Save lives by washing your hands

A cartoon gloved hand cleans a surface

Courtesy of ClipDealer

A cartoon gloved hand cleans a surface

By Shalini Atluri, Contributing Writer

Plastic, steel, wood and cardboard are surfaces that people touch constantly. They are also some of the surfaces that COVID-19 readily lands on. 

According to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine that examined the viability of the coronaviruses, it was found that SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) was stable on plastic, stainless steel, copper and cardboard. The virus was detected on the surfaces for up to 72 hours. Given this information, people must use their hands wisely to protect themselves and one another.

At the grocery store

From grabbing a carton of milk from the refrigerator section to placing a roll of toilet paper in the cart, the hands are the most commonly used part of the body.

Donald Schaffner, a microbiologist at Rutgers University, offered advice on how to get groceries during this time of the coronavirus. According to Schaffner, he advises that making a list and washing your hands before and after going to the store are the two best ways to limit the risk of the disease.

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    Making a list allows people to spend less time at the store, further limiting their exposure to the virus.

    When people wash their hands, they are able to significantly reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to themselves and to others. With the new information on how COVID-19 lives on surfaces for about three days, people have pondered on leaving their groceries in a single place for three days, in an attempt to get rid of the virus before using the groceries. This, however, is not a practical idea, because items such as milk, ice cream and meat will spoil. 

    No contact food delivery

    As more people continue to practice social distancing, the more people use computers. People’s hands get tired from typing on a computer all day as they work from home. By the evening, the hands they have used to stay connected with the world may not be up for the challenge to cook.

    When this occurs, getting food delivered is still safe. Delivery services such as Postmates and UberEats have added the no-contact delivery method to fill people’s stomachs while saving lives at the same time

    The no-contact delivery process allows couriers to leave the food on the doorstep or curbside. This allows both the delivery people and consumers to be conscious and work together to mitigate the spread of the disease. 

    Sanitize the smartphone 

    The smartphone is very useful during these times — however, it holds a lot of bacteria. When people hold their phones, their hands pick up some of the bacteria from the smartphone. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information on how to keep your phone clean.

    As technology advances, there are progressive inventions for sanitizing electronics.  For example, PhoneSoap 3 uses UV light to get rid of 99.9% of germs on a smartphone. For $79.95, one can rest easy knowing their phone is clean.

    However, a more cost-friendly way to sanitize a smartphone is to use a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting wipes to clean the non-porous surfaces of the phone. 

    Wash your hands

    If there is only one behavior that someone can implement, it should be this — washing hands with hot water and soap for 20 seconds. This is the most crucial step in fighting this virus.

    In an alarming study, researchers found that 99.3% of people did not wash hands after coughing and sneezing. When exhibiting an illness-like symptom, it is essential to prevent yourself from infecting other people. Don’t be like 99.3% of this subject population — wash those hands. 

    This pandemic requires behavior changes that can be difficult to initially comprehend. Eventually, the virus will go away, and the accomplishments of ordinary people’s behavior will continue to shine far beyond the scope of this virus.

    All hands should be on deck now — changing behavior immediately will create a healthier world for all of us.

    Shalini is a junior in AHS.

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