With the current pandemic, there are concerns about picking up COVID-19 from infected cough/sneeze droplets left on grocery store items, hand-delivered food/groceries, and take-out from local restaurants. Here are some simple tips to limit your exposure when bringing food and goods into your home from grocery stores and deliveries.
When shopping, use a sanitizing wipe on your hands and the shopping cart before and after you shop. At the register, use a credit card, so you don’t have to interact with the cashier’s hands directly. At home, dispose of plastic shopping bags, delivery boxes, and other packaging materials. Then wash your hands.
Wash all nonporous containers like glass, cans, and unopened plastic bags with soapy water or wipe thoroughly with disinfectant wipes before you put them away in the refrigerator and cabinets. Wash all fresh produce under running water, including items with a peel like bananas, oranges, and avocados. As a natural cleanser, you can spray produce with a mixture of half water, half white vinegar before rinsing.
Sanitize counter tops, handles (on doors, cabinets, sinks, and kitchen appliances), and any other surfaces you touched while unpacking, washing, and putting the groceries away.
If prepared meals are being picked up or delivered to your home, avoid direct hand-offs if possible. Have groceries and other deliveries left at your door. Tip electronically when possible.
Wash your hands before you eat or prepare food.
Cancer patients and those who prepare food for them should follow food safety guidelines. Due to your compromised immune system, it’s essential to avoid infection from dirty hands, under cooked foods, unwashed produce, unpasteurized foods, and unsanitary kitchen environments. To learn more, I recommend reading the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s guide, Food Safety for People with Cancer.
Reduce Your Stress!
What else can you do to support your immune system while you’re staying home and practicing social distancing? Getting enough sleep (6 to 8 hours each night) can lower the stress hormone cortisol, which suppresses immune function.
Also, moderate activity can eliminate toxins, reduce your stress, and improve your appetite. Take a walk in your neighborhood or follow an exercise or yoga video to help you manage the additional stress and anxiety you’re dealing with these days.