© Popartic/Getty Images Powered by Microsoft News Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, the demand for face masks has been higher than the U.S. supply can currently support.
Healthcare workers — who are on the frontlines battling the virus — are finding that there is not enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them safe. In a medical setting, surgical masks and N95 respirators are only meant for a one-time use. However, given the situation, many hospitals and urgent care centers are asking their doctors, nurses, and aids to wear the same mask for days (sometimes weeks) at a time.
This is why the Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams has urged the general public to stop buying PPE. While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that N95′s are the most effective in protecting those treating infected patients, there are other strategies others can take to keep themselves safe when they are going out on that important pharmacy or grocery run.
© the_burtons – Getty Images The CDC now recommends that non-healthcare workers wear fabric face coverings when they go out in public. These coverings may include cloth masks or scarves. According to the CDC, the corona virus spreads between people interacting within a close proximity to each other. The virus travels in small respiratory liquid droplets that we exhale when we are talking, sneezing, and coughing. Many people who have the virus and are asymptomatic can spread COVID-19 unconsciously while they are out making their errands. To prevent that, properly made cloth masks can catch the droplets that we spray unknowingly, according to Jeremy Howard, a Distinguished Research Scientist and medical data analyst at the University of San Francisco. “It does appear a mask would stop the transmission of the virus and protect others,” says Howard.
A cloth mask can also help protect you by reducing the amount of the virus you get exposed to. This may reduce the severity of the infection.
“Exposure to a high dose of the virus not only makes your chance of infection higher, it increases your chances of potentially deadlier symptoms,” says Howard.
If you’re not in the mood for crafts, there are many manufacturers and sites are selling their own brand of masks online. As you are clicking through the web, be aware that there are currently no specific guidelines or regulations that say a brand is CDC-approved to be effective against the coronavirus. Still there are some important factors you can look out for when browsing:
There are a slew of shop owners on Etsy who are selling cloth face masks, but styles, colors, and designs vary, so make sure you’re paying close attention to the description on the seller’s site.
These masks are made with cotton and lined with two layers of non-woven interfacing. If you buy one of their masks, they will donate one to a medical professional. The added bonus is that these come in some really colorful designs. One mask is $25.
Avocado Mattress, one of our top bedding brands, is making masks out of certified organic cotton that are machine washable. These masks do not use plastic as they tie behind the head with cloth straps. Avocado sells them in 4 and 8 packs, and the company claims they are selling them at cost, not for profit.
This beanie-making brand has consulted medical professionals as well as tested and refined their mask designs. They sell single-use masks ($10 each) that can be worn over medical grade PPE as well as reusable cotton surgical masks ($15 each) for adults and kids. They also have a BOGO program and 50% of their net profits are donated to the fight against pediatric cancer.
If you’re looking for fun, nostalgic designs featuring Wonder Woman, Care Bears, Popeye, Betty Boop and more, MaskClub has got you covered. Literally. They have a subscription-based buy one, donate one program that benefits the First Responders Children’s Foundation. Their masks are actually made out of 100% polyester, but they are doubly layered for proper protection. Each mask is $13.99 or you can subscribe for $9.99 to get a new one each month.
Rendall Co is a new workwear company that’s developed two mask design that both feature: two layers of woven cotton, a pocket to insert your own filters, and copper nose bands for a snug fit. They sell for $19 each or $65 for a pack of four. For each mask you buy, they will give a mask to essential workers and non-profits serving the homeless. Their masks will be available for pre-order when their website launches on April 13th.
With coronavirus (COVID-19) on everyone’s mind, we’re all much more conscious and diligent about killing germs on the things we touch daily, like computers, phones, counters, doorknobs and faucet levers. But there are other household items that you use regularly and other places you touch frequently where germs can lurk and that you may not think to clean. Some need just washing, others can be sanitized or disinfected, but all could benefit from a little more attention at this crucial time.
We’re not saying that coronavirus can live on all your household surfaces or that it can be transmitted this way, but in an effort to keep your family healthy overall, it’s smart to ramp up your cleaning routine now, especially when family members are spending more time at home. Here are some tips and common household items that the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab recommends you include in your cleaning routine.
If no one in the house is sick, there’s no need to go crazy. Depending on the size of your household and how often everyone goes in and out, every other day or two to three times a week should be adequate for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting highly-touched surfaces. If someone in your house is ill, it’s recommended to keep them isolated and to clean surfaces and surroundings daily.
Before you get cleaning, remember to check the labels on your disinfectants. “Sanitizing” significantly reduces the number of germs and can take a fraction of the time of disinfecting, which kills more germs than sanitizing does. Disinfecting can up to 10 minutes, so be sure you know how to use your products correctly.
Wear rubber gloves Rubber gloves, even disposable ones, to protect your hands from drying chemicals and germs. Keep separate gloves for cleaning and washing dishes.
Rotate the wipe or cloth to a clean area for each item you clean so you are not reinfecting surfaces and wipe surfaces in one direction to keep from merely moving germs around. Toss a wipe when it’s used up and use multiple wipes, if needed.
Wash your hands after cleaning Once you are done cleaning (or handling dirty laundry) wash your hands per the recommended CDC method.
Here are some common household items that the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab recommends you include in your cleaning routine:
Considered one of the dirtiest items in a hotel room, household remotes get passed from person to person and rarely get cleaned, if at all.
Dampen a cloth with 70% isopropyl alcohol or with an alcohol or disinfecting wipe, go over the remote, paying special attention to the spaces between the buttons.
Dip a cotton swab in alcohol, squeeze out the excess, and use it to clean the narrow areas and grooves, being careful to not let any liquid drip into the remote.
Wait a few minutes for the alcohol to evaporate, then dry the remote with a lint-free cloth and reinstall the batteries.
You carry your purse with you everywhere, so chances are it’s pretty gross. If you have a habit of placing your purse on the floor in a restaurant or even worse, in the ladies’ room, never rest it on your kitchen table or countertop.
Finished leather purses can be quickly wiped down with a disinfecting wipe. Pay special attention to the handle or strap, zipper pulls, and the bottom. Once dry, follow up with a pass of a leather conditioning wipe, like those from Good Housekeeping Seal holder, Weiman.
Fabric bags can’t be disinfected, but they can usually be cleaned with a cloth dipped in a mild sudsy solution and rinsed the same way. Test this method on a hidden spot first, for safety. Sanitize fabric purses with a spray like Tide Antibacterial Fabric Spray.
We’ve all learned recently that doorknobs and faucet levers need frequent disinfecting, but have you thought about the refrigerator, dishwasher and oven door handles, the microwave touchpad, the coffeemaker and stove knobs?
Zap bacteria and virus germs with your disinfectant spray or wipe. If the product dries more quickly than recommended, do a second pass and let air-dry.
Even though you may be home schooling your child, his backpack is probably still holding much-needed school supplies and likely hasn’t been cleaned since, well, never. Some backpacks are machine washable and dryable. If yours isn’t, here’s how to de-germ it.
Clean it by hand inside and out with a cloth or soft brush dipped in a sudsy solution. Be sure to go over the straps and bottom, which are likely the dirtiest spots.
Allow it to fully air dry, they spray the backpack inside and out with a disinfecting spray to sanitize it.
Sure, you launder these workhorses of the kitchen and bathroom, but now’s the time to change them out more frequently. If you have a busy household, replace them daily or every two days.
Colored towels can usually handle the addition of a color-safe oxy bleach and stain remover, but check the care label to be sure.
With a disinfecting wipe or a cotton ball dampened with 70% isopropyl alcohol and well squeezed out, swab all sides of the switch and backplate. Again, be careful that no liquid gets inside. Allow it to air dry.
These everyday essentials get handled by lots of people and germs can lurk in the crevices around the numbers. Give debit and credit cards a quick cleaning.
Wipe down with an alcohol or disinfecting wipe and let them air dry before placing them back in your wallet.
When’s the last time you disinfected your garbage can? Now think about how often it gets touched — and with what.
Clean the can and any removable plastic liner with warm soapy water. Then, rinse and dry it with paper towel.
Once dry, thoroughly spray all sides of the can with a disinfecting spray and allow it to dry for the required time.
To help keep odors down, toss in a deodorizer, like Fresh Wave Odor Removing Packs (they work for up to 30 days), before putting in a clean liner.
Dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every three months or after recovering from a cold, but don’t forget to clean the area around your toothbrush too. To stave off bacteria, always allow toothbrushes to air dry before storing them and make sure family members close the toilet lid before flushing to contain any spray that can land on exposed toothbrushes and surfaces.
Pop off the removable top — if your holder has one — and wash both pieces in warm soapy water, then rinse and dry.
Alternatively, wash it in the top rack of your dishwasher. Then, soak it for five to six minutes in a mix of 4 teaspoons chlorine bleach and one quart of water, rinse and air dry upside down.
For a mounted toothbrush holder, use a disinfecting wipe on all sides, keeping the surface wet for the recommended time.
The rubber ring that creates a seal between the blade assembly and the blender jar can get very dirty if you don’t completely take the blender apart for cleaning. According to NSF, a public health and safety organization, the blender gasket can be one of the dirtiest items in your kitchen. Newer one-piece blender pitchers do not come apart, so they are easier to wash and keep clean and a dirty gasket is no longer an issue.
After unplugging the blender, completely take apart the jar, including removing the blade and gasket.
Place all the pieces in the dishwasher, if safe (check the manual or website), or wash them in hot, soapy water.
If food residue lingers on this little kitchen tool, bacteria can multiply and the next time you open a can, germs may transfer into the food. If the can opener is dishwasher safe, pop it in the machine after each use. Otherwise, follow these instructions.
For handheld can openers, wash it in hot soapy water. If needed, use a little brush to get to and behind the blade and gears.
For wall-mounted can openers, use a soapy toothbrush to clean the blade area, and a cloth dipped in warm soapy water to clean the rest of the machine. Rinse with a cloth and wipe dry. Use a disinfecting wipe to go over the areas of the can opener that your fingers touch.
Kids love their toys, and it’s important that you clean your children’s washable toys often. Check the care label, though: Some delicate toys may only be safe to spot clean.
Place in the dishwasher or soak them for five minutes in a solution of 1/2 cup chlorine bleach and one gallon of water.
Pay special attention to bath toys with openings that trap water inside. Squeeze or shake them vigorously to remove as much water as possible and let them air dry thoroughly to keep mold from growing inside. If you see mold, toss the toy immediately and even better, don’t use toys with holes in the bottom in the bathtub. Even rubber duckies can get moldy inside.
Place them in a pillowcase, knot the top, and, if safe, wash and dry them on a gentle cycle with low heat.
You can also try steaming stuffed toys with a garment steamer, spraying them with a fabric sanitizer or leaving the toys in direct sunlight for a few hours to let UV rays do the work.
Think about it: Your house and car keys go everywhere — your purse, the car, your pockets, even the grocery store with your shopper card attached — and that means lots of touching and resting on surfaces.
Use clean wipes to give your car’s steering wheel, console and arm rests a cleaning and don’t forget the garage door opener remote, too.
Wooden banisters and metal railings get touched every time someone goes up and down the stairs or in and out of the house. Clorox claims its wipes are safe to use on finished wood, but first test them in a hidden spot for safety.
Post time: Apr-15-2020