We already know the basics—wash our hands, cover our mouth when sneezing or coughing, and avoid touching our face. While we should keep those in mind, it's also important to make sure to keep household germs at bay. The goal: To help keep cold, flu, and other infectious diseases from further spreading. And now with school cancelled, travel to and from Metro Manila prohibited (starting March 15), and staying at home imposed, it’s just timely to remind everyone the importance of proper hygiene at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
To help us in our efforts to keep clean and healthy at home, Dr. Winlove P. Mojica, Clinical Associate Professor for Dermatology in the Philippine General Hospital ("Skin Sensei") shares below his tips on protecting our homes even more. (He also highlights some products to rely on, all found in our photo gallery!)
[related:In Focus: What Different Countries Are Doing Right To Prevent COVID-19 Spread]
Avoid sharing personal household items
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discourages sharing of “dishes, drinking glasses, cups, utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home." Another thing Mojica stresses with this: Wash these items thoroughly with soap and water after every use.
Clean, clen, clean—everyday
Mojica states the importance of cleaning surfaces. “Droplets can drop on areas where people usually touch—doorknobs, toilet flush, remote control of TV (and) aircon, handles, handles of cars. You really never know if you don’t cover your mouth and nose.”
High-touch and horizontal surfaces, including personal belongings require frequent cleaning. High touch surfaces include doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, phones, remote controls, tablets, keyboards), while horizontal surfaces include countertops, tabletops, desks, bedside tables).
"Wipe your personal belongings with a cloth that has been dipped in a solution of bleach and water. So, sabihin natin mga ¼ cup of bleach for a gallon of water. And then you can wipe your cellphones, your kids’ toys, keys, and pens," Mojica details.
Meanwhile, he suggests that pet owners should clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids.
Wash your cleaning tools, too!
Dr. Mojica stresses that it’s hard to obtain a “100% germ-free” environment. When it comes to our cleaning tools like mops, rugs, sponges, they all get dirty. He says to disinfect them by using bleach. “Wash these mops and cloths with soap and water, and spray some bleach, rinse, and dry. Ideally you do that every after using that cloth. Kasi for example, buong araw mo na siyang ginagamit, then all the germs, bacteria, viruses are accumulating in that towel."
Practice food safety
“There has been new information that COVID is also found in the gastrointestinal tract, and that’s why diarrhea is also a symptom that we are watching out for,” Dr. Mojica points out. Thus, when handling food, he recommends washing our hands before touching our food.
World Health Organization also reminds using different chopping boards, knives, and other utensils for raw meat and cooked foods. Make sure to cook your food thoroughly and practice proper handling during food preparation, it says. You may also use ionized water like Kurin to remove dirt and unwanted residue on your fruits and vegetables, it adds.
[related: Lifestyle Buzz: List Of Canceled Events Amid The Coronavirus Crisis]
When in doubt, clean again
We all know about double cleansing when it comes to skincare, but cleaning our homes also involves a two-step process, Mojica says. First, clean the surface, and then disinfect with wipes or spray. Use cleaning and disinfecting products to further keep your homes germ-free.
Watch the linens
As soon as we get home, Dr. Mojica advises changing our clothes and taking a bath right away. “Do not repeat your shirts and undergarments. As much as possible, lagay na sa laundry bin para malabhan na kaagad because there is evidence that the virus can stay on clothing for quite some time, even a day meron reports na ganon.”
When washing clothes, he recommends using the warmest laundry settings approved for garments and then letting the items dry completely. Don’t forget to clean and disinfect hampers or laundry bags used for dirty clothes, he adds.
ALSO READ: Hot Stuff: Kumu Releases New Service Where Pinoys Can Hold Virtual Gatherings
Banner image by bongkarn thanyakij via Pexels