As our country continues to implement measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it can be hard to determine how to best protect yourself when you leave your house.
Social distancing orders are still in place, so you should only be visiting public places for essential trips to the grocery store, the pharmacy, health care facilities for any urgent medical care and going outside to exercise. You should not leave your home at all if you aren’t feeling well or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
So, with all this in mind, how can you best protect yourself the next time you’re out in public? And how can you prevent spreading germs throughout your house when you get home? Here are some of the steps you can take to do both.
Out and About
Wear a cloth face covering
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now asking people to wear cloth face coverings in public settings. This new measure comes after studies show there are many infected individuals in our communities who have no symptoms but can spread the virus to others in close proximity.
It is important to always wear a cloth face covering in public places. Make your own out of common household items. Don’t use surgical masks or N-95 respirators, as these critical supplies need to be saved for health care workers.
Keep your time out to a minimum
Get organized before leaving your house so you don’t have to be out in public for long. For example, if you are heading to the grocery store, make a list ahead of time. This way you can get in and out of the store as quickly as possible and avoid casually shopping.
Also, cut down on the frequency of essential trips throughout your week. If you need to go to the grocery and the pharmacy, do it in one trip and not on separate days. Also, try to stock up a little on needed items so you can stay home for longer periods of time.
Choose off peak hours
To reduce the number of people you are exposed to when leaving the house, go into public when there aren’t a lot of people around. This means trying to take walks and runs outside during times when you will be sharing the sidewalk with fewer people.
Keep your distance
When in public, make sure to always keep a safe distance of at least six feet between yourself and others. Also, when running essential errands, leave the kids at home. This way you will only have to focus on yourself as opposed to worrying about the safety of your children as well.
When possible, avoid touching shared surfaces
Try your best to be cautious and avoid touching shared surfaces. Push doors open with your hips, feet or elbows. Also, press keypads with a knuckle versus a finger. Use automated options whenever they are available, especially in bathrooms. It’s not a bad idea to bring some disinfecting wipes and travel hand sanitizer with you when you go in public.
It is critical that you avoid touching your face, mouth and eyes when in public in case your hands have been contaminated.
Wash your hands
The moment you get home, wash your hands right away. Hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you have been exposed to infected surfaces. Wash them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Stay mindful of your clothing
The CDC currently does not have a stance on the need to change clothes right way when you return home for being out in public. However, taking this precaution promotes general home cleanliness, especially if someone coughed or sneezed around you when you were out.
To be safe, make sure to remove your shoes and leave them by the door when you get home. Also, remove any clothing you were wearing outside and change into a new outfit. Wash the clothes you wore in public in warm water before wearing them again.
Keep your items clean
Clean your phone with a disinfecting wipe right away when you get home. It’s a good idea to clean your keys and any other items you took out with you as well. When out in public, keep items safe by not setting anything on a public counter, a cart or any other surface.
Disinfect your vehicle
As an extra measure against spreading COVID-19 germs, disinfect your vehicle after taking it out. Wipe down your steering wheel and gearshift with a disinfecting wipe. You can also spray disinfectant on your seats and floor.
Stay updated on what Mercy Health is doing related to COVID-19.
Call our 24/7 COVID-19 Hotline at 888-700-9011 for questions and guidance.