As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising people to be prepared for the possibility of an outbreak where they live.
With hundreds of thousands of confirmed cases in the U.S., the CDC recommends that Americans take measures to minimize the chances of contracting and spreading the disease in their homes and communities. While it’s important to remain calm, it is the right time to consider how you can improve cleaning patterns to help protect your home and family.
How to Clean Your Home to Prevent Coronavirus Spread
Generally, the tactics for preventing the spread of the virus are similar to preventing any cold or flu. You should frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water and disinfect your home as often as possible. If you’re sick, cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
If you are outside your home and unable to wash your hands with soap and water, be sure to carry hand sanitizer with you at all times.
In addition to this, we should consider other preventative measures, and look to local and national health departments for further guidance or changes in effect.
Disinfect Surfaces in Your Home Frequently
The coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets, which means that the virus “may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials,” according to the CDC.
As with other viruses, most household cleansers, like alcohol, bleach or disinfectant wipes are believed to stop the virus in its tracks. You can also simply wipe down your countertops and tables with soap and water.
If someone is sick in your home, plan on cleaning surfaces that get touched often, such as doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, and kitchen countertops. These need to be disinfected at least several times per day.
Properly Wash Laundry
Modern technology can help do the disinfecting for you through powerful cleaning.
If you’re already shopping for appliances, take a look at the list of household appliances cited by the NSF (formerly the National Sanitation Foundation). The group has certified dozens of germ-fighting appliances, including dryers, dishwashers, and washing machines.
If you won’t be upgrading your washing machine, don’t fret, you can still wash clothes properly by washing on the warmest setting and letting them dry completely. Since the virus can be spread through the air, do not shake out your dirty laundry. Also, consider washing the bag you keep your laundry in after each laundry day.
Add Humidity to the Air in Your Home
Some scientists believe an increase in humidity can make it harder for viruses to thrive and multiply, and using a humidifier can help create this inhospitable environment for the flu.
But be careful—as humidifiers can also breed bacteria. Individual units must be cleaned regularly, and a whole house system will need to be serviced yearly—preferably when it’s deactivated in the warmer months.
How to Prepare For a 14-Day Quarantine
While it’s not necessary to stockpile for the end of days, you can be mindful of what you currently have in your home to ensure you don’t run out of what you need if you’re at home and sick for a while.
It is recommended that you maintain a 14-day supply of the following:
- Stock up on the types of foods you consume when sick, such as chicken or vegetable broth and plain crackers.
- Water and hydrating drinks are critical. Keep water or healthy hydrating drinks on-hand for adults and children.
- Add enough nonperishable foods to your pantry to last a couple of weeks. Meat products, fish or beans, soups, broths and stews, fruits and fruit juices, vegetables, canned (or powdered) milk are good choices to stock up on.
- Frozen foods are a good option, as well.
- Other recommended foods are peanut butter, jelly, nuts, trail mix, dried fruits, and granola bars. You can also keep your spice rack stocked with salt and pepper for cooking.
- Don’t forget to stock up on special foods for babies, family members on specialized diets and pets!
Make sure you have toothpaste, toilet paper, feminine supplies, diapers, wipes, laundry detergent and disinfectant on hand.
If you take daily medications, ensure that you have enough to last a couple of weeks. Go to your pharmacy or talk to your doctor about what and how much you need.
First aid kit
It’s important to have a first aid kit at the ready. FEMA and the American Red Cross recommend that it contain gauze bandages, antibacterial cream, antiseptic wipes, and non-latex gloves.
Stay Informed and Access Local & National Resources
As outbreak continue to reach communities, be sure to pay attention to directions from local health authorities, as they will provide updated guidance on how to avoid getting sick and how to get tested.
In the meantime, stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 developments by visiting CDC.gov.