It’s no secret that grocery shopping has become a bit of a challenge since the outbreak reached home. What used to be considered mundane is now a difficult task. It’s one of the few things required still, and in that way, it remains dangerous. There is always a possibility that we can become exposed while shopping for food. Grocery stores have instilled certain measures in order to make shopping more safe, but there is still a risk. However, there are things we can do as individuals to protect ourselves against the virus that is sweeping the globe.
First, although it may seem fairly straightforward, consider if you actually need to go shopping. As a nation, we have been told to stay home as much as possible. This means that we should be rationing food when we can, in order to avoid any extra, unnecessary exposure. Particularly, try to keep grocery runs to once every one to two weeks. This means you may have to shop heavy when you do make it to the store, but it will ultimately be worth it.
Second, wear gloves and a face mask. Again, this is probably common sense, but the simple truth remains that not everyone has access to these products. In these cases, don’t be afraid to recycle old clothes, pillow cases or sheets. These can be used to make your own face mask, which truly will make all the difference when you’re in a public place. As for gloves, these would be much more difficult to fashion by hand, for obvious reasons. Even if you don’t have access to latex gloves, though, there are still many options for you. First, don’t be afraid to use your dishwashing gloves from under the sink. Yes, you may look funny wearing them out in public, but that’s a small price to pay for you and your family’s health. Second, if you have winter gloves lying around somewhere, these can be a viable option as well. They are trickier, and would need to be thrown in the laundry after each use, but if you have nothing else, consider using them, for sure. Wearing gloves helps us to be more conscious of what we touch, but always make sure to take your gloves off before touching your face, your car keys, door or wheel. Otherwise, they have lost their purpose. Keep in mind, too, that gloves aren’t seen as a necessity like face masks are. As long as you are washing and sanitizing before and after entering the store, you should be fine.
Third, shop alone if possible. This may be difficult, especially if you’re now stacking your cart to the brim during each trip, but it’s important to reduce the risk. And the less people there are in grocery stores, the lower the risk. So, designate a person in your household to do the food shopping, and let them take care of it. There are other ways you can help with the groceries.
When your designated shopper comes home, they’re probably going to be tired, and they will likely want to throw their clothes in the laundry and take a shower. The unpacking is a process itself, and one which should be handled just as seriously as going to the store. So, here it is. Designate someone to touch and clean the “dirty” groceries. This should probably be the person who went to the store, but it really doesn’t make much of a difference. This person should take a cap full of bleach, and mix it with some soap in a tub of hot water. They will take each product, dunk them, then rinse. Someone with “clean” hands should be drying with a clean towel when done and can then put away the groceries. With cardboard, instead of dunking it into the tub, wipe it down with a towel that has been dipped into the wash. Dry it immediately after. For fruit, DO NOT under any circumstances dunk into the bleach wash.
This process will seem long and a bit tedious, but what’s the harm? It may just make all the difference. So be sure to wash up after touching all the groceries and to wipe down any surfaces they touch. Stay safe, and be careful.
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Samantha Bertolini is a contributor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.