What should I be doing at home to help combat viruses? Your questions answered.

Keep your home as safe as possible with our practical guide to coronavirus prevention.

Updated

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As people are increasingly having to spend longer periods at home, it’s important to take the right measures to tackle the coronavirus. Got questions? We have answers.

Do I need to take off my clothes when I get in?

Currently, there is no specific information on how long the coronavirus can survive on fabrics.

However, it is recommended to wash “high-risk” items (those likely to cause illness because they have been soiled by a sick person) separately at 60C with a bleach-based product. Other items that can be high-risk include underwear, shared towels and sports clothes. Follow our top tips for deep cleaning your clothes to help ward off viruses here.

Should I stay at home even if I’m not ill?

As this is a rapidly evolving situation, we recommend checking in on the official guidelines around socialising during the coronavirus pandemic regularly and changing your behaviour accordingly.

Most experts are recommending “social distancing” as much as possible. It is considered a key way to slow the spread of the virus – the advice is to avoid crowded places and to work at home if possible.

Those particularly vulnerable to the virus, especially pregnant women and the over-70s, should stay at home and ask help from others for purchase of groceries, prescriptions, and medicines.

Do I need to stock up on food and medications?

The only reason to stock up on food is so you have enough in the house in case you are sick; there is no reason to stockpile for more than you need, so do be considerate when shopping to avoid disrupting supply chains and leaving vulnerable people short of food.

The government is urging people who are showing coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature, continuous cough or loss of taste/smell) to self-isolate for 14 days, so if you have sufficient supplies for that time, you won’t need to leave home.

Keep any prescriptions filled before you run down your current crop of medication (some experts suggest 30-day stocks in case there are supply chain interruptions, but talk to your doctor or pharmacist for more info).

What cleaning tips should I be following for safely disinfecting my home?

Household cleaners like Domex can kill viruses and bacteria on surfaces.

It is recommended to dry off work surfaces and cutting boards as damp patches can encourage germs. Wear disposable gloves, ensure that there is proper ventilation and (preferably) use a different cloth for each surface. Either throw away used cloths and sponges or wash at a high temperature (minimum 60C).

When it comes down to it, regular, consistently thorough personal hygiene at home is key to slowing the spread of the coronavirus, so make sure there is plenty of soap available and that everyone in your home knows what they should be doing, and why it’s important.

Originally published