Your biggest contribution to solving the coronavirus pandemic is to stay home, except if you are in the frontline fighting the pandemic. Your staying home is tantamount to saving lives, stopping the spread of COVID 19 and flatting the curve of infection in the process. The importance of your staying home cannot be over-emphasized enough.
As a parent, we bet you don’t need much convincing to stay home, knowing how fatal this disease is. But there are days you may run out of groceries and need to stock up or in the case, the lockdown / social distancing is not getting relaxed but extended and you need to run errands or get groceries? What would you do?
Yes, there’s an absolute need to go out and do errands and there’s also a big chance you will come in contact with the virus when you’re out, so, how do you make sure you don’t bring the coronavirus home to your spouse and kids or to your aged parents if you have them staying with you?
According to Smartparenting, Dr. Bill Griggs, the former trauma services director of The Royal Adelaide Hospital, the largest hospital in South Australia, has come up with a detailed checklist of what one must do when leaving the house to minimize the possibility of being a carrier of the virus.
He breaks it down into three parts: Leaving home, While out, and Arriving home.
Primarily, In Nigeria, it is also now compulsory to wear a facemask when going out. So put on your face non-surgical facemask, and avoid touching it until you are ready to discard it after running errands.
A. Leaving home
1. Don’t wear anything from the elbow down: Many of us prepare to go out all covered up from head to toe and dressed like a ninja, which is still a good precaution. However, Dr. Griggs says not to put on any arm wear, like a watch, wrist chain, and other jewelry, from the elbow down.
“You want to be able to wash thoroughly when you get home and you don’t want to deal with crevices in these items. Wear short sleeves so you can easily wash your hands and forearms when you get home,” he says.
2. Don’t take along a handbag or wallet: The point is to take a few items outside as possible. That said, instead of taking your entire collection of keys; just take the one you need. Any other personal belongings, like medicine or alcohol, must be placed inside a disposable paper bag.
3. Put your phone inside a resealable plastic: As much as possible, try not to take your phone outside, but if there is a need to take your phone along, put it in a resealable plastic bag such as a Ziploc bag.
4. Put your credit card, ID and cash in a resealable bag, too: Remember, Coronavirus can spread from one person to another through infected objects touched by an uninfected person. In Nigeria, we make use of cash much more than our Credit or ATM cards. Therefore, we recommend that it is better to calculate how much all your groceries will cost and place the cash in a resealable bag. That way, you won’t have to touch any other object or get any from anyone.
And you can also make use of your ATM card to reduce the probability of objects exchange as well.
5. Use closed shoes: Avoid open-toe shoes, slippers or sandals. Put on shoes that cover the entirety of your feet very well.
6. Bring your own food and drink — in a disposable bag, of course.
7. Place an empty plastic box outside your door: You will need this when you get back home to put all the personal effects you went out with after your errands for thorough cleaning.
8. Put all your personal items in another plastic box: This is the one you take with you and will occupy that one spot in the car. (So don’t move it around).
9. Plan your trip: Do all your errands at once (grocery shopping, buying medicine, or getting fuel and even withdrawing money at the ATM). Do this to maximize your trip and reduce your chances of getting infected due to constantly going out. Plan your trip ahead of time, make a list of all what you need, where you need to go, Doing this reduces your chances of forgetting anything and going back out to get it.
B. While out
10. Don’t use your phone unnecessarily: Avoid using your phone while you’re out. Discard the resealable plastic or wash it thoroughly when you get home.
“No social media. You can manage without it for a while,” says Dr. Griggs.
11. Don’t touch your face.
12. Don’t touch anything with your hands that you don’t absolutely need to.
13. Be wary of frequently-touched items: Just assume that anything other people touch is contaminated, such as doorknobs, handrails, supermarket carts, pens at the cashier, ATM keypad, etc.
14. Disinfect your hands regularly: Use liberal amounts of alcohol or hand sanitizer to decontaminate, or use soap and water if available. Dr. Griggs says, “Hand washing is the most effective.”
15. Push doors using your feet, elbow, or shoulder.
16. Resist the urge to scratch that itch: If your face itches, use your upper arm to rub it but do not use your hand to scratch or touch your face.
17. Avoid eating out: “It is almost impossible not to touch your face when you eat. No drinks unless you brought them with you.”
18. Avoid cash payments: Money gets passed around a lot so it’s highly possible that one could get the virus this way too. Use contactless payment, and if you need to push some buttons to enter your PIN, use your ring finger rather than your index finger or thumb.
C. Arriving home
Remember, no hugs or close greetings yet!
19. Bring the items you bought out of the car: Bring out your personal belongings as well (the ones in the plastic box).
20. Transfer the contents of the plastic box into the other box you prepared by the door: Just the contents — you need to throw away the bag they came in.
21. Remove your shoes and leave them outside your door.
22. Wash your hands thoroughly.
23. Clean the items in the home box one at a time: Place in another container the things you’ve finished cleaning. Then clean the plastic box.
24. Clean the car: Pay close attention to the door handle, steering wheel, gear shift, seat belt. Clean the plastic box, too.
25. Have a sanitation station outside your home: Make soap, alcohol, and disposable paper towels available by the faucet. Again, wash your hands thoroughly.
In addition, we’d like to add that you should avoid touching anything on your way inside the house. Go straight into your bathroom and place the clothes you were wearing inside a resealable bag. These should be washed and disinfected separately. Do not wash them with the other laundry.
Also, remember to take a thorough bath as well.