How to stay safe in the time of COVID-19

Madi Keich, Junior Contributor

During the midst of the  COVID- 19 (coronavirus) outbreak, it is essential to take precautions to keep yourself, family, and others safe during this frightening time. As many have seen, some are taking unnecessary and exaggerated precautions such as hoarding essential items that others need, some good habits and items are essential to staying safe during this time.

The most important step to take in precaution in this scary time is to stay at home as much as possible, not touching your face, and washing hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing after visiting a public space, after touching surfaces outside of the home such as money, before, during and after caring for a sick person, before and after eating, using the toilet, after handling garbage, after touching animals and pets, after changing babies’ diapers or helping children use the toilet and when your hands are visibly dirty. An easy way to remember how long to wash your hands is singing the happy birthday song, twice, or counting to thirty seconds.

When you aren’t able to wash your hands, using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is a great second option until you are able to get to water and soap. But, it is also important to overload on hand sanitizer, one sufficient application only uses about three mL. For example, a travel-sized Bath and Bodyworks hand sanitizer should last around ten uses. In a scenario where a person used hand sanitizer five times per day, during the two-week quarantine, they would need about 210 mL or 7.1 fl oz. But, many stores have been out of hand sanitizers, a good alternative is to make it at home, as long as it is around 60% alcohol, it should perform just like store-bought sanitizers, as well as using many ingredients already found at home.  A good recipe includes one by Healthline.com, only using rubbing alcohol, aloe vera gel, and an essential oil.

Toilet paper is a common item being hoarded, with many people buying multiple big packs. In reality, the common usage for men is only about one roll a month, and for women about four rolls per month. So, be courteous to others and buy only as much toilet paper as needed for the household.

Another item being hoarded is bottled water. However, COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water supplies. It is much easier, cheaper, and environmentally-friendly just to drink from the tap. For extra precaution, there are many water-filtering systems for tap water, such as Brita and PUR, as well as a number of similar devices on Amazon.

In this frightening time, it is important to wash or sanitize your hands, and purchase toilet paper, bottled water, and other items as needed.  It is essential to keep yourself and others safe.