Take off your shoes before entering your home.
There may be no dirtier item in your wardrobe than the soles of your shoes. And while odds are still long that you would literally track the COVID-19 virus into your home that way, when you think of people who sneeze on sidewalks, the chances suddenly don’t seem so slim.
“The sole of the shoe is the breeding ground of more bacteria and fungi and viruses than the upper part of a shoe,” emergency physician Cwanza Pinckney, MD, told HuffPost. So just to be safe, don’t wear your shoes inside.
Change your clothes every time you go outside.
After you’ve taken off your shoes, it’s never a bad idea to also change your clothes. If you have an essential job and work in a public space, you may even want to change clothes in your garage or foyer to be safe. Most of you, however, should simply change in your bedroom, tossing your dirty clothes in a hamper away from others. After all, Daniel Kuritzkes, MD, an infectious disease expert at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told NPR that “flat surfaces and hard surfaces are more friendly to viruses than cloth or rough surfaces.”
If you want to play it extra safe, immediately throw your clothes in the washing machine. And for more on how long coronavirus stays in certain places, check out Here’s How Long Coronavirus Stays on Plastic, Cardboard, and More Surfaces.
Take a shower as soon as you get home.
After you take off your clothes, hop in the shower. Anytime you go outside, “the safest course of action is to shower right when you get home,” Joshua Zeichner, MD, a New York-based dermatologist, told PopSugar.
Of course, avoid sitting on the furniture and other surfaces, and touching any household items before washing up. Use hot water and scrub portions of your body that have been exposed extra well. The same 20-second hand-washing rule applies.
Clean under your nails often.
Plenty of dirt, grime, and germs can live under your fingernails. In fact, the CDC recommends that hospital workers don’t keep their nails long or wear artificial nails, because germs can remain under your nails even after you wash your hands.
“It’s harder to get that area truly clean when washing your hands,” Elizabeth Ransom, MD, chief physician executive at Baptist Health in Jacksonville, Florida, told HuffPost. “You have to be pretty diligent cleaning these areas.”
Don’t wear your jewelry outside.
Regularly clean your hand jewelry if you’re wearing it outdoors or, better yet, don’t wear it outside at all. “Removing your rings may lead to better hand hygiene,” Ramon Tallaj, MD, a board-certified physician and chairman of the board of SOMOS Community Care, previously told Best Life. “If the rings are contaminated and you put them back on after washing your hands, you’ve just re-contaminated your hands.” And for more on this, check out Should I Ditch My Jewelry During Coronavirus? Experts Weigh In.
Wipe down your glasses regularly.
If you wear glasses every day, chances are high you’re often touching your face. “When adjusting your glasses, you often inadvertently touch your face and may be tempted to rub your eyes without washing your hands first,” Lucky Sekhon, MD, of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York, previously told Best Life. Plus, “droplets from a person’s sneeze or cough could land on your glasses,” so it’s important to clean them frequently. And for more on what to clean in your home, here are 25 Things You Should Clean Every Day and How to Do It.
Cover your mouth with your elbow.
As the World Health Organization (WHO) notes, it’s imperative to make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
And of course, wash your hands for 20 seconds!
Hot water. Lots of soap. At least 20 seconds. Yes, we know you’ve heard it before. But it’s critical in helping lessen the public health risk from the coronavirus outbreak.