How to Shop Safely During COVID-19
Many consumers are trying to avoid visiting grocery stores entirely, by turning to delivery services.But whether you buy groceries online or in stores, there are several steps that you can take to limit your exposure to coronavirus.
- Wash nonporous containers. Wipe down non-porous containers like glass or cans with disinfectant wipes.
If that’s not practical, wash your hands well after putting away all packaging, including paper boxes and bags. It also doesn’t hurt to wash your hands after opening the containers and using their contents. If you use a pasta box a few days after you get it, there is little likelihood that the virus could still be live on the box and cause an infection. Preliminary studies have shown that the coronavirus does not survive on cardboard greater than 24 hours.
- Wash your hands, counter, and other surfaces you’ve touched. Do this after you’ve put away the groceries.
- Wash produce. Rubbing fruit and vegetables under running water—and scrubbing those with hard skins—can help remove pesticides. There’s no data to show that COVID-19 is spread by consuming food.
If you’re getting your groceries delivered follow these steps when ordering deliveries:
- Avoid a direct hand-off. Arrange to have the items delivered to your doorstep or a place nearby.
- Tip electronically.
- Order earlier than you usually do. You may find that in the midst of higher demand you have to wait longer to find a delivery slot.
If you’re picking up prepacked groceries:
The steps are basically the same for this option as for delivery. If you’ve ordered and are merely having someone put the groceries in your car in a parking lot consider opening your car door yourself rather than having the person bringing the items to your car touch the handle.
If you’re buying groceries in a store:
- A key way to prevent the virus’s spread is to stay 6 feet away from other people. Such “social distancing” is a good strategy in any situation outside the home.
- Go shopping at a time that’s less busy.
- Wear a face covering.
- Take germicide with you. Use it to wipe your hands and the cart before and after you shop.
- Use a credit or debit card. That way, you don’t have to hand over bills or receive change.
- Use a virtual payment system like Apple Pay so that you don’t have to open your wallet at all.
If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, it’s important to call your doctor for immediate testing.
Dr. Mahesh Ochaney is a solo practitioner who has been practicing Internal Medicine since 1991. Dr. Ochaney’s compassionate primary care has been recognized several times over the years, including being named a 2018 Top Doctor by Baltimore Magazine and receiving a State of Maryland Governor’s Citation.