As the number of Coronavirus infections rises across the globe, the importance of social distancing and practising proper hygiene becomes paramount. Despite doing our best to stay at home during the extended lockdown, South Africans are faced with the issue of meeting basic needs, such as buying food or medicine. So how do we limit our contact with others and contain the spread of the disease when we need to venture outside to the shops every now and then? Here are five ways to get your groceries and prevent COVID-19 from entering your home.
1. Protect Yourself While You Shop
Your first line of defence when you leave home to do your grocery shopping is to wash your hands. Wear a cloth mask and stay between one and two metres away from others (when possible) once you get to the store.
Disinfect your trolley or basket with sanitiser or disinfecting wipes, and avoid touching your face. Remember to sanitise your hands again when you leave and before you touch your car or house keys.
2. Sanitise Your Groceries When You Get Home
Now that you’ve done your best to avoid picking up any germs while you were out, it’s crucial to ensure that your groceries don’t bring anything into your home. According to UNICEF, there is no evidence so far of people catching the COVID-19 virus from food or food packaging. However, it is possible to get infected by touching a surface or object contaminated by the virus and then touching your face.
Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen shared this video where he explains exactly how to deal with food packaging that may be contaminated.
“Imagine that the groceries you have are covered with glitter and your goal at the end of this is to not have any glitter in your house, on your hands, or especially on your face,” he explains.
Some of his tips include:
- Removing unnecessary packaging and disposing of it in a bin outside your home
- Removing food items from containers and placing them on clean plates
- Wiping packaging with disinfectant before packing it away
- Washing fruit and vegetables thoroughly
- Washing your hands with soap and water immediately after handling groceries
Dr. VanWingen has since released a second video where he gives his tips again, taking into consideration the developing information released daily about the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m not perfect and you’re not perfect,” he says. “Just do the best you can and arm yourself with knowledge and a plan when you go out grocery shopping.”
3. Regularly Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces
Another way to prevent COVID-19 from entering your home is to regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces. These areas include door handles, tables, counters, keyboards, remotes, toys, handrails, chairs, or kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
Soap and water work well for most things but if you’re particularly worried, a disinfectant with alcohol or bleach should do the trick. Read the instructions before use if you’re at all unsure, and wear gloves. It’s also a good idea to make sure there is sufficient ventilation in the room.
4. Have A Separate Pair Of Shoes Handy
Because going outside is unavoidable, try and keep a separate pair of shoes for wearing on your trips for food or medical supplies. Think about storing them in a certain place, too, such as near the front door or in the garage.
5. Keep Pets Safe
At this time there is no evidence to suggest that pets can contract or spread the disease. However, because our knowledge of the virus is constantly developing, it’s a good idea to practise caution and keep our pets (and ourselves) safe.
As such, limit the contact your pets have with others and keep them in good health. For your own safety, make sure that you wash your hands after every interaction with your pet.
As Dr. VanWingen says, “in a time when our world is turned upside down on the frontside of a pandemic, we’re going to be accused of doing too much, but on the backside, we’ll often be accused of not doing enough.”
Compiled by Food and Decor Editor, Claire Badenhorst