By Anthony Mugo
Protocols recommended by the Ministry of Health and other health authorities such as the WHO consider staying home as one of the most important measures to take to protect yourself and your loved ones from infection by the coronavirus. Over the past six months, the home has been transformed into a work and learning centre. The advice by health experts to stay home and minimise non-essential travel assumes that we all know how to keep our homes as safe from the coronavirus.
However, just as the virus is new to science, it is also new to each one of us, hence the need to learn as much as we can about how to make our homes coronavirus free. We must start by adopting the protocols of always wearing a mask properly when we have to go out in public; maintaining high levels of hygiene by regularly washing hands or using alcohol-based sanitisers when hand-washing is not possible; and ensuring that we maintain a distance of 1.5 to 2 in places that attract crowds.
A recommended practice for those who must leave home regularly is to refrain from touching those within your household when you return home before you safely discard your mask and have a change of clothes. Before interacting with other household members, it is highly recommended that anyone coming from outside should at the very least wash exposed parts of their bodies, particularly the face and hands to get rid of any virus particles that may have clung to the skin.
Experts advise that items used frequently such as mobile phones, wallets and keys should be covered as much as possible when one is out in public. Importantly, it is recommended that these items be sanitised and that they be carried covered inside pockets or be put in purses that can be zipped closed.
Frequently touched surfaces such as door and fridge handles, switches, power cables, sockets and plugs should be routinely sanitised. Homes that have domestic workers who visit and leave daily are encouraged to observe strict hygiene protocols including as much as possible providing masks and uniforms to such workers, which must be changed daily.
Homes should be kept well ventilated by ensuring that windows remain open to enable air movement. Researchers have observed that coronavirus can be combated through good indoor ventilation.
Another aspect to consider is that of food. Whereas nutritionists recommend consumption of a balanced diet, food should be served when it is hot, wherever possible. Warming food to temperatures above 60 degrees centigrade is recommended to kill the coronavirus.
We are advised to adopt a routine of sanitising frequently touched surfaces in cars such as door handles, steering wheels, levers for operating wipers, directional indicators, headlights, grab handles and seat belts.
Whereas it is quite difficult to pinpoint and eliminate all avenues through which the coronavirus can enter the home, those who remain vigilant in ensuring that the measures mentioned above are regularly taken are more likely to keep the coronavirus and Covid-19 at bay.