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Sanitize Your Life: Stay Safe Outside Your Home

To help slow the spread of COVID-19, we've all been more conscious of keeping our hands washed and living spaces sanitized. As our communities begin to reopen, it is still VERY important to be mindful of our surroundings and take simple steps to stay safe. Following a few common-sense tips can help ensure you and your family are healthy and happy outside of your home.

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Sanitizing Your Vehicle

You may be careful to clean your clothes and disinfect your home after going out, but don’t forget your car! Germs and viruses may be hiding on regularly touched surfaces like door handles, consoles, armrests, and the steering wheel. Don’t use bleach or peroxide, which may damage upholstery and more fragile plastics. Instead, spot clean leather with ivory soap and water and other surfaces with isopropyl alcohol (or another product made specifically for vehicles). At the gas station, use a sanitizing wipe to disinfect pump handles, keypad numbers, windshield squeegees, and anything else you may come in contact with. When you get home, throw away any trash you may have accumulated in an outside rubbish bin.

Using Public Transportation

If you use a bus or train to travel, it is vital to take extra precautions before, during, and after your trip. If possible, schedule to go out during a less busy time so you will have less of a chance of being next to a commuter who is sick. At the bus stop or train station, avoid sitting on benches that may not be clean. When you step aboard, try not to touch handrails or seatbacks. If you can, sterilize the area where you’re sitting or standing before you begin to move. Don’t touch your face or others around you during the journey and set bags and other items in your lap, not on the floor. Finally, and use hand sanitizer (or preferably wash your hands) immediately after stepping off the vehicle.

Staying Safe At The Store

Grocery store staff and pharmacists have been heroes over the past few months, keeping our community stocked with necessities day after day. While they have been working diligently to clean carts and shelves, it is important to still be careful. Before you go, write down everything you need and plan to shop when crowds are lower. If you need to use a basket, wipe it before you enter the store (many places have free wipes as you walk in). Try to decide if you are going to purchase something before you put it in your cart, especially fresh foods and things with minimal packaging. If you don’t end up buying it, you will have reduced your risk of touching an unwashed item and keep others safe in the process. At the checkout counter, experts suggest using a credit or debit card since they’re easier to clean than cash. Click here to learn about what you should do when bringing your groceries into your home.


Enjoying A Clean Workplace

Your workplace may already have strict sanitization practices to keep employees safe. If not, now is the time to use extra caution! When interacting, the first thing many people do is shake each others’ hands. Experts are saying we may not use that gesture for a long time! At the moment, a warm smile will have to replace it. Be sure to disinfect your desk or station in the morning, throughout the day, and before you leave. Take special care to clean common areas and items you may share (like tools, laptops, and cooking utensils) with your coworkers. If your job includes meetings, it may be a good idea to ask if everyone can schedule a virtual call instead. Who knows, you may be even more productive when everyone can enjoy their own space.

Traveling Safely

If you do need to venture across the state, country, or world, special precautions must be taken to avoid unnecessary contact with germs. If you can, eat before traveling to the airport and bring your own water bottle to fill once you get through security. At the TSA checkpoint, put your luggage in as few bins as possible and wipe everything down after your screening. On the plane, try to sit in a window seat as there is less contact with passengers moving up and down the aisle. If you are checking into a hotel at your destination, you may want to bring your own pillowcase. When you get to your room, disinfect the light switches, remote, phone, alarm clock, and other surfaces that may not have been fully cleaned. Also, don’t drink out of the complimentary cups or mugs, which may not have been washed since the last guest.

By being more mindful of our surroundings and sanitizing things we come in contact with each day, we can significantly decrease the likelihood of getting sick. As things return to the way they were, we will all have developed better habits and be able to keep ourselves even safer than before!

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