This blog is the sixth in an education series about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle while following the Stay-at-Home order. Healthy Living blogs will be released each Wednesday and will be made available at www.perrymemorial.org/healthyliving.
Who loves to clean their home? Not me….. I am sure most people dread having to clean their home. During the past couple months, with many people being required to stay-at-home, there has been ample time to clean, which removes that excuse from your normal list. I have also heard many people describe major deep cleaning projects which they have accomplished during their extra time at home. Other organizational projects were accomplished, making cleaning easier. No matter whether you cleaned, reorganized or procrastinated, one thing remains at the top of everyone’s To Do list: cleaning high touch areas. This step is so important to prevent infection and decrease the transmission rate.
How often is frequently? The goal would be for high touch areas in your home to be cleaned at least daily. You may need to clean more often if you have someone in your home, who doesn’t live there. For example, you need to have your clothes washer repaired so the repair person has to come into your home to make those repairs. If this happens, even though they wear a mask, you will still need to wipe down with a disinfectant wipe, any surface which the repairman touched. This includes doorbells, door knobs, doors, stairwell railings, light switches, clothes washer surfaces, control dials or knobs, and any tools which he may have borrowed from you to use. I recommend for you, or someone from your household, to observe the repair person so you know what was touched, in order to completely wipe down everything after he or she leaves.
Another common example, your child wants to have a friend come over. As restrictions are lightened, groups less than 10 can meet and this is allowable within the state guidelines if you are following all of the guidelines for social distancing and cleaning. It may not be realistic to observe your child’s friend every minute of their visit. I recommend wiping down your home’s high touch surfaces before the guest arrives and after they leave, as this helps to protect everyone involved. If your guests are like mine and are encouraged to make themselves “at home”, this involves a lot of surfaces. These high touch surfaces include doorbells, all door knobs throughout the house, light switches throughout the house, TV remotes, refrigerator door handles, cupboard handles, drawer handles, stair railings, all surfaces in bathrooms, and any toys or electronic devices. Don’t forget your automobile door handles, arm rests and any controls they may have touched if they rode in your vehicle.
If you have younger children or even toddlers, you may want them to bring their own set of toys which will decrease the risk of transmission since they won’t be sharing toys. The social distancing can also be complicated with younger children. Toddlers, pre-schoolers and even younger school-age children won’t be able to understand social distancing. You may need to set up separate play areas for them and put up barricades to prevent them from going to each other’s play areas. After the play visit is over, you will also need to clean all of the toys, in addition to all of the surfaces which may have been touched. Toddlers tend to spend time on the floor, drooling, touching, and crawling. Scrubbing your hardwood or laminate floor or tile will be an extra cleaning step after this visitor leaves.
Also, as we talked about in last week’s Clean Living – Hand Hygiene Blog, everyone should wash their hands before they arrive, several times while they are at your house, and before they leave. Wash your hands! Wash your hands! Wash your hands!