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Important practical advice when you go shopping for food.
In the middle of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety is high all over the world. This anxiety is due to uncertainty: Are we going to be infected by the coronavirus? Are we going to have to be on a ventilator because our lungs won’t function well anymore? And if we need to be on a ventilator, is there going to be one available for us?
Those kinds of questions, although normal, shouldn’t stay in our mind too long otherwise they will drive us crazy.
The best way to deal with our emotions is to turn anxiety into controllable actions that will protect us, even as more and more people in our town, across our country, and around the world get infected with the COVID-19.
Life-Saving Practical Tips for Grocery Shopping
- Before you leave, put on shoes and clothes that are different from the shoes and clothes you wear inside your home.
- Take with you in the trunk of your car paper towels and a spray bottle with disinfectant (alcohol with at least 70% concentration or bleach diluted—4 teaspoons of bleach for one quart of water per CDC guidelines or hydrogen peroxide). When you are in the parking lot of the store, spray your disinfectant of choice on 2 or 3 paper towels. You can also take alcohol wipes or other disinfectant wipes.
- When you arrive at the store, use your paper towel sprayed with disinfectant to disinfect the handle of your cart before touching it. As an alternative, don’t use a cart. Instead bring your own big bag and put every purchase in your bag.
- Wear a mask covering your nose and mouth . If you don’t have one, make one with material from a vacuum cleaner bag or a T-shirt you don’t use any more. There are YouTube videos on how to make a face mask from scratch. You can also wear plastic gloves.
- Stay 6 feet away from everyone and if people get closer to you, don’t hesitate to distance yourself from them or to ask people to respect the 6 feet distancing.
- Grab the items that you need and try not to touch the items you are not going to buy.
- When staying in line to pay, make sure you are at least 6 feet away from people. If people don’t respect that distance and if they are not from the same family, remind them of the proper distancing.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth until your fingers are disinfected or washed with soap and water.
- Pay with credit card. (Coins and bills handled back to you could have been handled by sick people.)
- When back in your car, spray disinfectant on your hands then remove your mask with clean hands (remove the strings around your ears without touching the outside part of the mask). If you were wearing plastic gloves, take them off, throw them away if you can, then spray disinfectant on your hands (or use hand sanitizer), then remove your mask as described above.
- When you arrive home, remove your shoes at the entrance of your home.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Wipe your kitchen table with disinfectant then place the items you purchased on it.
- Wipe each cardboard, glass and plastic container you bought with disinfectant before placing them on a shelf, in your fridge or in your freezer. (Remember that if food keeps well in the freezer so will the virus, so it is important to destroy all possible viruses before they make their way into your fridge or your freezer.)
- Cook the vegetables you purchased (the virus will be destroyed when cooked).
- Wash all the fruits you purchased with soap and water then rinse well before you put them in your fridge. (The virus will be destroyed by soap.)
- Disinfect door handles, fridge, and freezer handles. Wipe your kitchen table again.
- Change clothes: Put on safe house clothes and if you think you were exposed to anybody coughing or sneezing, wash the clothes you wore for outside the house. If you used a home-made mask (from a cotton T-shrit), wash it with soap and water. If you have only one surgical face mask and are planning to reuse it, you can spray the outside of it with hydrogen peroxide or alcohol and let the alcohol evaporate for at least one hour before you reuse it. As for plastic gloves, if you didn’t want to throw away the gloves you used in the grocery store, wash the outer part of your gloves with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
- Disinfect the soles of the shoes you used for outside (if infected people coughed, droplets of viruses will have been projected in the air and will be on the floor or ground outside. Disinfecting the soles of your outdoors shoes will kill viruses).
- Take a shower, wash your hair with shampoo and make sure you wash your face thoroughly with soap and water. Rinse well. It is now okay to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Relax and reward yourself for having taken control of your life, your health and your safety.
Even though some of those guidelines could be judged as too extreme by some people, I always like to err on the side of caution. I’d rather people be safe than sorry.
So, try to only go shopping once a week and stay home the rest of the time. For physical exercise, run around your house, do push-ups and sit-ups and the rest of the time…cook good meals, try new gourmet recipes and do lots of telephone and video calls with family and friends so that you don’t feel isolated.
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