The novel coronavirus is known to be easily transmitted from crowded places to commonly touched surfaces and objects. It’s because of these reasons that maximized sanitization of the surroundings is a must practice for everyone to prevent the spread of the virus.
How big of a risk are your groceries?
Currently, there are no clear answers on the exact amount of risk that one gets from produce and food packaging in transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19. However, regardless of this, the World Health Organization says that in addition to close contact, people can pick up the virus by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their faces.
A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the virus was detectable on plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours, and on cardboard for up to 24 hours.
Sanitize your groceries at home with these tips!
Whichever way you get to decide what to do with your groceries, you’ll want to handle them carefully and ensure the safety of everyone when you get them home. This will reduce the chance of spreading the virus to other people or surfaces in your house. Here are some collected tips recommended by experts!
Shop with caution
Charlotte Baker, DrPH, MPH, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia, said that coming into close contact with another person who’s sick at the supermarket is the biggest risk. So to begin with the prevention practice, it should start with your careful grocery shopping first.
It is good to assume all surfaces everywhere have been touched by someone who is sick, but perhaps not to an exaggerated extent - but use it in a way that helps you act more carefully when walking the areas.
“Touch just the items you intend to buy, wipe down the cart or basket handles with disinfectant wipes, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer when you’re done,” Baker added. She also mentioned that using curbside pick-up or at-home delivery is also recommendable to reduce the potential risk of infection.
“Some farmers markets are allowing customers to preorder foods so they are already packaged when you come to pick them up,” she also said, “reducing the amount of time that you need to be near other people and reducing the number of items that you can touch.”
Leave the bag of items in a distance for hours
Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, a family physician practicing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, recommends the modified “sterile technique” in this video for people who have someone in their household with a higher risk to COVID-19.
While this isn’t always possible, VanWingen said that one option is to leave your groceries in your garage or porch for at least 72 hours to allow the virus to become inactive. Leaving the bags where the groceries were placed is an additional tip, too.
Set up an area for cleaning
A core point of VanWingen’s method is to set up a cleaning station to avoid contaminating your food or other surfaces at home. This process also involves wiping down and discarding all packaging with a disinfectant before putting your groceries away. You can then transfer the food to a clean bag or container.
For unwrapped fresh goods such as fruits and vegetables, the Food and Drug Administration suggests rinsing them completely with clean water before storing, as using soap is not recommendable because of the ingestion risk. To wrap up this method, make sure to also wash any tables, countertops, or other surfaces where you’ve conducted cleaning and were touched by the grocery bags for maximum disinfecting and proper sanitization.
Wash your hands!
Washing your hands thoroughly and often especially when involved in doing activities like grocery shopping is a vital part of the entire cleaning process. Always wash your hands after getting the groceries, another after you’ve unpacked them, and another one after cleaning all areas and surfaces touched by these items. It is most important to be aware if you’ve held anything that a lot of people may have come in contact with as well, and in those instances, you should always wash your hands afterward.
While it is normal to have a certain feeling of anxiety when it comes to this kind of situation is normal, it is more important to focus on doing the safety measures to ease your worries. Cleaning groceries may help in further prevention of the easily spreading coronavirus. To maximize your clean and healthy living plans, equip your cleaning lifestyle with a healthy body! Take health supplements for a stronger immune system and fight disease.