With many communities reopening, it's important that you know how to continue to stay safe from the coronavirus. Whether you're planning to venture back outside or you prefer to continue to shelter in place, there are some steps you need to take to reduce your exposure to COVID19 and to lower the chances that you will spread it to someone else. Regardless of how much of a threat you think this virus is, keeping yourself, your home, and your technology sanitized helps everyone out. To help you out, I've put together this handy reopening toolkit to help you.
1. Wash Your Hands and Keep Them Moisturized. The most important step to lower your risk to COVID19 is to wash your hands. Do this after you cough or sneeze, use the restroom (public or private), when you're leaving one place to another. Regular soap and water will do as long as you perform the 20-second wash (remember the whole bit on social media of saying your ABCs while washing your hands?) If you don't want to spend your time searching out soap, hand sanitizer will do in a pinch. Keep in mind that using soap and water is much easier on your hands. You should probably moisturize your hands once in a while as well, to keep them from getting dry and brittle.
2. Wear a Mask or Not ... Your Choice. The CDC recommends that you wear a mask when you're out and about. Not everyone will like this advice, but it's not about keeping you safe, it's about keeping others who at a higher risk safe from the virus. If you don't want to wear a mask, make sure you at least practice good social distancing when in public places.
3. Clean and Disinfect Your Keys and Credit Cards. Did you know 1 in every 12 bank cards and one in seven-dollar bills are contaminated with germs? This goes for your car keys as well. Well, it doesn't do you any good if you are washing your hands but not disinfecting items you will carry with you and use when you are out and about. You could wipe your keys and credit cards with disinfecting wipe after each use and wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer after handling money. You could also consider purchasing Phone Soap (www.phonesoap.com). If you follow my blog, hopefully, you know about this wonderful device that uses UV Rays to thoroughly disinfect those items like smartphones as well as keys credit cards and money. To further minimize your risks, when making purchases while you are out, you should consider using retailers that have a no-cash policy and that are using contactless pay systems such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Square wireless payment systems.
4. Clean and Disinfect Your Home's High-Touch Surfaces. It's important you understand that cleaning and disinfecting are two separate things. Cleaning means you removing dirt and grime from surfaces. Disinfecting is the act of killing germs and viruses. Researchers have discovered the coronavirus can live on surfaces like plastic and stainless steel for up to three days, so it's important that you are cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in your home at least once a day. Everyone's house is a little different, so think about the surfaces you touch the most. Not sure what surfaces are considered high touch, here's a list:
Kitchen and bathroom counters
Toilet seats and handles
Kitchen and bathroom faucet knobs
Now you know what to target, you have several options. You can use Clorox bleach wipes (if you can find them) to properly disinfect and I'm a green guy, so I will always recommend eco-friendly products like Pure and Clean's Surface cleaner (www.pureandclean.us) Pure and Clean doesn't use harsh chemicals to make sure your home is disinfected. If you prefer making your own solution, you can mix 50% water with 50% of a solution of 70% Isopropyl Alcohol. To properly disinfect your household, make sure you let your cleaning solution sit on surfaces for a least three minutes.
5. Don't Forget to Clean and Disinfect Your Tech Devices. Tech devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, remotes, keyboards, mice, and portable gaming systems are high-touch items. Unlike your high home items, you can't use bleach or vinegar on these items as they can ruin the device. Instead, you want to stick with the eco-friendly Pure and Clean Surface Cleaner or your homemade solution of water and rubbing alcohol. When you clean your tech items, always use a microfiber cloth to avoid leaving scratches on your tech toys and like your household items, let the cleaning solution sit on your device for at least 3 minutes so they are properly disinfected. If you want an easy way to clean all of those gadgets at once consider purchasing Home Soap. From the makers of Phone Soap, this device is large enough to hold smaller laptops, tablets, phones, remotes, and more allowing you to disinfect all of those tech items at once. Also, to keep the germs off your smartphone, consider purchasing the Tech21 Anti-Microbial Case (www.tech21.com) This case promises to reduce the number of germs and microbes that grow on your phone.
6. Consider Enabling 'Contract Tracing' on Your Smartphone and Tablet. Keep in mind that a virus doesn't spread itself, people spread a virus which is why Apple and Android have teamed up to develop Exposure Notification. This technology combined with specific apps, will help the authorities notify you if you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus. You also have the option to able to update your status if you test positive. The whole process is supposed to be completely anonymous, but there have been concerns about the amount of information that will be shared with Apple, Android, and the government if you use this feature. Only 3 states have signed on board for this service, but it's my recommendation that it becomes available in your area and you find yourself venturing out more and more, that you enable this feature on your smartphone and tablet.
I know there's a lot going on right now and it can be scary and stressful. It's hard to know what you should do to keep you and your family safe. Hopefully, this guide will help answer some of the questions you may have about your city reopening and how to properly keep you and your stuff disinfected.
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