Everyone should always be practicing appropriate safety measures when it comes to keeping you, your friends, family and strangers in public safe and free from illness, but this has definitely heightened during COVID-19. Most of us have become pretty accustomed to the new safety measures put in place to prevent the spread of viruses, but if you are still wondering what exactly you should have on hand in your medical storage and what you should be using to keep yourself and others safe, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Many stores are running out of hand sanitizer because they are being purchased in troves by consumers. The CDC recommends washing your hands with plain soap and water for at least 20 seconds to keep your hands clean and free from germs and bacteria. If you are unable to get to a sink or don’t have access to soap, you may want to have a hand sanitizer handy to use instead.
When stocking up on hand sanitizer, it is recommended to keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol in your medical storage. This is because it takes that percentage to kill all of the COVID-19 germs. You will want to check the label on your sanitizer before purchasing to be sure that it is not alcohol-free and contains at least 60 percent ethanol or isopropanol.
Businesses, companies and facilities are not requiring their employees and customers to wear masks. This is to appropriately stop the spread of germs from your mouth or nose. The most effective type of mask is N95, which is the highest level of protection. Directly after that is a surgical grade mask. While these are both incredibly effective for preventing the spread of COVID-19, they are also in limited supply. Beyond that, they contribute to landfill waste. These masks should be reserved for healthcare workers and those at high risk.
If you are needing a mask, but aren’t sure what you should be looking for or how to create one that is particularly effective, you should be sure that the mask is proper fitting, meaning that there are no large gaps around the outside of the mask because that can enable saliva to escape during a cough or sneeze. There is still a lot of research emerging around the effectiveness of cloth masks, but the CDC suggests that any coverage is better than none. There are plenty of tutorials on how to create a sturdy face mask at home with fabric that you can follow to be sure that you are protecting yourself and others in public!
It is important to keep your own personal space clean and disinfected, but if you are in charge of a public area that has foot traffic and many touch points from people, it is extra critical that you properly disinfect all of the surfaces that could be contacted. Your effective cleaning products should be a part of your medical storage. When disinfecting, you always want to wear disposable gloves. These gloves should never be reused and immediately thrown away after use.
If you are cleaning hard, non-porous surfaces you should clean the area of debris with soap and water prior to disinfection. After cleaning the dirt off the surface, you should then go in with an EPA-approved disinfectant. You may also use a bleach solution consisting of 5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of room temperature water. For soft, porous surfaces, you should launder the items per the manufacturer’s instructions, usually in the warmest appropriate setting.
Electronics are something that many forget to disinfect, but are so important because of how often they are touched. You should check the manufacturer’s instructions for disinfecting products and should consider using wipeable covers for electronics. You should also consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70 percent alcohol. Be sure to let surfaces dry completely.
Making sure that your space and public spaces are fully cleaned and disinfected is critical in preventing the spread of viruses and COVID-19. It is important to have a vast knowledge of what practices work best in preventing the spread of germs and illness. Be sure that you are doing your part in protecting yourself and others during this pandemic time.
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