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The emergence of COVID-19 is giving a new meaning to spring cleaning. An article from National Public Radio (NPR) states that the virus can survive on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for 72 hours and on cardboard for 24 hours.

Therefore, it’s important to protect your home and its occupants during a self-quarantine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some tips on planning and preparing for COVID-19, including cleaning and disinfecting. 

During a time when things are feeling a little out of control, why not give yourself some peace of mind by taking control of your most immediate environment? Here are some steps that Door Countians can take during the next few weeks and into the future.

• Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces – tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, handles – with household detergent and water. Then disinfect. Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and impurities, but it does not kill germs. Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill germs, but it does not necessarily clean surfaces. This is why cleaning should precede disinfecting.

• Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom; after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; and before eating. If no soap is available, use a hand sanitizer that’s at least 60 percent alcohol.

• Handle and wash clothes, towels and linens used by a sick person while wearing gloves, and wash your hands afterwards. Do not shake dirty laundry. Clean and disinfect clothes hampers.

• Avoid sharing personal items such as food and drink.

• Increase ventilation by opening windows and adjusting air conditioning. 

• Don’t touch your face, and give yourself frequent reminders.

• Be careful when handling dishes used by an ill person. Wear gloves, and wash your hands afterward.

In homes with seniors and those with underlying conditions:

• Create a protected space for vulnerable and sick individuals.

• Healthy individuals should conduct themselves as if they are a significant risk to those with underlying conditions. Wash your hands more frequently when in contact with those individuals.

In households with sick family members:

• Give sick individuals their own room, and keep the door closed. Keep an additional set of cleaning supplies in the room. Disinfect bathrooms after every use.

• One family member should care for them.

The same NPR article offers some additional tips not covered by the CDC:

• You can use wipes to clean and disinfect surfaces, but make sure they’re alcohol-based.

• Consider making your own cleaning sprays and hand sanitizer.

• Wipe down your smartphone – it’s like a third hand.

• To help stop yourself from touching your face, wash your hands, then touch a raw onion. The smell will be a good reminder to keep your hands down and away from your face.

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