If you're not a frontliner, your biggest contribution to solving the COVID-19 pandemic is to stay home. That could not be stressed enough.
If you're a parent, we bet you don't need much convincing to stay home, knowing how fatal this disease is. But on days when we absolutely need to go out and do errands (and there's a big chance you will come in contact with the virus when you're out), how do we make sure we don't bring the coronavirus home to our spouse and kids?
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.
A. LEAVING HOME
1. Don't wear anything from the elbow down.
Many of us prepare to go out all covered up and dressed like a ninja — which is still a good precaution. But Dr. Griggs says not to put on any arm wear, like a watch 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.
In the Philippines, it is also now mandatory to wear a face mask when going out.
2. Don't bring a wallet or handbag.
The point is to take as few items outside as possible. That said, instead of bringing 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, avoid using your phone while you're out. Discard the resealable plastic or wash it thoroughly when you get home.
4. Put your credit card, ID and cash in a resealable bag, too.
5. Use closed shoes.
Avoid open-toe shoes or sandals. And only wear them as you leave.
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 home.
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 in one go — to buy medicine, buy grocery items, etc — to maximize your trip.
B. WHILE OUT
10. Don't use your phone unnecessarily.
"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, elevator buttons, 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.
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).
For tips on how to sanitize grocery items, click here.
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.
Don't make these common handwashing mistakes.
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. It's good to be a germaphobe these days.
In addition, we'd like to add that you should avoid touching anything on your way inside the house. Go straight into the shower and place the clothes you were wearing inside a resealable bag. These should be washed and disinfected separately.