With most of the country re-opening after COVID-19, there have been questions about proper hygiene and disinfecting personal products and public spaces.
Aleya Byrd, RN, an infection preventionist at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s Hospital, said the virus that causes COVID-19 is believed to be easily killed through everyday cleaning and disinfection products, like Clorox® or Lysol® wipes. As an infection preventionist, Byrd makes sure that health care workers and patients take the right precautions to prevent infections at Baptist Health.
“There’s a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning is simply removing anything you can visibly see, such as crumbs or a coffee ring. Disinfecting requires using a product to kill germs. These products have a ‘wet’ or ‘contact’ time, which is the time it takes to kill germs. The surface needs to be visibly wet for the set period of time to kill the germs,” said Byrd.
What should your own personal hygiene and disinfecting look like to help limit the spread of COVID-19 after going to work, leaving the grocery store, working out at the gym, or dining at a restaurant?
The simple answer is all based on personal comfort, and how you have interacted when you are out. However, you can decrease your risk greatly with proper hand hygiene.
At the gym
- Take your own water bottle.
- Clean and disinfect the weights and equipment prior to and after your use.
- Use your own towel.
- Wash your hands after using the equipment.
At the grocery store
- Disinfect your shopping cart.
- Practice social distancing.
- Wear a mask.
- Rinse fruit and vegetables once you return home.
- Clean and disinfect your countertops after placing grocery bags on them.
- Perform hand hygiene after leaving the store.
Here are some other reminders to practice self-hygiene and disinfection to limit the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands regularly especially before you eat, after coming in contact with high-touch points and surfaces that are touched frequently throughout the day, such as: door handles, tables, toilet handles, electronic devices (laptop, mouse, keyboard, TV remote, cell phone) and light switches.
- Wear a face covering. Place your mask in a paper bag to limit the exposure to outside elements and the number of times you touch the mask. Wash your face covering after each use, and make sure it is completely dry before re-using. If you notice the structure of the mask is deteriorating, it is time for a new mask.
- Continue social distancing practices.
- Disinfect surfaces that people frequently touch, such as countertops and door handles
- Keep your fingernails short and natural. Germs are tough to get rid of in cracks or on rugged edges of chipped nail polish.
- Clean your cell phone. It goes everywhere with you.
- Take your shoes off at the door when you arrive home. There may be bacteria or viruses on the soles of your shoes that you don’t want to bring inside your home.
- Wash your clothes on a regular basis.
- Shower and wash your hair regularly.
At Baptist Health, we want to help keep you and your family informed about COVID-19. We’re coordinating with the health department and following CDC guidelines to ensure the health and safety of our community. For more information, visit baptistjax.com/covid19.