COVID-19 isolation contagion minimising practices
Updated: Sep 29, 2020
We are all aware of the real and present threat to our health the novel coronavirus presents - as we here in Australia prepare to follow New Zealand and many northern hemisphere countries into lockdown I am offering some basic strategies and protocols designed to help you minimise contagion if you need to leave your home and then return. I don't have any special or 'magic' information, but I do understand a good deal about standard hospital care practices and how to genuinely minimise your risk of contagion. Come along for a short list of helpful tips Gentle Reader.
Remember with COVID-19 we may be sick and not realise it - and we need to think of the vulnerable around us. If you live with a vulnerable person these tips are essential, and can help stop the spread of contagion if you are quarantined with a sick person in your home.
Leave your shoes outside. Have slippers or house shoes just inside the door so your feet don't get cold, but all shoes that have touched the outside world no longer belong inside. No exceptions.
All your clothes go straight into the washing machine (except for underwear and socks - unless you are wearing low-slung or revealing clothing and your base layers have been exposed to the air). Do not use a cold wash. If you cannot wash immediately, put your clothes into a plastic bag and seal it closed until you can wash them. The virus is estimated to live on clothing for at least 12 hours, so you can see why immediate washing is necessary. Undress at the back door in needed, and keep a stash of larger plastic bags for your clothes in the laundry or by the back door if you have privacy to undress the outer layer before entering the house. No exceptions.
Carry hand sanitiser and use it when you are outside! Hand sanitiser should be used regularly when outside - for example doctors surgeries and food shops.
Try not to touch surfaces outside. COVID-19 lives for at least 3 days (and possibly more) on plastic and metal alike, so use gloves or carry a small microfibre cloth or disposable gloves with you to use as a barrier. We are used to touching some things without thinking - doorknobs and entry points, petrol pumps, etc. Try to be as vigilant as possible.
Sterile clean all surfaces regularly - especially those in high use. HAND SANITISER IS NOT ENOUGH AS IT DOES NOT REMOVE GERMS FROM SURFACES! Doorknobs and light switches should be cleaned daily - or after every time someone who is sick enters the room. If you need to share a bathroom sterile clean everything after the sick person has used the toilet and/or sink. Bleach, a base cleaner of methylated spirits, or a eucalyptus cleaner will all be effective. If you have white vinegar and bicarb you will get the same grade of cleaning as bleach, so you can use these too if you need to. Wash all cleaning cloths immediately.
Do not share. Even when everyone seems to be well, do not share anything, including immediate space if at all practicable. In fact, don't share anything. Use your own glasses, cups, plates, makeup - everything.
Maintain physical distance. This means even when you are sharing a home it is good hygiene practice to keep a distance from each other if practicable. Easier for housemates and harder for partners/spouses/children, but if one person is diagnosed positive for the coronavirus they must remain in a room away from everyone else and have ZERO PHYSICAL CONTACT OR PROXIMITY WITH ANYONE ELSE. If assistance is needed to get to the toilet or the doctor you may need to physically support them. Mask up if possible and follow the laundry protocol upon your return to the home.
Wash your hands. I leave this til late in the list because we are all exhorted to do this anyway, but it is incredibly important. At least 20 seconds with soap and water while rubbing your hands together is the recommended minimum, however if you are in contact with someone unexpectedly, or you have touched a public surface with a good deal of exposure to the hands of others, then do a three-minute surgical scrub. Begin with vigorous washing of the fingers from the nails back to the palm and back of the hands, then wrists, and up to the elbows if necessary. I carry a small face washer for drying my hands so I am not using other people's towels or relying on air dryers (which are not generally sterile anyway). Drying your hands boosts the efficacy of the wash, and if you are not sure why you cannot simply dry your hands on your clothes please see point 2.
Stay safe and stay home. Don't go out and risk your health or the health of others.
If you show signs of illness get tested and quarantine yourself. For most people who contract the virus the symptoms will be mild, however the contagion rate is high, and this is why we need to by hyper-vigilant about hygiene and extra-cautious.
I am working from home, exclusively online, so if you would like to talk about any fears, anxiety, stress, or worry around COVID-19 please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment. In addition to private individual clients, I am available for both individuals and groups if there is a frontline health team concerned about the stresses of the job and the risk exposures with the coronavirus - workplace EFT and psychotherapy sessions are currently available at discount rates. Please email me at email@example.com for further details.
Let's talk. At a safe distance