Many will read this article and feel that I have gone completely O.T.T. Maybe they're right, but these suggestions can be graded and introduced gradually as the situation deteriorates. The advantage of implementing many of them now is that by the time things get even worse, you'll be well practised in the acts which will help to keep you safe.
Remember we're in uncharted territory ...........................what if Covid-19 mutates in to something more deadly that will attack and kill younger people with NO underlying medical conditions?
The virus is being spread unwittingly by people who don't adopt safe practices and have come in to contact with others who do not either - that's how it spreads. It is therefore everybody's responsibility to protect themselves and by default, family members and fellow citizens, by 'upping their game', as they like to say on 'Masterchef'
Keep your hair short if possible because it's easier to wash and maintain.
Ensure there is liquid soap, a nylon nailbrush and a hand towel at every sink in the house.
Shower every morning, including hair, if you have long hair and it's a problem then wear a shower cap.
Maintain good oral hygiene by cleaning teeth after every meal followed by rinsing the mouth with mouthwash.
Keep your nails short and clean.
If you spend the day out of the house at work or out among the public then shower again on returning home, this time washing the hair without fail (ever noticed how dirty your hair gets if you spend a day in a city, only now it may not just be dirt that hitched a ride home with you).
When the situation becomes more serious remove all facial hair (that's men as well!!). Two reasons, firstly it prevents a good seal around the mouth and nose when wearing a mask, and secondly infected water droplets can land on the hair and sit there waiting for the opportunity to enter the mouth or nose.
Change in to different clothes once home and wash or maybe spray the clothes you wore outside with a dilution of G101 or a strong solution of liquid detergent and water. You must not use anything with bleach in it as this will harm the clothes.
Clean your teeth and use mouthwash just before bedtime.
Regular hand washing and exposure to chemicals will dry the hands and render them susceptible to cracking thus creating open wounds. Use a moisturising hand cream before bed and use it regularly, though not in public places as it will create a barrier between the sanitiser and the skin.
Don't wear a watch - it will prevent you washing your wrists as part of the hand cleaning process, and can itself become a carrier of the virus. Consider buying a cheap nurses watch which pins to the jacket or shirt. I'm sure they are available online.
To reduce the cost of additional showering ie heating the water and the water itself shower as follows:
Rub shampoo in to the hair and let it sit there - that's the bit that's going to do the killing and cleaning.
Rub neat shower gel all over the body with the hand.
Turn on the shower and as soon as the water is hot enough get under it and quickly rinse off the shampoo and shower gel.
Turn off the shower.
Whenever possible wear cotton clothes when out in public. Man made material requires washing at a lower temperature. That may well save on electricity to heat the water in the washing machine in normal circumstances, but at temperatures as low as 30˚C or 40˚C all your doing is giving the virus the equivalent of a day out at a Spa Centre. Imagine them lying there soaking up all that warmth and steam. The only temperature that will KILL them is 60˚C and above, and that means cotton. If cotton isn't possible then maybe an overnight soak in a strong solution of liquid detergent and water.
Dry clothing outside in the sunshine whenever possible. That sunshine and fresh air will itself be a very effective cure to any remaining infection.
Ensure all clothes are perfectly dry before putting them away, otherwise you will be inadvertently creating an ideal environment for any virus or bacteria somehow remaining on the material as you will be putting it away in a warm, moist, dark environment.
Remove and replace all hand towels every morning. Any bacteria on the towels will have enjoyed a night in a warm, moist dark environment before you plunge them in to a G101, or strong solution of liquid detergent and water for a nice long soak followed by a hot wash.
WHEN OUT IN PUBLIC PLACES
Wear a hat (due to gravity, any infected exhaled water droplets in the air will fall to the ground if they don't land on something else first, and that something may be your hair). Glasses, any sort will do, including sunglasses but the most effective will be those with a rounded frame which are used for skiing or sold as safety glasses with clear lenses. These will help to protect your eyes from any airborn infected droplets as well as act as a reminder when you inadvertantly go to rub your eye.
Don't bunch up and crowd other people, i.e. when numerous people are waiting to cross on a pelican crossing. Stay back or to one side.
If anyone coughs or sneezes near you immediately hold your breath. Do not breath in deeply before holding it, just stop breathing, that way you won't breath in any infected droplets. As soon as you are away from the infected area begin breathing again, ideally having wiped your nose and face before doing so.
Be ever vigilant regarding cross infection opportunities which will present to you. Wayne & Waynetta are everywhere. And if you see somebody being totally irresponsible then don't be afraid to challenge their behaviour, nice and loudly so that you make the point not only to them but others.
To reduce the risk of sneezing have a short little blow of the nose regularly. This will reduce the risk of the body detecting a foreign invader in the nose and use a sneeze to expel it (don't do this if you are wearing a face mask, there's no need).
Drink water regularly. A little every 15 minutes should do it. The theory is that if you have any infected matter in your mouth the water will wash it in to your stomach where the acids down there are more than capable of dealing with it. It will also prevent it from making its way down the air passageways to your lungs. (If you're already wearing a face mask do not remove it to sip water).
Continue to use sanitiser after each potential risky contact.
Don't shake hands or do kissy kissy, huggy huggy. That's stupid - just ask the Italians. In the current situation there is nothing wrong with saying something like "I don't shake hands at the present time".
At the end of each day that the car has been used, ideally wearing disposable gloves spray or wipe all control surfaces such as steering wheel, hand brake, steering column stalks for things like indicators etc, seat belt buckles and clips, radio buttons, interior door handles, then spray briefly in the general interior area allowing the sanitiser to land on seats etc. Finally wipe all interior handles followed by exterior handles and the boot if it has been used.
The car will now be decontaminated and ready to be used the following morning.
If plastic gloves are available at the pump put them on but back this up with a square of kitchen roll as the gloves are full of microscopic holes. Better still, use a pair of your own gloves.
Use the gloves to remove the filler cap and hold the pump handle to refuel the car.
Pay for the fuel at the pump as this avoids more door handles and card reading machines.
Wipe the bank card after it comes out of the machine as it is very possible Wayne & Waynetta stopped by for fuel and used the same pump just before you arrived.
Clean the replaced fuel filler cap (by this stage the gloves will have become contaminated) and clean hands with a little alcohol soap.
Once completed throw the gloves and kitchen roll away.
Right now, back in the UK, there is no way I would use public transport, especially in cities, without wearing a hat, gloves, glasses and a face mask.
Wear the gloves and face mask for the whole of the journey, including the distance you need to walk to reach your destination. Once you're there dispose of the gloves in a bin, replace the face mask with another one if neccesary, and clean your hands with a little sanitiser.
I can offer no expertise when it comes to pets, but I'm confident that owners of pets put themselves and their families at more risk of infection than those who don't have them. So trying to adapt my experience to this subject I can only suggest the following:
If it is an appropriate breed get the dog's fur cut short. This will make it easier to keep clean.
Having cats or dogs free to roam outside is no longer acceptable. Both should be on a short lead when out in public. It will, I'm sure be an unwelcomed experience for cats but owners need to get control, and it's better the animals get fresh air and exercise in a safe and responsible manner than not at all.
Consider buying one of those covers that dogs wear in cold weather. Better still make one out of cotton material so that it simply ties in place. This will provide a barrier for the dog should it pass through a contaminated area where infected droplets will fall to the ground (unlikely in the countryside but very likely in a crowded town or city). The cover can then be removed when arriving back home and washed.
Prevent dogs from socialising with each other - bum sniffing for the foreseeable future is a no no.
General sniffing around during the walk should be discouraged.
Dogs could be walked with a muzzle on which can then be covered with some cotton cloth thus creating a mask for the animal - good luck if you want to try that on a cat.
Don't forget to clean paws thoroughly on returning home.
PLACE OF WORK
You and your employer need to work together during this crisis. They don't want to go bust during it and you want to continue having a job to go to.
Hold discussions with them, maybe around hot air dryers being replaced by paper towels. Staff cleaning their own desk workspace i.e. phones keyboards etc (I'd want to do my own rather than rely on cowboys coming in during the evening and doing who knows what or nothing at all).
Unless they are fire doors, maybe there are doors which could be wedged open to avoid hand contact on the handles.
If air conditioning can be turned off, then get it off and open the windows. If it can't be, then I'd be sat there with a face mask on.
The Receptionist would be the first line of defence. It would be their job to ensure each and every visitor sanitised their hand properly in front of them, and told of any new etiquettes which have been introduced in to the workplace which they must observe.
If you go shopping yourself then remember all the Wayne & Waynetta's were in there just before you arrived. All the shopping baskets and trolleys will be contaminated with who knows what, the fresh food etc will be covered in 'sticky red paint' by those who just love to good old fumble to find the firmest etc. The card machines at the till will also be infected. Use contactless if the bill is less than £30 otherwise use a pen or screen pen to punch in the PIN number, and remember to wipe the bank card with a tissue and sanitiser as it comes out of the machine.
Consider buying all of your food shopping online, most of the big supermarkets do it. Open an account now and get practicing ready for when things become more serious. When it is delivered wipe all tins and packages with sanitiser before putting them away because who know what Juan last scratched just before he picked your shopping off the shelves, or if the till operator actually did wash their hands before putting it through the till.
Don't be fooled by shop assistants wearing gloves (serving food etc and also taking money). If they don't remove them between serving the food and taking the money then they may as well not bother.
We used to have problems with the operational Paramedics when the driver on that day would leave the back of the vehicle with contaminated gloves on, close the back doors behind them and climb in to the cab to drive the ambulance to hospital still wearing the gloves, thus contaminating the handles and control surfaces. And that's people who are mindful of the risks of cross infection so what chance do the rest of us have?
This is the routine I have practiced for years, my having no confidence in the hygiene standards of my fellow man:
Push the entry door to the toilets open with your elbow
Push cubicle door open with your elbow
Pull a little toilet roll off and use to close the lock on the door behind you.
If no toilet paper available take three or more paper tissues from your pack. Use one to close the lock on the door.
Use the tip of your shoe to kick up the seat.
Crouch to use the toilet, not allowing any part of your body to come in to contact with the toilet pedestal.
Use all but one of the toilet tissues you pulled from the pack to clean yourself.
Use the remaining tissue to open the locked cubicle door
Use the same tissue to push the flush button on the cistern and then drop that tissue in to the pan to be flushed away.
Wash hands using soap and water provided. Use minimal touch on any surface.
Avoid using hot air hand dryers. These distribute bacteria in a warm moist atmosphere. Use paper towels.
If hand cleaning facilities are unacceptable wash hands with liquid soap.
To exit the toilet without contamination:
If it is a busy toilet unit wait until somebody enters from outside, then if necessary use you foot as a wedge to slip out after they have entered and before the door closes.
Use another paper tissue to act as a barrier between your hand and the door handle. Pull the door open, then let the tissue fall to the ground (the unhygienic design of the toilet is not your problem).
If no tissues are available then pull the door open by hooking only your little finger around the very top or bottom of the handle (minimal previous contact at those points).
Pull the door open then pass through then clean the little finger and surrounding area with alcohol soap.
EATING OUT & TAKE AWAYS
That's an easy one - I just wouldn't. So many restaurants look lovely and clean in the dining area (the bullshit department) yet have filthy kitchens which customers don't get to see. Ask any Environmental Health Officer.
As for roadside eateries - forget it. By law they must all have a hand basin in which they can wash their hands. Ever seen one of them use it? And have you ever asked yourself where they go to the toilet?
My gauge has always been a simple one. When I'm looking at an individual on the other side of the counter I ask myself:
Does he look as if he shaved this morning?
If he didn't shave is it likely he didn't wash either?
Does he look the sort who would wash his hands thoroughly, if at all, after going to the toilet?
These standard apply to females as well, though I excuse them the shaving.
Most of the time they fail the test and I walk away empty handed.
All though it's far from fine dining, establishments like 'McDonalds' are a safer bet because they will have strict operating procedures laid down for their employees and very importantly they are open plan so you can see what's going on in the cooking area.
Right now I'd be cancelling any holiday I had booked which required a long haul flight.
If it involved a flight of about 3-4 hours then I would wear a mask and continue with infection control using my bum bag etc
Note: Check if airlines will allow passengers to now carry on sanitising soap. If the answer is no - then cancel the flight/holiday and tell them why.
Consider staying in the UK this year and spend your money at local holiday resorts. They sure as hell are going to need all the support they can get.
YOUR HOME AS A PLACE OF SAFETY
I would have no hesitation in creating this safe space if things became more serious, especially if I had a young family or elderly relatives living with me. Basically it's a bit like barrier nursing. It's drastic, but it has a very good chance of keeping you protected.
NOTHING gets more than six feet past your front door which carries a risk of contamination.
Seal letter box up on the outside with gaffa tape and leave a plastic box with lid on the doorstep for mail and papers to be placed in. You can check the contents at your convenience wearing gloves.
Wipe front door handles inside and out after each arrival and departure (for some reason brass has a sanitising effect, but don't take any chances).
Place a plastic bin liner on the floor on which shoes must be placed. The soles will be sprayed with diluted antiseptic disinfectant or G101 and left there.
Make up a dilution of 'Milton' spray
Make up G101 solution diluted one part G101 to 20 parts water
Have a separate sprayer with neat G101 to use should the need arise.
Ensure that any hand sprays used are clearly marked with their contents.
Place a small table in the hallway by the front door on which are antiseptic wipes, alcohol soap, hand sprays of G101, disinfectant and 'Milton' available to be used by all those who arrive home or who enter at your invitation.
Spray the outer layer of clothing with diluted G101 or a strong warm detergent and water mix, prior to hanging up.
Spray or wipe the soles of footwear.
Have a steel bowl on the table containing a sanitising solution. Cotton handkerchiefs and used face masks will be placed in the solution for decontamination prior to laundering.
All food etc delivered will be unpacked and the tins and packets wiped with sanitising wipes, or perhaps kitchen roll which has been sprayed with a sanitising solution, before being taken to the kitchen etc.
All items such as mobile phones, other devices, bunches of keys etc are wipped thoroughly before being allowed beyond the six foot limit.
If you have one, use the dishwasher to clean crockery and utensils at a hot temperature. If not then wash by hand and place in a draining rack and allow to dry naturally
If you do use a tea towel wash it every day. Ideally having soaked it overnight in a 'Milton' solution.
Wash hand towels every day
Wash bath towels every couple of days (consider instead using smaller hand towels for each member of the family as they will be easier and quicker to wash and dry and can then be replaced every day).
Use a one inch clean paintbrush to brush computer keyboards, then wipe keyboard, any switches and accessories used with a sanitising cloth or a cloth lightly dampened with 'Milton' or G101 solution daily.
At the end of every day spray and wipe down all surfaces in the kitchen, followed by all light switches and handles and then the bathroom.
CONSIDER THE CREATION OF A SANITISING SPACE USING ULTRA VIOLET LIGHT.
- Go to Amazon.co.uk and search 'Clothes rail on wheels'. Buy whichever one you can afford or need, but ideally it should include a shoe rack at the bottom.
- Search 'Ultra Violet lamps'. Buy something appropriate.
- Place the clothes rail with the shoe rack at the bottom in the hallway or a room close by.
- Place the UV lamp on the shoe rack.
- Cover the whole clothes rail with a white sheet, or better still one of those silver survival blankets.
- Place shoes and outdoor clothing which have just been removed on to the rail and rack, keeping them spread apart so that the UV light can reach all parts, then cover and turn on the UV lamp.
- Consider placing your shopping items oinside it for a coupleof hours after returninh home.
- Without the use of any chemicals your items will become sanitised over a number of hours.