people suggest touching elbows or tapping your foot with someone else’s. For those of us with less coordination, how about we just do a slight bow of the head?
Avoid touching your own face, eyes, nose, etc. (But when you do, go wash your hands!)
Avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – That includes elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, other people, etc. If you must touch something, use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger. Most elevators don’t operate by voice command, and the restroom door won’t open by itself. Many of us take the paper towel just used to dry our hands and open the door with it. Shame on the property manager for not putting a trash can right beside the door! That pile of paper towels on the floor ought to be a clue.
Avoid crowds. Some of us are introverts, so this is easy. But poorly ventilated spaces may increase your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19. Crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation create too much risk if there are sick people in the crowd.
Avoid all non-essential travel. This includes plane trips, and especially means don’t embark on cruise ships. So there’s your excuse to avoid visiting the in-laws – unless they are sick and need your help.
Stay at Home. The CDC advises people to stay home as much as possible if COVID-19 (coronavirus) is in your community. Start considering ways to get food brought to your house, whether that’s with the help of family, social or commercial networks. Some delivery services are dropping off food and other goods at your door with no physical contact necessary. If you ordered with Siri or Alexa, you might have avoided touching any surface until you needed to open your door to bring your supplies inside.
Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks
Clean & Disinfect. Repeat.
So how can you keep your home safe and virus free? If you first keep yourself clean, it’s time to start on the home.
Clean and disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, light switches handles, toilets, sinks, faucets, tables, desks handrails, and cellphones. If there’s a place you find yourself regularly touching, clean that place, too. Don’t forget remote controls for TVs, garage doors and your car’s key fob.
Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. If you keep facial tissue handy, use that. If not, use the crook of your elbow. Now go wash your hands! (And your arm if you just sneezed onto it.)
It’s getting warmer, so follow the CDC’s advice to increase ventilation and go open the windows. Failing that, you can adjust your AC to get more air flowing.
Homes with Vulnerable Residents
People with significant underlying conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes, and conditions that suppress the immune system, are at great risk from COVID-19. They’re at greater risk for other diseases, like the flu, and even the common cold can lay them low. But this pandemic poses greater risks.
If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:
- Stock up on supplies.
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
- Avoid crowds as much as possible.
- Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
- During a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of exposure.
How to Keep At-Risk Persons Safe at Home
So, what can you do if an at-risk person lives in the home?
First, healthy people in the home should like they were a major risk to those at-risk persons. How do you do that?
Wash your hands. Yep, you guessed it: wash your hands before interacting with them, whether that’s feeding them, serving them food, caring for them or interacting in any other way.
Provide a protected space for the vulnerable household member.
Clean all utensils and surfaces regularly. You should disinfect these anyway, so this shouldn’t be much extra work.
Households with Sick Individuals
Whether it’s an at-risk senior or any other person in the home, the CDC advises that you give sick family members their own room if possible. Keep the door closed.
Only one family member should care for them.
You’ll need to consider providing even more protections or more intensive care for any household members 65 or over who have underlying conditions. That’s whether they are the sick individual or someone else is.
The Georgia Department of Public Health additionally offers guidelines, advice, and tips regarding personal health, home, and businesses for COVID-19 (coronavirus) and other health issues, including the flu.