With the UK continuing its lockdown and Brits now self-isolating at home, doctors have shared helpful tips to clear up any confusion over the new guidelines.
Dr Javid Abdelmoneim, an A&E doctor, and Dr Lisa Cross, a virologist, appear on Channel 4’s Coronavirus: How Clean Is Your House, to help two families keep their homes safe.
While some people are self-isolating, many of us still need to go to the shops for essential items.
But Lisa explains this poses a risk as you’re bringing in products, which could potentially be harbouring the deadly virus.
While the food itself is likely to be safe, it’s the packaging which can cause problems.
Dr Javid says: “Current guidance tells us that the food itself is unlikely to be a risk, as even if virus particles are ingested they’d probably not survive in our stomach acid.
“But the food packaging could be an area of concern. Remember the virus can survive for 24 hours on cardboard, and three to five days on plastic.”
Dr Lisa advises to remove as much outer packaging as possible, for example the cardboard box of a bag of cereal, but for anything which needs to stay in its packet, such as tins, give it a wash with soapy water.
Living in a house with someone who is sick or self-isolating can also pose fresh challenges, with Dr Javid breaking down groups into the ‘isolators’, people who potentially have symptoms, ‘’the distancers’, people without symptoms in the same home, and ‘‘the shielders’, who are vulnerable.
Distance is the best method to try and stop the spread, with Dr Javid advising shielders should be given their own room where possible.
Even if space is tight, he said working out a rota for the communal areas can help stop infection spreading, with a shielder using rooms such as the kitchen first, before it’s “contaminated”.
They would then leave the kitchen, and the ‘distancer’ would act as a go-between, bringing food to the isolator in their room.
The pair also shared their top five tips to minimise the spread of bacteria in a house.
Best cleaning products to use
Despite there being numerous products on the market, Dr Lisa claimed you only need two to effectively protect against coronavirus.
She said: “A correctly diluted bleach solution (cheapest bleach you can get in the supermarket will work 100% effectively against the virus), or soap and water.
“Bleach is good for high-traffic spots with hard surfaces, like light switches, most floors and worktops.”
Dr Lisa warned people to always use gloves and use in a well-ventilated area.
But if you haven’t been able to get your hands on any bleach, she added: “Soap and water is hugely versatile and particularly suitable for destroying the virus on items that come into contact with food, and for cleaning children’s toys safely and effectively.”
Areas most people forget to clean
While you may be frantically scrubbing your home, there are some areas you may neglect which could be a breeding ground for bacteria.
The experts advised: “The outside of cleaning product bottles, soap and hand cream bottles as they are items that we frequently touch and could transfer coronavirus on to.
“The simplest way to clean them is by washing them in warm soapy water.”
How to limit coronavirus entering your house
You may not be able to avoid going outside for essentials and medicine, but there is a chance coronavirus could linger on surfaces and even clothes.
To try and minimise the spread, the doctors said: “When you first come in from the outside, take off your shoes immediately.”
They revealed the virus could live on your soles for up to five days, and clothes for 24 hours.
They added: “Keep shoes in your hallway, or the same spot and try to use only one pair of shoes to go outside.”
If you’ve used public transport or been in close contact with anyone they advised changing your clothes immediately and putting them in the wash.
How to safely order a takeaway
With some people self-isolating and supermarket shelves stripped bare, a takeaway could be a viable option to get some food.
Dr Lisa and Javid cleared up any confusion on ordering in, saying it can be done but shared their tips to minimise the spread of infection.
Dr Javid said: “When getting your takeaway simply remove outer packaging and get rid of it. For those takeaways without easily discarded packaging, either wipe down with a bit of soap and water or decant its contents into a clean container/plate.
“Discard any plastic bags the takeaway has come in, disinfect anywhere they outside packaging may have touched (your kitchen surfaces). Then wash your hands and enjoy!”
How to properly dry your hands
Washing our hands is key to preventing the spread of coronavirus, but there’s also the drying part.
Dr Javid said making sure you don’t mix up your towels is crucial.
He said: “The main thing is the hand drying towel is never then the dish-drying towel, because that can cause cross contamination.
“When washing your dish clothes and tea towels in the washing machine, it’s recommended you do it at 60 or above, because that elevated temperature will inactivate the virus.”
Coronavirus: How Clean Is Your House airs at 8pm on Channel 4.
By Rebecca Flood, 9th April 2020
Source: The Sun