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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

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

The lockdown that has been actioned by President Cyril Ramaphosa has forced all South Africans to spend much of their time 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?

At this time, no specific research has confirmed whether the coronavirus is spread through the touching of fabrics. However, several reports recommend that you wash “high-risk” items (clothing that has been worn by a sick person) separate to your regular wash at 60˚C with a bleach-based product. Other clothing items that can be considered high-risk include shared towels, underwear and gym clothes. Read this blog for some top tips to deep clean your clothes to help ward off viruses here.

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

Because of the lockdown, nobody is allowed to leave their homes until further notice, unless they are buying groceries, medication or visiting the doctor. Whether you are sick or not, the president has set this rule to everyone in South Africa. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, we encourage you to check the daily news and government websites regularly and changing your behaviour accordingly.

One of the first things President Cyril Ramaphosa urged South Africans to do when he made his first speech was to action social distancing. It is considered an essential way to slow the spread of the virus.

Do I need to stock up on food and medications?

Pharmacies and grocery stores are still open for business. However, the only reason to stock up is so that you have enough food in the house in case you are sick. However, be considerate at this time as many people are also buying essentials for their families – there is no reason to stockpile for more than you need. Keep any prescriptions filled before you run out from your current medication. If possible, get an additional month’s supply of your meds in advance in case there are supply chain interruptions (but speak to your pharmacist or doctor for more info).

What cleaning tips should I be following to safely disinfect my home?

Relying on regular household cleaners or soap and water for cleaning a kettle, other appliances, floors and surfaces is sufficient to remove common germs from surfaces. Afterwards, use a disinfectant such as diluted bleach to help kill any remaining germs. When washing cutting boards, thoroughly dry them with a cloth as damp patches can encourage germs. Wear disposable gloves whenever you wash the dishes or clean around the house, ensure that there is proper ventilation by opening windows, and (preferably) use a different cloth for every surface you clean. Toss clothes and sponges in the microwave for about 45 seconds minute to kill bacteria. Regular, consistently thorough personal hygiene at home is vital to slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Ensure there is plenty of soap available and that everyone in your home practices personal hygiene, and understand why it’s crucial.

Originally published