During this pandemic outbreak, social distancing has become the norm to stay protected from the deadly coronavirus infection. Many countries have initiated lockdown where people are only allowed to move out of their house to get access to essential commodities.
However, at this moment, a trip to the grocery store is one of the most important topics of concern for people practicing social distancing. Currently, there is a risk of viral exposure through an infected person or contaminated surfaces.
The CDC has declared that coronavirus can be easily transmitted from contaminated objects, which may also include grocery items. Many stores are taking precautions to limit the number of people in the store at one time. Moreover, they are frequently disinfecting carts.
While this may help to provide some protection from COVID-19 infection spread, you must disinfect and wash your groceries at home as well. Today’s article will highlight the necessity to take precautions before and while shopping at the grocery store. Furthermore, we will discuss the proper way of disinfecting your groceries.
What is the importance of washing groceries?
The WHO has revealed that the novel coronavirus remains active on plastic and any unanimated object for around 72 hours. Therefore, when you go to the supermarket, you must assume that every surface and every grocery item has been touched to be someone who is sick. (1)
It is essential to wipe down the basket and cart handles with disinfectant wipes. Moreover, wash your groceries before consumption to avoid eating contaminated food at home. While you follow these rules, do remember to wash your hands or use a sanitizer.
What precautions should you take while buying groceries?
Following is a safety guide to staying protected during your trip to the grocery store in this pandemic –
Tips before going to the grocery store
- Try to limit your trip to the grocery shop. Make a list of all the essential items that you need and are necessary for regular cooking. When you have enough things on your list, plan a big shopping trip. Typically, the CDC has advised people to buy enough food that can last for one or two weeks at a time.
- Always try to plan a trip to the grocery store during the non-peak hours and buy as man items as you can fro ma single store.
- Look for home delivery options if available in your locality. This helps to minimize contact with other people as well as contaminated surfaces.
- It is essential to understand that at this crucial time, grocery shopping doesn’t require the entire family to go to the store. It is best to shop alone for the family. Children are more prone to getting infected from coronavirus as they touch everything and anything. Therefore, avoid family exposure.
- If you are showing symptoms similar to that of COVID-19, the best thing to do is to stay at home and ask another healthy member of your family to go grocery shopping. Seek medical care and maintain distance from your family members. (2)
Tips while shopping at the grocery store
- Wear a face mask – the CDC has recommended everyone worldwide to wear a protective face mask when they move out of the house. This is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially from infected people and carriers. (3)
- Social distancing should be followed by maintaining at least 6 feet distance from the people around you.
- Gloves may not be necessary when you are going to a grocery store. However, touch only the items you need to buy. Avoid touching any other surface.
- Avoid touching your face, mouth, and eyes, especially when you ave not washed your hands.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can also use alcoholic sanitizer. Follow this before entering the store ad after leaving the store.
How should you disinfect your groceries at home?
Whichever way you get your grocery supply, it is essential to handle the mat home carefully. This will help to minimize infection spread to the members of your family. Moreover, it will also help to reduce contamination of the surfaces at your home. Following are the best ways to wash and disinfect your grocery at home –
- Use wipes to clean boxes and cans of food before storing them in the cupboard or refrigerator. You can also throw out disposable packaging to minimize viral spread.
- One of the best ways to reduce contamination is to leave selected grocery items in your garage or porch for at least 72 hours. This will help the virus to become inactive.
- Fruits and vegetables should be scrubbed with lukewarm water for at least 20 seconds. Usually, soap water is not advised to wash edible items to minimize the risk of ingestion.
- Transfer washed grocery to clean bags or containers for storage
- Wipe down all the contaminated tables, countertops, and surfaces at home that you may have touched.
- Wash your hands with soap water before you disinfect your grocery, and after you store your groceries to stay clean. (4)
- If you use cloth bags for shopping, wash them with laundry soap in the washing machine and dry them properly before reusing it.
Take away message
COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease that is typically spread through respiratory droplets and contaminated surfaces. This may also include grocery items touched by an infected person.
The best way to get access to essential supply is to look for a home delivery service in your locality. However, if you are unable to get hold on to the electronic delivery system, there are few precautions that you must take to stay protected during the pandemic.
Limit the trips to the grocery store and plan for big shopping trips whenever required. Maintain social distancing and proper hand sanitization techniques. You must wash every grocery item. Moreover, leave selected items that are not to be used immediately at the garage or porch for 2-3 days until the virus becomes inactive. Such protocols are necessary to stay protected from infection spread.