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How to avoid Coronavirus when you have to leave home

Health • by Ryno Ellis • 03 April 2020
South Africa, and the rest of the world, are battling a Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and it’s every human being’s responsibility to do their part to avoid spreading the virus and flatten the curve.

South Africa is keeping safe with a 21-day lockdown where we should stay inside our homes and only go out for essentials like food or medication.

We’ve put together a list of steps that you can take to avoid the risk of contracting COVID-19 when leaving home to get your essentials.

Avoid touching surfaces with your fingers

Because COVID-19 can live on surfaces for up to five days, it’s crucial to avoid touching surfaces when you leave home.

Use your elbow, knuckles or even cover your finger with a tissue when you’re pressing the elevator button or punching in your pin code at the ATM.

An added tip is to always disinfect and wipe down grocery carts before you use them.

Keep your distance

When you’re out to either do grocery shopping or buying medication at your local pharmacy, be sure to keep your distance from others. COVID-19 spreads through droplets when people sneeze, couch or even speak.

By socially distancing yourself you significantly lower your chances of being infected. Many stores have put up signs on the floor to show patrons where they need to stand to keep a safe distance from fellow shoppers - look out for these.

Cash is not king

Avoid paying with cash at all costs. Cash is transferred between humans and can become a breeding ground for germs. Use your credit and/or debit cards to pay for groceries if possible. If you do need to use cash, be sure to always sanitise before and after handling it.

Don’t touch produce with your hands

The key here is to be considerate. Avoid picking up fresh produce at the grocery store with your bare hands and putting it back on the shelf. If you need to inspect your fruits and vegetables to make sure they’re ripe, grab a plastic bag (used to store the fresh produce) and cover your hand while you test them.

Find new ways of greeting familiar faces

Gone are the days where you’d see a familiar face and shake their hand. Avoid any contact with other people to curb the spread of the disease. Rather opt for a friendly smile or if you need to greet a person, reach out your elbow as a sign of affection.

Wipe down your groceries when you get home

When you get home, leave the grocery bags with your groceries outside of your home and use disinfectant on a cloth and wipe down every item before you bring it inside your home.

Wash your hands as soon as you get home

We assume that you’re constantly sanitising your hands when you leave home. Yet, it’s crucial that you wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you get home.

[VIDEO] Grocery Shopping Tips 

More about COVID-19

What is COVID-19?

Short for “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a variant of one of many different types of viruses common in both humans and animals. While human coronaviruses are common, it would appear that this version has jumped from animals to the human population, which means that we have little or no immunity to the virus.

What symptoms should I be aware of?

The symptoms for COVID-19 are very similar to other respiratory viruses such as the seasonal flu we experience every year. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe and may include:

How does the virus spread?

COVID-19 is not an airborne disease, but rather one that is transferred through droplets. These droplets come from sneezing, coughing, spitting or any other body fluid. Those droplets are then transferred onto various surfaces through touch and then to others when they touch the same surfaces.

The virus can survive on some surfaces for up to five days, resulting in an extremely fast infection rate.

What to do if you develop flu-like symptoms

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