(The following is from my trusted medical partner and long-term friend, Dr. Tricia Wagner, DNP, APRN-BC):
With news and information coming to us from all angles, it is hard to filter out what is truth, what is being laced with a twist of a new, best, and greatest way to handle COVID-19. Setting out on a course to educate myself so that I can best help you as a family member, friend, or healthcare provider, I wanted to share with you what I found and how I will be taking care of myself and the house.
This is information that you may find beneficial that is pulled from sources that are validated through the healthcare experts. They include Johns Hopkins University/Medical School and the Centers for Disease Control. Many are citing these items of interest, but I thought it might be good to share here for you to have a quick easy reference.
What is COVID -19/Coronavirus?
It is not a living organism. So you cannot kill it — it actually decays. The virus is a protein molecule that is covered by a protective layer of lipid (also known as fat). When this protein molecule comes into contact with either your nose, mouth, or eyes, it is absorbed, and these molecules change or transform into cells that are aggressive and multiply.
How can we help get rid of it?
The time it takes to get rid of or decay or disintegrate varies with the temperature, humidity and even the material where it lies.
Let’s talk about temperature and how it affects the protein molecule. So I mentioned above that the fat around the protein molecule is a fatty layer. Think about fat and how you get rid of it in the sink or on your hands. First and foremost, using a soap of any kind is the best choice because the friction creates a suds/foam that helps cut through the fat. It is very important to scrub for at least 20 seconds. Choose your favorite song…mine has been “Jesus Loves Me.” It is a great way to even get the kids involved in washing their hands by singing a song. Other great examples are “Happy Birthday”, “Yankee Doodle”, etc. Next add warm water (greater than 77 degrees Fahrenheit) along with the soap on your hands, clothes, surfaces, etc.; now you have an even more useful way to rid your hands or surfaces of the molecules.
Some people have mentioned that alcohol is useful; however, you must make sure that it is 65% alcohol or over.
How long does it stay on surfaces? Here is what we know so far…
Fabric/Porous material/Clothes 3 hours
Copper/Wood 4 hours
Cardboard 24 hours
Metal 42 hours
Plastic 72 hours
Need to know!
Do not shake clothing, sheets, towels, etc. The virus molecules can float in the air for up to 3 hours.
If you have an essential worker in your home, or if you have left the home to grocery shop, have an area where you can remove your shoes and clothes if needed, prior to going to the areas of the house that you spend the most time. This can decrease the transfer of the protein molecules.
Keep areas dehumidified, dry, warm and bright to degrade the molecules faster.
The virus cannot go through healthy skin. You do need to keep areas clean by using soap and water to keep from transferring it to your eyes, nose and mouth when you touch your face.
Have you cleaned the keys, locks, doorknobs, remote control, cell phone, watch, computer, desk, TV? If not, take some time out of your day to make sure that you have cleaned commonly touched surfaces.
Ventilate areas that may be close or confined. This will help decrease the concentration of the virus if it is present.
Now that you have been washing your hands so much, you have dry skin - take the time at the end of the day to moisturize and lather it on thick so your skin remains healthy and doesn’t risk cracking.
We know that these may seem like common things that you are already doing, but we want to stop the spread of the virus so that we can get back to living our lives with each other, gathering together with family and friends, and most importantly decreasing the increased risk to our loved ones.
Be your best so that you can continue to be beyond blessed,