Keeping Your Home Safe

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I am writing this on April 14, 2020. The World Health Organization says we have a pandemic on our hands. It is unlike anything we have ever experienced before.

Cities are practically shut down, businesses are closed, people are being asked to stay home unless absolutely necessary, and unemployment has reached new heights, seemingly overnight.

This is a new world we’re living in; it almost seems like a war, but our enemy is faceless and could be anywhere.

I’ve put together some resources to help you during this time. I have consulted The Center for Disease Control and The Boston Public Health Authority for my information. I will do my best to keep this page current as we learn more.

Please consider sharing this with your friends and loved ones. We need all the information we can get, as long as it comes from trusted sources.

Things You Should Disinfect Regularly

Note: this is not the same document that you will receive if you sign up for my emails. Some things may be the same, but there are other different ones added here. It would be wise to have both.

  • Your shoes. Try to wear the same shoes each time you go out and when you get home, spray them with a disinfectant spray like Lysol. Don’t forget the bottoms!
  • If you are wearing a mask when you leave the house, wash it immediately when you get home. Don’t save it for when you have a load. Even washing it by hand with soap and water will work. If you have the kind that can’t be washed (I’m using one of my husband’s shop masks), then at least spray it with Lysol or something similar. And a light spray will work. You want to be able to breathe the next time you use it.
  • Don’t forget your purse. I put my purse in the cart when I go shopping. When you get home, spray it with Lysol. If you’re carrying a designer bag or something you don’t want to spray with chemicals, find a small bag or a jacket with secure pockets and use that. I have a few cross-body bags that I use. All you really need is your driver’s license, bank card, hand sanitizer, and keys. You can’t use tissue because you’re wearing a mask and you can leave your phone and sunglasses in the car. Still, disinfect the purse when you get home.
  • Keep your phone in your car. Now is not the time for phone conversations while you’re out shopping. You can disinfect it with a slightly damp cloth with disinfectant on it, and then a Q-Tip for hard to reach areas. This should be done all the time, virus or not.
  • Your bank card and your hands. As soon as you are done using the keypad for your purchase and have your card back, put some sanitizer on your hands, rub them together, then rub the card between your hands.
  • Wipe off your steering wheel, gear shift, radio dial, heating and cooling dials – anything in your car you touch – plus inside and outside door handles.
  • Do not bring reusable bags to the store. Use the ones the store provides and throw them away or recycle them in the outside container when you get home.
  • If you wear glasses, wipe those off regularly.

What About Your Food?

Washing fruit

The other day a good friend of mine (she was online) said she couldn’t wrap her head around buying groceries and then coming home and washing them with Dawn dishwashing liquid.

Don’t do that. You run the risk of making you and your family sick. Dish soap can be easily rinsed from dishes and such because they are hard surfaces. Your fruits and vegetables are not. They are porous and could absorb some of that soap.

The CDC says a brisk washing with running water will suffice. I’ve stopped buying fresh produce that isn’t packaged. I’ve seen too many people look through each and every one with bare hands. I buy packaged, sealed salad greens and things that can be peeled.

As far as canned good and other things in containers: you can wipe them down with a slightly damp cloth that has either soapy water on it or a disinfectant. Cardboard has been shown to carry the virus as well as any other object, so wipe your cereal boxes down too. Remember, just slightly damp.

Despite all the awful things this virus has done, it is relatively fragile as far as we know, and simple soap and water can kill it. Thus the reminder to wash our hands all the time.

Here’s what I would do with packaged meat: you know how often you’ve picked up a pack of meat and it has leaked, either on you or in the fridge. I would wipe it with a slightly damp cloth with soapy water on the outside – carefully – you don’t want soap on your meat. And then I would use tongs to transfer the meat to a clean ziploc bag.

Your Home

Your home in general should be safe as long as those leaving it are careful once they come back.

We’ve had a few nice days lately and I’ve opened as many windows as I could to let the fresh air in. I’ve wondered about the virus traveling in the air, but if we observe the six foot rule with people, I think opening windows should be safe, and probably good for the house as well.

We have a decent distance from our neighbors. If you live in the city, you may have to judge if your neighbors are too close. Even when we lived in Detroit, there was still more than six feet between each home. Maybe you could open the windows that aren’t as close to your neighbors.

I would spray down the doorknobs with Lysol if people are coming in and out. I think the ones going outside or to the garage are the ones you need to worry about. A quick mop just around the doorways wouldn’t hurt either.

If you have a garage, make everyone come and go through there and leave their shoes and coats there. Keep a can of Lysol so they can spray them down as soon as they get home.

Please take off your shoes

If you don’t have a garage, keep a basket near the door and have them put their shoes there, and spray it when they come home. Coats should be hung in the closet away from the other ones and sprayed as well.

Grocery Shopping

OK this is my rant on shopping. I’ve seen so many people thinking they are taking precautions when they are not. Some tips:

  • Make a list of what you need and keep in mind you may have to be flexible. No disinfectant? See if they have rubbing alcohol. NO, vodka won’t work. There isn’t enough alcohol content to kill the virus.
  • Wear a mask; gloves if they make you feel better. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE. THAT INCLUDES THE MASK. If it’s slipping down, of course, adjust it then sanitize your hands. Please DO NOT take it down to expose your mouth and nose so that you can talk to someone.
  • Leave your phone in the car. Yes, you can be away from it that long.
  • Don’t treat this like a release from jail. This is not your fun time out of the house. Get in, get what you need, and get out.
  • Don’t spend hours agonizing over each piece of produce or meat. Other people – who are respecting the six foot rule – are waiting on you. Stores try as hard as they can to package meat in similar sizes at similar price points. You can look without touching, find the one you want, and get it. Quickly.
  • BE NICE, especially to the grocery store employees. They are risking their lives so that you can feed your family. They have no control over what the store has and doesn’t have.

Social Media, the News, and Your Mental Health

Just turn it off. Check in once a day for the news and on social media, especially if you are prone to depression or anxiety. It’s only making it worse.

Find something better to do. Go for a walk, take up a hobby, take a nap.

Everyone is talking about how productive you can be right now. According to them, you should come out of this with a spotless, well-organized home, the skills of a pioneer woman, and in the best shape of your life.

That is unrealistic, at best. Do what you can. Some days you can muster up the energy to get some housework done. That’s awesome. Be proud of yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others.

When my husband is worried, upset, or stressed, he keeps himself busy so he doesn’t have to think about it. He’s accomplished a lot in the last few weeks.

One the other hand, I’ve been taking more anti-anxiety medication than normal, as well as naps. I have my days when I get cleaning done; even above and beyond cleaning.

The important thing is that you don’t beat yourself up over any of this. Try and stay on top of the important stuff related to safety, ask for help when you need it, and cut yourself some slack.

It’s my personal belief that something good will come of this; good as in good for humankind. I know that a lot of people have lost or will lose loved ones in the middle of this, and there’s nothing good about that. But I do believe that there is hope.

Hang in there. And if you need to talk, contact me.

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