Primary care

The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 may survive for several days on some surfaces. Estimates of its life span vary, but the virus can clearly hang around long enough to make disinfecting frequently touched surfaces a priority.

Normally, disinfectants, like Lysol and Clorox wipes, are available and would do the trick in cleaning most surfaces of contagions, but many of these items have been widely out of stock across the United States. If you cannot find any of these products, you can make an effective homemade disinfectant from a mixture of water and bleach.

Whatever you use, it’s crucial to know how to use a disinfectant properly — that means allowing enough time for a disinfectant to do its job, which can be as much as 10 minutes.

When disinfecting a surface, by far the most important consideration is what’s known as dwell time: the amount of time the disinfectant needs to remain on a surface to kill pathogens, and in this case, specifically the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

No disinfectant works instantly; most of those sold to the public take several minutes. Different dwell times don’t indicate that one disinfectant is more or less effective than another. They’re just how long products take to eliminate the coronavirus, the result you want. But dwell time is not the only thing you need to pay attention to.

– Dr. Munia

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

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