Since the appearance of COVID-19, we’re more aware of the importance of hygiene and preventing the spread of germs and bacteria. We all know that hand washing and covering our mouths and noses when we cough or sneeze is key. But what else can you do to protect yourself and your family from viruses and bacteria?
Below we list a few handy tips and tricks to help you keep safe.
Get your five a day
A healthy, functioning immune system identifies and neutralises any invading pathogens, such as viruses. This is why it’s so important to look after our immune system. By feeding ourselves healthy, vitamin-filled fresh fruits and vegetables, and by cutting down or eliminating unhealthy, sugary, processed foods, you can help to prevent your immune system from being compromised. If your body takes in enough of the good stuff, it will be able to defend itself better against bacteria and viruses that try to attack it.
Deep clean your home
Another great thing you can do to help stop the spread of germs and bacteria is to deep clean your home. Many people swear by doing a regular deep clean once every month or two – but in today’s world, you should definitely aim to do this as often as possible.
Ensure you’re equipped with the right cleaning products
Good old soap and water are actually two of the most effective options for cleaning the surfaces in your home, as well as your hands. This is because COVID-19 is made up of proteins and fats. Detergents like soap and even washing-up liquid work by dissolving the fats of the virus, which inactivates it and stops it from binding to our cells.
The alcohol in hand sanitiser works in a similar way, so if you manage to get your hands on any, ensure that it has at least 60% alcohol.
The following products can also be effective for deep cleaning your home:
- Diluted household bleach solutions (hydrogen peroxide or sodium hypochlorite)
- Alcohol solutions (with at least 70% alcohol)
- Some anti-viral household disinfectants
If you are buying disinfectant, check the product information to make sure it says that it combats viruses, including influenza and human coronaviruses – a good example is Dettol surface cleaner.
Find potential hot-spots for germs in your home
Studies on other forms of coronaviruses like SARS and MERS have shown that germs can stay on surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for days.
To help get rid of any lingering germs, focus on the frequently touched areas of your home that could enable pathogens to spread. These include:
- Door handles (for both inside and outside doors)
- Light switches
- Mobiles and home phones
- Appliance handles and dials – e.g. kettle handle, fridge door, oven and microwave dials
- TV remotes
- Shared computer equipment such as a keyboard or mouse
- Toilet and tap handles
- Food prep areas
- Bathroom surfaces
Handling deliveries, food and your shopping
Postal workers and couriers have been briefed on minimising contact during deliveries and are taking precautions with handling packages. But to be on the safe side, you should always dispose of packaging straightaway and wash your hands afterwards.
What about your food shopping? Well, despite a recent laboratory study showing that the virus could be detected in an infectious form for up to 24hrs on cardboard, and 2-3 days on plastics, the Food Standards Authority says it is very unlikely that people could catch COVID-19 from food.
Whilst the virus isn’t known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging, our advice is to take care and to wash your hands before preparing food, and thoroughly rinse fruit and veg before eating it.
Wash clothes with suitable germ-killing disinfectants
To kill germs, you need to use a disinfectant-based laundry detergent – laundry powders that contain a bleaching agent are particularly suitable. Biological powders generally have more bleaching agents than non-biological ones.
Make sure you wash reusable cloths and tea towels at 60 degrees or more between uses and change them frequently.
You can also put washing-up sponges on a hot cycle in the dishwasher.
Peace of mind
If you’ve followed all the tips above, you’ll have done just about everything you can to kill germs and viruses. So as well as having a sparkly clean home, we hope you’ll have peace of mind that you’ve completed tasks that will help you stay safe during these difficult times.
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