How to clean your home to curb spread of Coronavirus & other infections

Coronavirus

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world, it’s a good time to understand how cleaning can help prevent the spread of disease and what you can do to cut the risk of infection in your home.

Coronavirus is mainly transmitted from person to person via tiny droplets of saliva or other bodily fluids that float in the air after a cough or sneeze.

Contaminated objects and surfaces can also be important in the transmission of disease. It’s not entirely clear what role they play in transmitting the new coronavirus, but they play an important one for related viruses such as SARS and MERS.

May also be important in the transmission of the virus, although their role is still not entirely clear. However, it makes sense that something contaminated with the virus could pass it on, for example if a person touches it and then touches their nose, mouth or face.

So, if someone at risk of having the virus has been in your home, cleaning to reduce the amount of contamination on surfaces may help cut down your risk of further transmission of coronavirus. (It will also cut the risk of transmitting other pathogens.)

What’s the difference between cleaning and disinfection?

There’s a useful to distinction to make between cleaning and disinfection.

Cleaning means physically removing organic matter such as germs and dirt from surfaces. Disinfection means using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces.

Cleaning is very important, because organic matter may inhibit or reduce the disinfectant’s ability to kill germs.

Read more: Can coronavirus spread through food? Can anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen make it worse? Coronavirus claims checked by experts

How long will coronavirus survive in my house?

We are not exactly sure how long this coronavirus will survive on surfaces. If it is similar to other coronaviruses, it could survive a few hours – potentially up to several days. How long it survives could depend on temperature, humidity and what the surface is made of.

What could be contaminated in my house?

It’s hard to say exactly. When someone coughs or sneezes, especially if they don’t cover their mouth, it is likely surfaces close to them will be contaminated.

Hands are often responsible for transferring pathogens from one place to another, so items that people often touch are at greatest risk of being contaminated.

Frequently touched items may include TV remotes, fridge doors, kitchen cupboards, kitchen surfaces, taps and door handles. And of course, there are devices such as phones and iPads – but these may not be shared or touched by others frequently.

What should I use to clean and how?

The coronavirus is a delicate structure and it is vulnerable in the environment. Both heat and detergents, including soap, can stop it functioning.

Contaminated surfaces

If a surface becomes contaminated or you think it could be, cleaning it with a common household disinfectant will kill the virus. Remember to wash your hands after cleaning (or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser) and avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose.

There are many options for what to use to clean, including paper towels, cloths or disposable wipes.

The S-shaped pattern for cleaning a surface without re-contaminating parts of it. Brett Mitchell, Author provided

How you clean is important. You don’t want to “recontaminate” surfaces while cleaning. Working from one side of a surface to the other helps with this, using an “S” shape to clean.

If you are reusing a cloth, remember to wash it afterwards and let it dry. Laundering cloths in the washing machine with normal washing liquid is also likely to kill the virus, particularly on a hot wash.

Dishes and cutlery

Washing with hot water and detergent is fine for dishes and cutlery. A dishwasher is even better, because it can use hotter water than your hands will tolerate.

Clothing and linen

Use the warmest setting possible to wash contaminated laundry and make sure you allow it to dry completely. You may not want to ruin clothing or other materials, so always look at the manufacturer’s instructions.

Laundry from someone who is sick can be washed with other people’s items. If you are handling contaminated items such as towel or sheets, avoid shaking them before washing, to reduce the risk of contaminating other surfaces.

And remember to wash your hands immediately after touching any contaminated laundry.

Prevention is best

Remember that surfaces play a role in transmitting pathogens, so preventing them from becoming contaminated in the first place is as important as cleaning. There are some things you can do to reduce the amount of contamination of surfaces in your house:

– cover your cough and sneezes, ideally with a tissue but otherwise into your elbow, and wash your hands immediately

– wash your hands often, especially after going to the bathroom and before eating.

Read more: What is a virus? How do they spread? How do they make us sick?

What do I do if someone in my home is sick?

It may be wise to think about which room in your home could be used to care for a sick member of your family. If possible, the ideal room is one that that is separate from other parts of your home and has a separate bathroom.

Cleaning this room when someone is sick also requires some thought.

For more information go to www.sacoronavirus.co.za, or call the national helpline 0800 029 999 or WhatsApp 060 012 3456.

Brett Mitchell, Professor of Nursing, University of Newcastle.This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Actually, Home Food and Travel offers a lot more than just reviews of accommodation, restaurants, spas and adventure activities.  We also visit great destinations, receive advice from interior designers and stop to smell the roses and taste the coffee.

Our team of journalists are seasoned travels and love visiting the myriad of exciting places around South Africa.  Whether it is off the beaten track or in the heart of the top attractions of the country, we’ll be there,

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So what is the right accommodation?  Well more often than not, it’s your travel budget that dictates the type of accommodation that you choose. 

Expensive is not always better.  Our team at Home Food and Travel will tell you that they have camped in areas with limited ablutions and had a wonderful holiday.  They have also spent a night in a five star hotel only to be disappointed because their expectations exceeded the experience.

The reason for your travels will also affect your choice.  A business trip requires different amenities to a beach holiday. 

Our articles, reviews and experiences can certainly help you make your decision.

Restaurants with a good mix of service, food and ambiance

To my mind a great restaurant offers three things – excellent service, great food and a wonderful ambiance.  Of these, service is the most important. 

No matter that the food is delicious and the setting delightful, poor service can ruin the occasion.  However, great service combined with mediocre meal and a plane jane restaurant can still be a pleasant night out.

We’ve eaten in restaurants that are really dirty but with incredible food and couldn’t help but give a rave review.  We’ve also hardly noticed what we ate because the setting was just amazing.

However, the best restaurants come with the best of service, food and ambiance.

Spas are the ultimate relaxation aid

How do you know when you have had a great spa experience?  The answer, of course, is when you doze off on the treatment table. 

Well that’s our theory anyway.  It also doesn’t take a grand location with enormous facilities for a spa to be really good

A small, personal spa that is owner run can result in the best massage you have ever experienced.  However, the grand spas in five star hotels offer unsurpassed facilities in an environment that just makes the stress in your shoulders and neck melt away before you even finish checking in.

Adventure!

You don’t have to be an adrenaline junky to enjoy an exciting experience.  In fact, what are commonly termed adventure activities usually have incredibly high safety standards and unblemished safety records.

Ziplining, bungy jumping and shark cage diving are all very safe.  It’s just that our mind tells us we are craaazzzzyyyy to be doing this.

On the road to great places of accommodation, restaurants, spas and adventure activities

If you’re driving, be safe and make use of all the wonderful farm stalls that populate South Africa’s open roads.

If you overhear somebody asking a lot of questions or see someone taking photos of empty bedrooms chances are it’s one of our Home Food and Travel team members.

We’re out looking or those great places of accommodation, restaurants, spas and adventure activities.

See you on the road!

 

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