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Covid-19 pandemic: Going out to get groceries? Here’s what you need to keep in mind

Updated on:13 April 2020, 10:04am IST
Have you ever wondered how many people must have touched the grocery that you have got in your home? Don’t let the covid-19 fears get to you, and keep these tips in mind.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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From you to the grocery you have bought, everything needs to be sterilized. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

There are many things that we can avoid while we’re living in lockdown, but getting groceries and other essentials is necessary. But have you ever wondered whether the bags, packaging, veggies, and fruits that you are touching are SARS-CoV-2 free or not? 

Given the number of studies that talk about how long the covid-19 virus can survive on different surfaces, this question is understandable. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, coronavirus can live on cardboard for an hour. On metal and plastic, it can last for at least three days. That’s scary, given how mostly everything comes in plastic packaging. 

While we cannot stop going out to get groceries, there are a few steps we can take to ensure that we reduce our risk of getting covid-19. Here is what Dr Gowri Kulkarni, a family medicine specialist and head of medical operations at DocsApp, suggests:

1. Don’t step out without wearing a mask.

novel coronavirus
Place your bet on N95 mask if you want to stay away from the havoc of novel coronavirus. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

2. Plan your grocery shopping in such a way that you don’t have to rush out every day. Limit your visits as much as possible.

3. Keep a sanitizer handy. And if you have to employ a shopping cart, then use the sanitizer to wipe the handle.

4. Don’t spend too much time in the supermarket or grocery shop.

5. If you have flu-like symptoms, then avoid going out.

6. Don’t let the elderly in your family go out for grocery shopping as they are at high risk.

Now that you know how to reduce your risk while stepping out, let’s discuss what you should with the groceries you’ll buy.

covid-19 survivors
Don’t let your old parents go out for any grocery shopping. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Don’t bring what you have bought straight into your home
According to the National Institute of Health, you should leave your grocery bag at your doorstep for at least 3 days. The Institute also suggests you can keep the grocery on your terrace, garage, or on the stairs where animals can’t access them.   

“As soon as you enter your house, sterilize yourself by cleaning your hands for 20 to 30 seconds. Also, change your clothes,” suggests Dr Kulkarni.   

Now it’s time to sterilise the grocery you’ve shopped for 

Sterilize the place where you will keep the grocery
The CDC recommends that you sterilize the table or slab where you will keep the grocery. You can use a regular disinfectant to clean the table. Create a partition, one for the grocery you have just bought and other for the one which is sanitized.

Dispose things like cardboard, plastic bags, and such
Products like cornflakes come in double packaging. So, you can easily dispose of the cardboard box and just keep the inside packing in your kitchen as there are lesser chances of it being touched by someone who is covid-19 positive

Tip: If you use a cloth bag, dip it in disinfectant to kill germs. 

Also, read: Worried that your latest online delivery might give you covid-19? Well, listen to these doctors and relax

You can use sanitizer or disinfectant for some of the products
CDC also recommends that you use sanitizer or disinfectant on some of the products-like those in plastic packaging.  

alcohol cure for coronavirus
You can use normal alcohol-based sanitizer for the products. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Sanitize your veggies and fruits too
“You don’t have to use a disinfectant or soap for sanitizing vegetables and fruits. All you need to do is soak them in water for a while and then put them under running water and clean them properly with your hands,” suggests Dr Kulkarni. 

So, this is it people: these practical steps can help you combat a covid-19 infection and prevent it from entering your home.

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.