SARS-CoV-2: How you can protect your home from the virus

Forum Health SARS-CoV-2: How you can protect your home from the virus

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    SARS-CoV-2: How you can protect your home from the virus

    The number of people doing their work in the home office and spending more time at home has risen sharply since the beginning of the corona pandemic. This was also confirmed by parcel service providers who are struggling with an ever-increasing volume of shipments. But what about the risk of infection through objects? Can you get the virus into your own home quickly in this way? The Cleveland Clinic recently published answers on this topic in an updated post.

    Direct broadcast most common

    So far, experts assume that SARS-CoV-2 is primarily transmitted via droplet infection. Personal contacts with fellow human beings that take place at a distance of two meters are therefore particularly risky. That is why “social distancing” is still one of the most effective measures in the fight against the virus, emphasizes the clinic. However, infections are possible if contaminated surfaces or objects are touched and the contaminated hand then comes into contact with the nose, mouth or eyes. In technical terminology, it is referred to as a smear infection. This form of infection is rather the exception and can be further minimized if the hands are optimally hygienic.

    Studies create uncertainty

    There are some concerns from past studies that attested the SARS-CoV-2 virus a certain survival resistance on surfaces. It may survive for hours or even days without a human host. “But is there a possibility that people will get sick that way? That is the only important question and I think the answer is no, ”replies Dr. Kirstin Englund, an infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic. Even if such news circulated again and again, it was a negligible risk: “There are few documented cases of people who have contracted Covid-19 from contaminated surfaces,” continues Englund.

    No need to be meticulous

    It is also recommended to clean all touch-sensitive surfaces at least once a day. This includes, for example, door handles, switches, levers and worktops. Normal detergent is sufficient for disinfection in order to eradicate any viruses that may be present. If a person in the household is sick with Covid-19, disinfectants should be used, as the viral load can then be clearly higher. But even if the regional incidence rate increases to a high level, more thorough daily cleaning is recommended. The same applies to non-compliance with the mask requirement by the population in the region or hand hygiene by other members of the household. If there are family members in the household who belong to the risk group, cleaning should also be more thorough.

    When the doorbell rings

    Online shopping is becoming more and more important in times of the pandemic and it also enables companies affected by the pandemic to continue offering their products and services. This has the advantage for the end customer that the risky personal contact when shopping in pandemic times is also eliminated. However, there are always concerns about how long SARS-CoV-2 can survive on surfaces, such as transport boxes. One of the reasons for this is a previous study that found intact virus cells on cardboard boxes after 24 hours. However, if you consider how long a parcel is usually on the road, namely several days, this possibility can be ruled out, confirms Dr. Englund further recommends: “If you should still have concerns, the most obvious thing to do is to open the cardboard box, then wash your hands, take out the contents, dispose of the box and then wash your hands again.” This further reduces the risk of infection towards zero.

    Come in, bring Corona in

    The old saying for hospitality “Come in, bring luck” unfortunately gets a bitter aftertaste in pandemic times. Because, as mentioned, the most frequent transmission of coronaviruses takes place in personal contact, which means that visitors of any kind can introduce the virus. The person does not even have to be sick, but could carry contaminated objects with them, which then lead to infection. The course of the infection also plays a major role, as the remaining viral load in the body can sometimes lead to transmission to other people after the illness has been overcome. In addition, there is the sometimes symptom-free course of Covid-19, which means that some infected people are not even aware of an existing infection.

    Strongly limit contacts

    It is generally recommended to keep contacts with fellow human beings as low as possible. In some cases, strict political measures, so-called lockdowns, prevent any meetings anyway. But even if the measures are relaxed, careful handling is still advisable until the situation finally eases. At gatherings, the number of guests should therefore be limited in advance, also taking the circumstances into account, so that it does not turn into a “corona party”. In addition to observing the distance rules, mouth and nose protection must also be worn, as otherwise contamination by aerosols can occur. Unventilated interiors in which several people are located are therefore particularly risky. Likewise, utensils such as glasses and cutlery may not be shared with one another.

    What about food and your own body?

    Virus cells can theoretically attach themselves to almost anywhere, but the decisive factor is how they ultimately get into the body and successfully infect it. As mentioned, droplet and smear infection occurs most frequently with SARS-CoV-2, which means that transmission with food is not likely, but cannot be ruled out. So if you want to be on the safe side, you prefer to cook yourself and just for yourself. The situation is similar when there are concerns about virus cells on the skin: an infection can only result if it is transmitted to one of the receptive regions. Excessive personal hygiene is therefore not effective when it comes to protection against Covid-19. Hand washing, on the other hand, cannot happen too often, especially if there is repeated contact with supposedly contaminated surfaces or objects. In order not to overstrain the skin, there are now some products that also contain a balm.

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Forum Health SARS-CoV-2: How you can protect your home from the virus