IMPORTANCE OF DISINFECTING/SANITIZING YOUR SPACE
As all of us have come to realize during these distressing times, the importance of hygiene and sanitation cannot be overstressed. The health, safety, and life of every human being on the planet are being threatened by the novel coronavirus called COVID-19. In such times, every individual is obligated to act responsibly and consciously. A single person’s irresponsible/ignorant behavior could snowball into a disaster for an entire community. Preventive action is the need of the hour in our collective battle against this invisible invader.
A lot of awareness has been created in the proper ways to wash our hands, how to use personal protective equipment, the importance of social distancing and isolation of suspected/confirmed cases. All these are vital aspects of our fight against this common enemy. But in this article, I would like to focus on the significance of the proper disinfection of our living spaces.
Cleaning vs disinfecting a surface
Cleaning is a general term used to indicate the process of removing dirt, dust, stain and other visible contaminants from a surface or object. It may or may not remove harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It’s effective in creating a pleasing environment but quite inefficient to stop the spread of disease-causing germs. Disinfection is the process of using specialized chemicals to kill invisible germs. Some disinfectants kill bacteria and fungi but not viruses. We need to be careful and read the fine print while choosing the chemical used for disinfection considering our current needs. In the current scenario of the COVID – 19 pandemic, we need to look for disinfectants that will kill viruses.
Chemicals effective against corona-virus
The disinfectant should be diluted with water in a 1:4 ratio. It should be left on the surfaces for a minimum of 10 minutes. Alcohol-based disinfectants can be used but make sure that there is a minimum 70% alcohol concentration. Hydrogen peroxide is also effective against coronavirus. Note that disinfectants should be left on the surfaces long enough for them to be effective. An often committed mistake is to wipe off the disinfectant as soon as they are applied. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for dilution, application and contact times for all detergents and disinfectants. Vinegar, tea tree oil, and other natural products are not recommended for fighting coronaviruses.
Situations requiring disinfection
Proper and regular sanitation of our homes and offices will help mitigate the spread of the virus via asymptomatic persons. Disinfecting frequent touchpoints such as doorknobs, switches, door handles, counters, and desk surfaces with DHA approved chemicals reduces the chance of infection significantly. This is an absolute necessity in places with high footfall counts such as offices, supermarkets, and other public places. Homes should be disinfected regularly especially if someone is sick with symptoms similar to the flu. In the unfortunate circumstance of a person testing positive for COVID-19, intensive deep cleaning and disinfection should be done throughout the house.