Source: Horizon Health News
Most people catch COVID-19 from other people through infected droplets found in a cough or sneeze. But touching a contaminated surface – and then your mouth, nose or eyes – can spread the disease too. And now we’re beginning to understand what kinds of surfaces can keep the virus around.
A recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine revealed how long the coronavirus can live on different surfaces. Researchers still have a lot to learn about how the virus is passed or how much of it is needed to cause an infection. But the study can point us to potential ways to decrease our risks – and highlight one of the best defenses we have: disinfectants.
Here’s how long the virus lives on surfaces that we commonly touch:
Plastics: Up to 72 hours
Stainless steel: Up to 48 hours
Cardboard: Up to 24 hours
Copper: Up to 4 hours
As of now, it’s not known if touching these surfaces can cause an infection. But as with so many unknowns, you can’t practice too much caution.
The best way to stay safe in your household is to keep it clean. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:
Clean and disinfect surfaces daily in many common household areas such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks
Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
Use a diluted bleach solution (one-third cup of bleach per gallon of water)
When you’re doing your grocery shopping, try to practice similar precautions:
– Use disinfectant wipes on grocery carts or basket handles.
– Avoid touching your face.
– Use hand sanitizer right when you leave the store and wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds once you’re home.
– After finishing unpacking, wash your hands with soap and water again for at least 20 seconds.
– Any surfaces on which you placed groceries should be disinfected.
There is no current evidence that the coronavirus is transmitted through food, and products inside sealed containers won’t be contaminated. But you should still consider washing or disinfecting the outside surfaces of cans, bottles and boxes, and wash fruits and vegetables under running water before you eat them.