Doctor offers advice on disinfecting surfaces

The Southeast Georgia Health System has created a comprehensive guide to cleaning in the coronavirus era.

Dr. Steven F. Mosher, a board-certified internal medicine physician specializing in infectious disease and member of the Southeast Georgia Health System medical staff, shares the latest prevention and cleaning guidelines.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) is not entirely certain how long COVID-19 survives on surfaces. Like other viruses, we think it may live for a few hours up to several days,” Mosher said.

To protect yourself, he recommends:

Washing your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom or being out in public.

Disinfecting surfaces that people come in regular contact with daily or when anyone enters your home or workplace.

Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most EPA-registered household disinfectants help kill germs. You can make your own cleaning solution with five tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water or four teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. If a surface is dirty, clean it with soap and water before disinfecting. Read the label first, to determine if bleach is safe for the surface you’re cleaning.

When using bleach, Mosher advises to check the bleach expiration date. Wear gloves and keep the room well ventilated. Never mix bleach with other cleaning products. Finally, store all cleaning products away from children.”

Surfaces may also be cleaned with a solution containing 70 percent alcohol. Whichever disinfectant is used, let it sit for three minutes before wiping.

Start with surfaces that are touched most often: doorknobs, light switches, countertops, phones, keyboards, tables, sinks, toilets, faucets, TV remotes and gaming controls.

While cleaning, don’t overlook your vehicle and mailbox. Speaking of mail, how can you prevent coronavirus from entering your home through packages and letters?

“Since coronavirus is spread by respiratory droplets when someone sneezes or coughs, it’s unlikely you would get it from mail. To be safe, do wash your hands after handling mail. If you’re at high risk, open mail and packages outside and discard outer packaging before entering the house,” Mosher said.

According to the CDC, there is no evidence suggesting COVID-19 is spread from imported merchandise.

For those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath, call the health system’s COVID-19 Screening Hotline at 912-466-7222, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, visit sghs.org or cdc.gov.

— The Brunswick News

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