Being declared as a pandemic by The World Health Organization, the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is affecting our day-to-day lives in an unprecedented manner. At the moment, everyone is advised to practice social distancing, work from home and most importantly, take every measure possible to prevent yourself from infection.
As a result, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizers and soaps are flying off the shelf as people are paying extra attention to keeping themselves, and accurately, their hands, from germs. However, another entity needs equivalent care: our homes. Here are five reasons why disinfecting your home is as important as washing your hands at this point.
Governments around the world are highlighting the advice that everyone who can stay at home to shield themselves and others from the virus, which means we are spending more time at home than ever. Keeping your home clean and disinfected will diminish the spread of coronavirus or any other kinds of viruses. Even if no one in your family is showing symptoms, the chances of the infection clinging on surfaces in your home are lower. But it doesn’t mean that you can ignore the risk, especially when some members of your household need to leave the house.
Whenever coming home, we are bringing all germs from the outside through dirty hands, shoes, clothing and phone. Regularly disinfecting surfaces with high traffic such as tables, keyboards, phones, doorknobs or handles, remote controls will reduce the likelihood of the virus transferring to your hands.
It is still unclear now how long the virus can survive outside the body, but a study found that it could linger on stainless steel and plastic surfaces for up to three days and on cardboard for up to a day. As experts suggest that coronavirus can remain infectious on surfaces for a matter of days, adopting a hygienic routine with daily preventative steps can significantly help to avoid the spread of the respiratory viruses. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has released the General Recommendations for Routine Cleaning and Disinfection of Household, which aims at limiting the survival of the virus.
Since more and more of us are shifting to studying and working from home, not keeping your carpet, beds and upholsteries and other areas prone to dampness are increasing your risk of getting allergies and asthmatic symptoms.
Without proper disinfection, the combination of contaminants from the outdoors you bring back home and dust mites, moulds and pet danders lurking in your interiors can trigger severe allergic reactions, decrease air quality and increase potential asthma problems.
Dr Uma Gavani, an allergy and asthma specialist on staff at Christ Medical Centre, recommended us to pay attention to areas that have the highest concentration of allergens such as closets, surfaces and crevices.
In messy homes, chances are bugs, and rodents can multiply and hide easily and keep you disturbed with their troublesome presence, which holds the threats of disease, bacteria, germs and allergies.
Cockroaches are not just annoying, but they can also host numerous bacteria and parasites that are dangerous to humans and carry them to every corner of your house. Mice can also be a problem for many homes as they can spread diseases to humans, including Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis, Salmonella and Hantavirus. While staying at home to break the chain of COVID-19 infection, we should also be aware of protecting ourselves against other diseases by preventing pest infestations before they transform into serious issues.
Research has proven that women tend to increase their sweets and high-fat foods intakes as they face daily hassles or professional stress. A disorganized physical environment and poor hygiene may play a role as well. A team of researchers from Cornell University set up two test kitchens with healthy and unhealthy snacks – one organized and the other messy and disorganized – and discovered that those working in the chaotic kitchen consumed nearly twice as many calories in sweets as those who worked in the organized kitchen.
As working from home is increasing in numbers, those who have familiarized themselves with conventional office space might struggle to adapt to the new work mode and drive their working, daily schedule and physical health into turbulence. Besides avoiding poor workplace postures, spending time roaming around your house and sanitizing every corner can improve your health as it ensures that you are not stuck to your desk or bed typing all day long. You can also embed some simple indoor workouts to your disinfecting routine while your gym might not be currently available.
Much as we are mindful of the changing circumstances around us, many people are susceptible to boredom and anxiety while practising social distancing and self-quarantine. As various media are encouraging the implementation of mindfulness and wellness routines while staying indoors, keeping your home sanitized by cleaning and wiping out germs from every surface and object also presents in the recommendation list. Not only this could ease your anxiety of viruses existing around, but it also helps you discover exciting things hiding at unexpected corners.
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As Coronavirus is spreading rapidly around the world, we must carry out necessary protective measures and minimise our exposure to this virus. Washing your hands is one of the essential things you can do, but the virus can still linger on the surfaces you touch every day, like your belongings, household appliances, etc. So it is recommended that you should sanitise your home, workspaces and especially your car regularly. We all spend hours in our car, but few of us pay attention to the fact that there are so many touchpoints in a car accumulated with germs and viruses. How can you properly disinfect your car against viruses without damaging the interior?
The first step is to choose the materials and cleaning agents that are suitable for the interior of your car. Make sure to follow the guidance on manufacturer labels. Isopropyl alcohol (70% or higher) can use in most car interior surfaces, including steering wheel, seat adjusters, doors, handles, armrests, dash, console, gear shift, cup holders. The wiping with a microfiber cloth that sweeps away dirt thoroughly as well as prevents scratches.
However, you should not use Isopropyl alcohol for leather because it can remove the dye from the leather and damage the coating. A mix of soap and water is safe and effective for leather steering wheels, trim, or seating. The cleanser doesn’t need to be antibacterial — regular hand soap or dishwashing soap is effective against the Coronavirus.
Remember not to scrub hard when cleaning the leather interior to avoid discolouration. If your car’s upholstery is made of fabric, make sure to use a small amount of water and laundry detergent to lightly agitate the fabric instead of cleaning it with too much water or too much soap.
Two other things you must not use on the inside of your car are bleach and hydrogen peroxide since they can damage vinyl and plastic as well as discolour your vehicle. Chlorine bleach is also harmful to the car’s interior and could weaken the fabric if getting on the seat belts. Additionally, ammonia-based cleaners, if used on car touch screens, will likely spoil their anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings.
If you find it hard to buy cleaning materials, look online for instructions on how to make home-made alternatives. Be cautious of which chemicals to use; otherwise, your car will be damaged or discoloured. Popular options would include window cleaner for windows, windshields, or baking soda and warm water.
While cleaning your car, you should consider where droplets would fall when you or your passengers sneeze and cough. Also, you must prioritise the frequently touched areas, including door handles, seat belts, handbrake, dashboard controls, seats, gear stick, and so on. Put more effort into cleaning the exterior door handles and the area around the window or centre console. You touch them more often than you think and they could carry Coronavirus.
The most important part is the steering wheel, which carries about four times the amount of germs found on a toilet seat due to the cracks and crevices on the rim and spokes, according to research. Use disinfecting wipes to sanitise the wheel and all the relevant parts, such as voice control, cruise control, navigation.
You should not forget to vacuum the carpet of your car each week or even twice a week to minimise the infections. In case you do not have a car vacuum, take a microfiber cloth, then spray some disinfectant spray on the fabric and wipe over your carpet.
Take advantage of disposable gloves while cleaning to protect your hands against the chemicals and also the spread of viruses. Once you have finished the cleaning process, dispose of the gloves, and wash your hands immediately. Under no circumstances should you reuse the gloves as they can spread the virus to other surfaces.
Once you have finished cleaning wash your hands under running water with soap carefully for 20 seconds so that the dirt can not be put back on the frequently touched surfaces in your car. Washing your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer also reduces the risk of catching the virus, so you should keep this habit.
These tips will help keep your car germ-free to minimise the risk of infection. Even after disinfection, limit the time using your vehicle for the next few weeks in a bid to curb the pandemic.