words Al Woods
We’ve all found ourselves in a new normal that has disrupted nearly every part of our lives. The pandemic has changed our habits, our routines, and how we live our lives.
The first priority we all have now is: stay safe. Protect yourself and your loved ones from the virus – and that meant adopting some things we never thought we’d have to do and stocking up on items we never even used before. So, what are the things we’re using most of these days?
One of the first things we all learned at the start of the pandemic is to wash our hands properly. You’d think we all already knew this, but it turns out we’ve been just sort of running them through water and soap without thinking about it. Scrubbing your hands with great care for 20 seconds (or one chorus of Toto’s “Africa”), getting into all the nooks between your fingers and underneath your nails will make sure you’re not transferring the virus further into your life. You might think soap doesn’t do a good job because it’s not alcohol or chlorine-based, but soap destroys the fat cells, which effectively means that the virus just falls apart.
However, when you’re out and about, you don’t always have soap handy, and you are touching a lot of potentially infected surfaces. So carrying around an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol content is a must. Every time you exit a store, a bus, or generally touch surfaces – sanitize your hands by rubbing them together with sanitizer for 30 seconds. This is a crucial step and one that you should never skip.
There are speculations that we will never go back to a life where masks aren’t a daily necessity. They are the first line of defense against the virus, and we need to stay vigilant and wear them whenever we’re in contact with people. None of us know if we might be infected, and this is the best way to protect ourselves and those around us. The best option is single-use, disposable surgical masks, but they can be quite pricey when used daily, so you can try to find a better deal by looking at different pharmacies in your area. You can also opt for reusable cotton masks, which you can boil or sterilize with a hot steam iron.
Chlorine is one of the best ways to sterilize your home, and chlorine-based cleaners are accessible in most stores. Keep in mind that these are often very concentrated, so you might have to dilute them first in the water. Use this to clean everything – the floors, surfaces, your keys, groceries once they’re brought home, and everything else you touch. Be careful and use gloves when handling chlorine.
Disposable gloves have raised a lot of controversies these days. On the one hand, yes, they protect your hands from touching infected surfaces. However, if you then touch your face, your clothes, bag, or anything else on you, you’ve transferred the virus the same as if you touched it with your bare hands. This is why many say that gloves give a false sense of security and that it’s far more important to practice not touching surfaces and sanitizing your hands as often as possible. This isn’t to say that there isn’t a place for gloves – if you use them properly. For example, you put them on when entering a bus, wear them while you’re inside and holding onto the rail, and then disposing of them as soon as you exit.
If there’s one thing that we have not changed in the pandemic – it’s how much we use our phones. We probably increased how much we used since we’ve started quarantining, and something that spends that much time in your hands needs to be properly cleaned and sanitized to ensure you’re not transferring the virus. Alcohol wipes can help with that, as well as your glasses, keys, and other small items. Remember not to just clean the screen, but the back of the phone, too, because that’s the part you’re touching most of the time!
Even if you don’t personally care if you get sick because you’re young and healthy, and you think you’ll be fine – you could be completely asymptomatic and transferring the virus to the people around you who might not be as lucky. So, be responsible, take care of each other, and protect yourself and others by adapting to the new normal and doing your best to minimize the spread of the virus, even if it takes several additional minutes out of your day.