JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Leaving your home for an essential reason — like going to the grocery store, the pharmacy or doctor, to name a few — could bring the coronavirus back to those you love.
“Everyone is at risk. Anyone going anywhere at any time is at risk for COVID-19,” said Julie Byrd, State of Franklin Healthcare’s Safety Specialist.
The CDC says depending on the type of surface, the virus could remain there for a time frame of a few hours all the way to a few days.
“High touch surfaces probably need to be cleaned multiple times a day depending on how often you’re touching those surfaces yourself, who all is in your home,” Byrd said. “If you have lots of people in your home that are touching those surfaces, you want to get those at least a couple of times a day.”
She says it is good practice for routine cleaning to take place once a week and that you should focus on areas you use throughout the day.
“You should really be focused on those high touch areas. So, doorknobs, light switches, faucets on your sink, countertops, your commode, your sinks. Things that you touch regularly and multiple times a day,” Byrd said.
She says the products you use to disinfect surfaces should be at least 70% alcohol-based and if you are having a hard time finding cleaning products, bleach is a good alternative.
“You can also use a bleach solution. You can make that at home with bleach. Just use 1/3 of a cup of bleach to a gallon of water to clean your surfaces,” recommends Byrd.
And if you have to go out, what precautions should you take?
The CDC has not recommended wearing gloves regularly but Byrd says.
“If you are wearing gloves out into public areas, you need to make sure after you touch a potentially contaminated surface that you’re either changing your gloves out or washing your gloves with soap and water as if you were washing your hands,” she said.
But, the CDC is recommending that you cover your face with non-medical mask.
“If someone is asymptomatically infected with coronavirus, the mask helps prevent them from spreading it to other people,” said Dr. David Kirschke, director for the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Department. “So, the mask is really worn by the person that has coronavirus whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic.”
Byrd and Dr. Kirschke both agree that the easiest way to prevent the spread of the virus is good hand hygiene.
“It’s important to wash your hands,” said Kirschke.
Although hand sanitizer is an alternative for when soap and water aren’t nearby, Byrd says it should be at least 60% alcohol-based to be effective.
“You need to make sure that even though you’re using hand sanitizer that you wash your hands as regularly as possible with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,” Byrd said.
Dr. Kirschke and Byrd also say that your cell phone and electronic devices are something you should be cleaning throughout the day.
“If you’ve been in public using your cell phone and touching things in public…be careful about your cell phone…especially if you’re eating,” said Dr. Kirschke.
For more information on the CDC’s cleaning recommendations and information, you can visit their website here.