Sorry to be a bit of a wet blanket, but while we all celebrate Phase 2 and throng the restaurants, shops and malls, the virus is still out there. There are fears of a second wave, so vigilance, even as we venture out into the new normal, is key.
According to Johnson Zhuo, who was a paramedic on the frontlines of the SARS outbreak in 2002-2004, and who founded an eco-friendly cleaning company called Dream Sparkle, every time we travel out of our homes for work or school, to buy groceries, or for a run in the park, there's a certain risk of bringing back bacteria or viruses on our clothes, bags, shoes or body and hands.
8days.sg spoke to Johnson and asked him what we should, or should not, be doing to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and to avoid bringing dreaded viruses and other nasties into our homes. Here's what he told us.
#1: Have everyone come in through the same door, and place a hand sanitiser near the door.
Everyone coming in should use the sanitiser or an antibacterial/alcohol wipe on their hands, or wash their hands with soap immediately.
#2: Put a sign on the door reminding those entering to remove their shoes.
Shoes may have been on surfaces where people could have coughed, sneezed or spit.
#3: At the entrance of the house, disinfect items that have been touched and carried.
These include keys, handphone, wallet, pen, watch, jewellery and purse handle. Wipe them down with antibacterial/alcohol wipes before bringing them into the house.
#4: It is advisable to shower immediately after coming home, especially now that more and more people are gradually going out.
Johnson tells us, “Think about the number of people we come into contact with throughout the day. Even though the Circuit Breaker has ended, we are still not completely safe from the risk of contracting the virus, so it is better to be cautious to keep your family and yourself safe when you come home.
#5: Also, change your clothes and wash them.
According to the CDC, flu viruses are killed by heat above 75°C, as well as with cleaning products with active ingredients. In case you’ve come in contact with someone infected with the Covid-19 virus, it’s best to wash your soiled clothes and change into clean ones. As for the laundry process itself, Johnson advises, “Remember to wash your hands before touching anything, wear disposable gloves, and then wash your hands again immediately once you take the gloves off.”
#6: If you are coming home after being in a high-risk location, like a doctor’s office, hospital, clinic or emergency room, even more safety measures are needed.
“After you wash or sanitise our hands at the door, go straight to the bathroom and remove your clothes and put them straight into the washing machine. Bypass the clothes hamper. Wash the clothes with disinfectant detergent, and take a shower,” advises Johnson.
#7: Kids should take a shower immediately after coming home from school, too.
“Practice the same habits as if the kids have come from a high risk location during this period, as we have no control over how or what children might have come in contact with during their lessons or outside. Get the children to sanitise their hands at the door, go straight to the bathroom, remove their clothes and put them straight into the washing machine. Wash the clothes with disinfectant detergent, and get the kids to take a shower.
#8: Don’t forget to sanitise your bags, shoes and other accessories.
While Johnson is not telling people to be paranoid and disinfect the heck out of everything every time you get home, he says it’s always good to take precautionary measures especially when you have visited high-risk locations or areas with high-human traffic. It’s important to realise there can be other carriers of the virus besides our hands, and these are our shoes, bags, wallets and the accessories we have on our body. He advises us to disinfect shoes and other accessories at the door, and use antibacterial or alcohol wipes to clean your bag, watches or other accessories you have on your body.
#9: Do not hug your children or elderly folks before showering when you get home after being outside.
The hugs can come after, when you’re 100 per cent clean!
#10: Watch out for contaminants in your hair as well.
Johnson says, “According to experts, the virus likely wouldn’t live as long on hair as on other surfaces, but being safe is better than being sorry, especially if you are coming back from a high-risk area. Be extra vigilant when coming home from a barber shop or a hair salon, as you would have come into close contact with the barber or hairstylist.” He recommends washing your hair daily with shampoo to get rid of dirt, oil, bacteria, and viruses.
#11: Practise daily wipe-downs of high-touch areas.
These include floors, door knobs and remote controllers. You can also engage reputable and professional disinfecting and cleaning service providers to have your environment disinfected and wiped down. Johnson advises, “If a surface is dirty or stained, first clean it with soap or detergent and water. Then use a disinfectant product to wipe down the areas. If there’s a family member who is Covid-19 positive, it's important to wipe down the location that comes in contact with the patient in the household. Ensure there is proper ventilation for the cleaned and disinfected location in the house. It’s also important not to wipe cleaning solutions off as soon as you’ve applied them to a surface. Allow some time for the disinfectant to stay wet on the surface for several minutes in order for it to be effective. Make sure to read the directions to make sure you’re using the products as recommended and to avoid damaging sensitive items such as mobile phones, furniture and other electronic devices.”
To find out more about Dream Sparkle and their services and products, go to dream-sparkle.com.
Pics from Pexels.