With novel coronavirus (COVID-19) still spreading, it’s hard not to feel helpless. That’s why we reached out to Igor Koralnik, M.D., Chief of Neuro-infectious Disease at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, for easy ways to keep ourselves safe. Check them out below.
Wash hands this way.
Washing hands for at least 20 seconds is smart, but how you wash is just as important, says Dr. Koralnik. The step-by-step method he uses himself: Wet hands and add soap. Rub palms together vigorously, then rub the back of each hand, interlocking your fingers. Rub each thumb in a circular motion. Rub fingertips against palms. “If you have a wedding ring, you’re going to make sure you wash under it as well”, Dr. Koralnik says. Rinse and dry your hands thoroughly with a paper towel you throw away.
Sanitize shared surfaces.
A new study from the National Institutes of Health found that the novel coronavirus can survive on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours.
That’s why Dr. Koralnik recommends using alcohol-based wipes to clean doorknobs, grocery cart handles, and kitchen counters and wiping down plastic, metal, and glass containers from the grocery store before putting them away.
De-germ your phone.
Cellular phones are a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria — in fact, microbiologists at the University of Arizona found that they are about 10 times more germy than a toilet seat! But phones can be tough to clean since many manufacturers recommend against using harsh disinfectants, which can strip the coatings that protect your display screen. Dr. Koralnik’s suggestion: Apply a screen protector and wipe that with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipes regularly to kill germs.
Don’t forget the remote.
Social distancing and quarantining at home does have at least one upside: more time to catch up on our favorite TV shows. One caution: Dr. Koralnik suggests cleaning the remote thoroughly with a disinfectant wipe daily to protect your family. The CDC reports that a whopping 31 percent of infectious diseases are picked up from contaminated surfaces.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.