Best practices for safe shopping, delivery and takeout in the age of coronavirus
Health and Wellness
Is it just me?
Or is getting groceries a lot more stressful than it used to be?
Whether you're shopping for yourself, a loved one or using some kind of delivery service, there's this lingering fear that coronavirus might be hitching a ride on the things you buy.
Since I'm not in any of the high risk groups for the virus, I'm more concerned with unknowingly spreading it myself than I am with contracting it.
However, I've also been doing some grocery shopping for my 92 year old Grandpa and I really don't want to take any chances with him.
So today I'm going to take a look at what the official guidelines are on this stuff, get some advice from experts and ultimately let you know what you should be doing, what you shouldn't be doing and what you could be doing.
Let's get into it.
To figure out the best ways to protect ourselves and each other from corona virus, it's important to understand how the virus spreads in the first place.
We know the most predominant way that this virus spreads by large and medium sized droplets.
That someone who is infected as expelling from their mouth when they speak, cough or sneeze.
And those usually go out about six feet and drop to the ground.
Probably the second most important way it can spread is by inanimate objects.
The FDA and the CDC make the statement that there's no evidence that this is a foodborne disease, but it's very difficult to prove a negative When I hear there's no evidence that this is very different than to say, you can't do that.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the Coronavirus virus can survive on different surfaces for different lengths of time.
on cardboard, it can survive up to 24 hours on plastic and metal it can survive up to 72 hours.
So if you've got non perishable delivery or food items and you're wondering if they're safe to handle.
Consider letting them sit for a few days.
If it's cardboard or paper packaging, it should be corona virus free after just one day.
And if it's plastic or metal, it should be corona virus free after about three days.
But the temperature it's stored at can make a difference.
These type of virus, Process survive longer under colder temperatures are supposed to ambient temperatures however I mean this doesn't mean that we should not be using our refrigerator or freezer.
Refrigeration is very important to prevent the risk of material Urea for me non food.
Also these Corona virus is not expected to survive in stomach acid.
If you need to handle items that you think the virus could be living on and aren't able to wait.
You could always wash your hands after handling them.
Now, even if Corona virus is on these items, that virus still needs a ride to your face in order to infect you.
So if you sanitize your hands with 20 seconds of thorough hand washing after touching these items, and before eating or touching your face, you should be protected.
It's also good practice to clean any high touch surfaces nearby like the doorknob, refrigerator handle or cabinets you may have touched while putting groceries away.
When shopping for myself, I'll probably focus on hand washing well and hand washing often.
But when I'm shopping for my 92 year old grandfather, I want to make extra certain I'm not bringing the virus into his home.
So for folks out there looking to go the extra mile, there are some more options available to you.
If you've thought about disinfecting your groceries before you've probably seen this video from doctor Jeffrey Vanwingen.
Which is a massive millions of views.
He outlines a lot of different ways to sanitize groceries, including letting non perishables sit for a few days removing unnecessary external packaging that could be contaminated like cereal boxes and.
Cleaning non porous surfaces like plastic or metal.
If you're wondering if that cleaner you use is capable of killing the coronavirus.
The EPA has put out a complete list of cleaners that's 25 pages long and a word of warning to those seeking to disinfect.
Do not mix cleaners.
The wrong combination can create literal poison gas.
Always clean in a well ventilated area and read all warning labels before cleaning.
But what about food items without easy to clean packaging like produce Dr. Jeff van way and let me know that since his video was published, he'd received word that washing produce with soap is not recommended, and that a rinse with cold water is still the best way to go de career advice is precisely not to use.
So for other surgeons or sanitizers To wash products because these products can be absorbed into produce and cause health problems, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, the guidance from USDA is to rinse produce you seen call running water only.
And it is a fun surface you can scrub it also on the coal or running water.
There's no, no salt involved.>> Another thing to keep in mind is that normal cooking temperatures should kill the Coronavirus.
The USDA generally recommends heating to an internal temperature of 165 degrees as a baseline for food safety, but it varies depending on what you're cooking.
So now that you know how to handle your groceries when they're in your home, what's the safest way to actually get them there?.
They're for people in high risk groups like the elderly and immunocompromised.
delivery is best, since it minimizes the number of people and surfaces you're interacting with.
If you can have the delivery person, drop the goods off on your doorstep and tip them digitally or through an app that's even better.
And please do tip your delivery people.
If you can.
Remember, they're putting themselves at risk to get this stuff delivered to you.
That being said, not everyone can afford or arrange delivery for themselves.
If you have to go out for supplies, there are many other precautions you can take to prevent the spread of this virus.
An important thing to keep in mind when you go out is that you can carry and spread Corona Virus without symptoms.
The director of the CDC has said that an estimated 25% of coronavirus carriers in the US don't show symptoms.
So even if you feel 100% you should treat your own germs with the same seriousness as you would treat somebody else's.
So what does that look like when you're shopping You want to minimize your time in the store and minimize how often you go shopping.
Try to shop every week or two weeks instead of every few days.
Wipe down your cart if your local stores aren't all ready wiping carts for you, plan ahead and only touch items you intend to buy so that you aren't leaving your germs laying around.
To possibly spread to the next person.
Your cell phone is a great place for germs to get from your face to your hands to the outside world and back again.
So if you have your shopping list on your cell phone, you may want to consider switching to a paper list that you can throw out.
When you're done, self checkout is preferable to having a store employees scan a bag or groceries because it's one less person touching your stuff.
And if you use a contactless payment method like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google pay, that means you don't have to touch that pin pad everybody else has been touching.
If you're wondering about reusable versus disposable bags, the grocery store employees in my neighborhood aren't touching anybody's reusable bags because they could be carrying their [UNKNOWN] from home.
Now that's not a problem for me since I wanna pack my own bags anyway.
But if you want your bags packed by a professional, it's something to keep in mind.
In these times it's good practice to sanitize reusable bags either by letting them sit for a few days before your next trip to the store, or by spraying or wiping them down with disinfectant.
Cloth bags can also be sanitized in the washing machine with laundry detergent.
What about those masking gloves people have been wearing?
Does that really offer any protection?
Gloves aren't gonna help very much because they're gonna get contaminated right away.
You pick up one package and then another package and another package, you might as well just have your hands on.
I think gloves, generally speaking, give a false sense of security.
And they really aren't offering much protection, if any.
The mask is a more debatable area.
Where there's no debate is if someone's got COVID, having a mask on is going to decrease the opportunity for that person to spread it to someone who doesn't, but if we're talking about people who are well Wearing a mask, when you go out may offer a little bit of protection.
And I'm gonna underline may.
It's one of these areas where we don't have a lot of good data.
And so you see lots of different people doing lots of different things, not just people in different countries doing different things.
But I think the biggest problem with masks frankly, is that there are people who really need these masks.
They're called health care workers.
And there's a dearth of masks.
So for people to be using a mask when they're out things that that's one less mask that our healthcare workers have and I think we have to consider A bandana or other cloth covering can also help prevent those droplets from flying out of your mouth and onto other people.
Lastly, I wanna talk about takeout food.
As always, it's important to maintain a safe social distance of six feet or more when picking up or getting delivery, and if possible, pay in tip via an app or over the phone instead of in person.
Also, keep in mind that restaurants have to follow certain food safety guidelines in preparing your food.
So you don't have to worry about the food itself as much as the packaging.
The takeout ordering and the consumption of takeout is safe.
You can wash your hands right after you bring the food to your house, take the food out of the containers, and then dispose of those containers.
Wash your hands basically before you prepare food, before you consume the food as well.
Here is the bottom line, even if Corona virus does hit a ride on your groceries or your deliveries, that virus can't infect you unless it somehow gets a ride to your face.
Whatever precautions you decide to take with your groceries please understand that the most important thing that we can do to prevent the spread of this virus is to maintain a safe social distance of six feet or more Stop touching your face especially when you're out and about and wash your hands thoroughly and often.
Now if you'll excuse me,
I gotta go drop off some groceries.
Holly [UNKNOWN] thanks Jessy, stay safe everybody.
[LAUGH] I love that.
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