Avoid Bringing COVID-19 Home With This Doctor's Comprehensive Checklist

Avoid Bringing COVID-19 Home With This Doctor's Comprehensive Checklist

Need to leave the house but afraid to bring COVID-19 home? Here's what you'll need to do.

As we move towards the end of week 2 of the circuit breaker, prevention measures continue to be in full force. In fact, the government has now made it compulsory for everyone to wear a mask when going out—with the exception of children below two and when engaging in strenuous exercise. Avoid bringing COVID-19 home

Although we are repeatedly advised to stay home, there are times when we have to head out for the necessary, such as to get food, essentials, and commute to work—for those who are not able to work from home. 

In such a situation, how can we then guard ourselves against COVID-19 upon leaving our homes so that we do not compromise the health of our loved ones after we return? 

In efforts to tackle this situation, Dr Bill Griggs, the former trauma services director of The Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia, has come up with a detailed checklist of best practices to minimise risks of bringing COVID-19 home. 

Dr Griggs breaks it down into three key sections: leaving home, while outside and arriving home. 

Comprehensive Checklist to Avoid bringing COVID-19 home

What to consider when leaving home

1) Avoid putting on watches and jewellery

Dr Griggs advises keeping the arm area free so that you can wash your hands properly, especially in hard to reach areas (e.g. if you’re wearing a ring).

2) Leave wallet/handbag at home

The fewer things you carry on you, the better. 

3) Have a common plastic box or container outside your house

If you are driving, contain all the items you might need in a common plastic box or container. Whatever you pick out will remain in the box—this is to avoid potential spread to other areas. 

4) Place phone in a ziplock bag (or other personal belongings)

When not in use, keep your phone in a clear ziplock bag. 

5) Place credit card & Photo ID into a ziplock bag 

Now that you don’t have your wallet on you, essential items such as your credit card and licenses should be placed into a clear ziplock bag. 

6) Wear enclosed shoes

Avoid open-toe shoes or sandals. Ensure that your shoes are always left outside your house, and when you are putting them on. 

Avoid bringing COVID-19 home

Avoid bringing COVID-19 home: always leave your shoes outside of your house, before and after. | Photo: iStock

7) Take your own food to work

Prepare your own takeaway in a disposable bag. 

What to do while you’re out

8) No social media

It is best to minimise phone usage while you are out according to Dr Griggs. Social media can wait. 

9) Avoid touching your face

This is often emphasised on but not easy to follow. Now that it is mandatory to put on masks as long as you are outdoors, you might subconsciously try to adjust your mask.

Tip: Be mindful about it. Keep a bottle of hand sanitiser within reach to sanitise your hands before making the adjustments. 

10) Assume all items are contaminated

A great way to be more conscious of what you touch is to assume that all items are contaminated.

  • “Choose with your eyes” said Dr Griggs, when planning to buy something instead of picking it up straight away. 
  • Be mindful of frequently touched items such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, supermarket carts, ATM keypad etc.

A tip from Dr Griggs: use your pinky finger to press on the buttons than with your thumb or index finger

Avoid Bringing COVID-19 Home With This Doctor's Comprehensive Checklist

Avoid pressing onto ATM buttons with your index finger or thumb. | Photo: iStock

11) Push door with feet

Whenever possible, open doors using your feet or elbows instead of pushing or grabbing onto the handle bars.

12) Avoid eating in communal spaces

While we can’t do so anyway due to the circuit breaker measures, it would be wise to heed Dr. Griggs advice even after the crucial period. 

13) Reduce itch on face with upper arms

If you really have to get rid of the itch on your face, use your upper arms to rub your face or use a tissue rather than directing touching it. 

14) Wash and sanitise your hands often

15) Avoid using cash 

Always opt for contactless payments where you do not have to type onto a keypad. 

What to do when arriving home

16) No hugs or close greetings

It can be easily forgotten but avoid any hugs or close greeting with loved ones upon reaching home. 

16) Wash hands thoroughly

Dr Griggs said that he chooses to enter a door that takes him to the laundry where a sink is available (if applicable for certain households). 

17) Clean all items on you 

Take your ziplock bags that you have brought out earlier for washing. And as mentioned earlier if you have placed a container in your car with the essential items, do also take it out for washing or discard it completely. 

18) Wipe down your car

If you used a car, be sure to clean the steering wheel, door handles, and other areas you might have touched.

While these steps might seem like a handful to actually commit to, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Try including some of these in your daily routine, and step it up as you go along. It’ll be worth it knowing that you can protect your loved ones by being socially responsible.

Avoid bringing COVID-19 home

Avoid bringing COVID-19 home: whether it is your doorknobs at home or your car handles, wipe them down thoroughly. | Photo: iStock

Still, the advise stays: avoid leaving home if possible.   

Watch the full video here:

ALSO READ: Is There a Need to Disinfect Groceries? No Says WHO

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Written by

Jia Ling

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