The number of COVID-19 cases in India has already crossed the 1.8 lakh mark and continues to steadily rise each day. Staying indoors can help us prevent COVID-19 from spreading. It is also essential for us to maintain personal hygiene as well as hygiene at home to minimize our chances of getting sick.
Transmission of novel coronavirus occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through objects. Current evidence suggests that COVID-19 may remain active for hours to days on different types of surfaces. Therefore, cleaning visibly dirty areas followed by disinfection is the best measure for prevention of COVID-19 in day to day practice.
Cleaning vs Disinfecting
Cleaning is the process of removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from a variety of surfaces. It does not kill all germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. Disinfection is the process of using chemicals (disinfectants) to kill germs present on different surfaces. If done correctly, it can kill harmful microorganisms. Dettol, Lizol, bleach, rubbing alcohol, sodium hypochlorite, etc. are the various types of disinfectants that are easily available.
To help you stay safe, we have compiled a list of areas/items in your houses which need disinfecting daily:
1. High touch areas such as door handles and doorknobs
This is probably the most touched surface in the house. Right from the front door of your house to the handles on cupboard doors and rooms, it is vital to make it a habit to disinfect and wipe all the door handles in the house. Don’t forget to clean and disinfect the refrigerator door handle, table surfaces, metal/plastic/rubber baby toys, chairs and desk surfaces as well.
2. Mobile phones
Think of your mobile phone as your third hand. We tend to check our phones at least 20-30 times a day, helping germs easily transfer from your hands to your mobile phone. Phones should preferably be cleaned with disinfecting wipes gently on exterior parts of phones in switched off mode. Avoid the use of bleach or entry of moisture through any openings. Many mobile companies have provided recommendations on cleaning of phones during this COVID-19 pandemic. Check your phone manufacturer website for instructions on what to use to clean your phone in order to avoid damage to the device.
While you might not be touching your face regularly, you still touch your spectacles very often. Wipe your spectacle frames with a disinfecting wipe or a cloth dampened with disinfectant liquid*. You can also use a sanitizer and a clean, lint-free towel to wipe the lenses.
Cleaning our laptops is more important than ever now that we are working from home. Use a disinfectant wipe or a soft, lint-free cloth and wipe on the top and sides of each key, preferably in a switched off mode. Also, clean the surface and bottom of the keyboard thoroughly. Entry of moisture or any disinfectant liquid through any openings must be avoided.
5. Remote Controls:
We all find ourselves watching quite a bit of TV during this lockdown. This means that your remotes need a good cleaning since it is being handled by everyone at home. Remember to clean and disinfect your remote gently with disinfectant wipe or a cloth soaked in disinfectant liquid. Needless to say, that entry of moisture and disinfectant liquid inside the remote control must be avoided during cleaning.
Every packed grocery item should be wiped with soapy water or sanitizer (food packets, food bags, etc.) While purchasing groceries, make sure that you use cloth bags. Wash and disinfect them after every purchase.
Clean your fruits and vegetables under running water. You may soak them in a solution of salt or baking soda with water for some time. Rinse the items with clean water, dry and store normally.
7. Purses/ Wallets, Keys and Currency
If you are visiting the grocery or vegetable store, it means that you are taking your purse/wallet out. Add your wallet to the list of things you need to sanitize after visiting a store. Use a small amount of hand sanitizer* applied to the surface of the purse with a tissue or a clean cloth. You can disinfect keys (without remote controls) and coins by soaking them in a soap solution or dishwashing liquid for a short amount of time. After this, rinse them with clean water and leave in the sun to dry. As far as possible, try and use digital or card payments instead of cash. After handling/touching a card or cash for transaction/payment, always clean your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
8. Kitchen Surfaces and utensils
Nowadays, you are probably using your kitchen counter numerous times in a day. Areas where food is stored or prepared have more microbial contamination than other places in the home.
- Wash your hands before and after touching and handling food.
- Soak kitchen sponges in bleach solution to disinfect them, also change kitchen towels daily.
- Utensils can be disinfected by using a liquid disinfectant followed by thoroughly rinsing with clean water.
- It is best to avoid using a hand sanitiser in the kitchen and going near a kitchen flame. When at home, it would be advisable to wash your hands with soap before you enter the kitchen.
- It is important to note that, due to the presence of alcohol in it, sanitizers can turn fatal when exposed to fire as they are flammable. Some of the safety guidelines say that if an alcohol-based hand sanitiser is spilled or otherwise released, all potential ignition sources must be completely removed from the area to mitigate the possibility of a fire.
Have you stopped to think about the number of times you switch on and off the lights and fans at home? Switches and doorbells can be cleaned with disinfectant wipes once every couple of days.
*Disinfectant wipes should have at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol content while sanitizers should have at least 60% ethanol content.
It has become more important than ever to make sure that our houses stay virus-free and clean. Make sure you wash your hands regularly to minimize the spread of germs inside your house. Stay safe!
Disclaimer: The above information has been prepared by a qualified medical professional and may not represent the practices followed universally. The suggestions listed in this article constitute relatively common advice given to patients, and since every patient is different, you are advised to consult your physician, if in doubt, before acting upon this information. Lupin Limited has only facilitated the distribution of this information to you in the interest of patient education and welfare.