Even as the weather warms and lockdown restrictions loosen, it’s important to stay aware of potential modes of coronavirus transmission. Some of the most common are in your own home. Here’s what you should pay special attention to, to keep yourself and your family healthy.
In late April, a study found that coronavirus can live on the soles of shoes. Although it’s an unlikely method of transmission, just to be safe, you might want to leave your shoes outside or just inside your front door instead of tracking anything you’ve brought in from the outdoors through your home.
Initially, researchers thought that children weren’t seriously affected by Covid-19. We know now that’s not true; although it’s very rare, some children have developed serious complications after being infected with coronavirus. Much more common, experts say, is that children can serve as asymptomatic carriers of the virus, infecting older people in their homes.
Just as children can serve as asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19, other adults can as well. It’s estimated that anywhere from 25% to 80% of people infected aren’t aware they have it. That’s why it’s especially important to pay attention if someone close to you is exhibiting symptoms: High fever, cough, shortness of breath or a loss of taste or smell. If possible, they should isolate in a separate area of the house, wear a mask, and avoid sharing dishes or towels.
Could your family pet transmit Covid-19? Coronavirus has been detected in a small number of animals. The CDC says that transmission is unlikely, but it notes that the original virus seems to have jumped from an animal to a human and we’re learning more about it every day. If anyone in your household is experiencing symptoms, have them isolate from the family pets as well, just to be safe.
Your cleaning lady, super or babysitter might be a source of the virus, even if they’re not showing symptoms. That said, it’s a good idea to be as cautious as possible: Ask them to stay home if they’re feeling ill or have a fever.
Although in recent days, experts have said that human-to-human transmission of the virus is more common than contracting it from surfaces. But it can happen, if you touch an infected surface, then touch your eyes, nose or mouth. To be safe, wipe down high-touch surfaces like light switches, stove knobs and remote controls regularly, and wash your hands.
Experts believe coronavirus can live on plastic and steel surfaces for up to three days (although the amount of viable virus begins to degrade almost immediately). But don’t take chances: Be sure to wipe down these super-high-touch surfaces often.
If you touch items in public, then your keys, then your face, you could contract the virus. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer any time you handle these. And avoid putting your purse, backpack or gym bag on your bed, couch or kitchen table (which is a good rule of thumb to follow during regular old cold-and-flu season too).
Make it a practice to disinfect your cellphone regularly. Some experts advise doing this daily during cold and flu season. Use a disinfectant wipe, or a homemade mixture of 50 percent rubbing alcohol and 50 percent water.
Say you’re taking ultimate precautions: You’re wearing a mask and disposable plastic gloves on your weekly trip to the grocery store. But if you don’t throw away your gloves before you touch your car door, steering wheel or home doorknob, you can bring the virus into your home. If your wear gloves in public, toss them. If you don’t, use hand sanitizer before touching items in your car. Wash your hands frequently, and wash any cloth mask you wear after each use.
And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.