Are You Worried About Bringing COVID-19 Home From Work? Here’s What You Can Do To Protect You And Your Family
July 23, 2020
If you’re worried about the possibility of spreading COVID-19 to your loved ones, you’re not alone!
With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continuing to rise on a daily basis, it’s almost impossible not to worry about contracting the coronavirus. Even worse, is the fear that if you do catch it, you might accidentally spread it to a family member, such as a young child or elderly parent. Yet, staying home isn’t an option for most people. And, if you’re working in a high risk area, the threat of contracting and spreading COVID-19 is even more real.
We hear the harsh realities of frontline workers, such as nurses and doctors, who are not only at risk for contracting COVID-19, but also have to remain isolated from their families for weeks and months at a time to prevent spreading the virus to them. Some frontline workers have resorted to living in trailers in front of their homes or staying in makeshift accommodations in the hospital parking lot.[*] Others have taken equally unsettling measures, staying in hotels, sleeping in their cars, and sending their children to live with other family members.[*]
However, it’s not just the frontline workers who need to worry about potentially spreading COVID-19 to their family members. People in just about every sector of the economy, from restaurant workers to bankers and waste collectors to taxi drivers, are at risk of contracting and spreading the virus. Workplaces, such as offices and factories, are excellent places for a virus to spread with everyone in close proximity, often sharing community spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms.[*] And, as a result, the thought of spreading the virus to our family members is something that we all have to worry about.
This has a lot of people asking the question: ‘What precautions can I take at my workplace to prevent contracting and spreading the coronavirus?’ There are certain things that we can all do to lower our risks of contracting COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, maintaining good personal hygiene, washing our hands regularly, and practicing social distancing. But there are even greater measures we can take to help prevent us from getting and spreading COVID-19.
Here are some additional steps you can add to your routine to keep yourself and your family safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Monitor Your Health
- Not only should you be keeping your overall health and immunity in check through proper diet and exercise, you could also start taking your temperature on a daily basis and be on the lookout for any signs of respiratory problems.[*]
Practice Proper Personal Hygiene
- An important part of protecting you and your family is to be sure everyone is practicing good personal hygiene. Showering regularly will help eliminate possible viruses and bacteria from your body and hair.
- Implementing a sinus rinse could help remove any bacteria or viruses that may have entered into your nasal passages, possibly reducing your risk for infection.
- And, of course, wash your hands frequently, especially after touching surfaces that could be potentially contaminated.
Clean and Disinfect Your Home
- Clean and disinfect high-traffic areas in your home, such as doorknobs, light switches, countertops, tables, toilets, faucets, sinks, and electronics on a daily basis. For best practices, follow the guidelines set out by the CDC.[*]
Take Necessary Precautions
- If you have longer hair, consider tying it back and keeping it out of your face.
- Wear glasses instead of contacts when possible as they can add an extra layer of protection for your eyes.
- Get a clean set of clothes and shoes ready to change into after work. If possible, try to change at work or in a well ventilated area like a garage.
- Bring a washable bag to store your work clothes in before you return home.
- Prepare some disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer so you can easily access them. Bring some along in your bag or put them in your car so they’re always with you.
- Prepare an extra disposable mask and latex gloves in case you end up needing them.
- Minimize how much you bring home with you. Leave things like your shoes at work or in your trunk when possible. Take your lunch in a disposable bag so you aren’t returning home with a lunchbox.
Stay Safe At Work
- Often disinfect items that are regularly used, such as phones, computers, door knobs, eyewear, and other work supplies.
- Avoid handshakes and high-fives with coworkers. Practice physical distancing in the workplace.
- Disinfect work stations as required. Disinfect your eating area before and after your meal. And wash your hands after touching any potentially contaminated surface.
- Always wear your personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves, as required to keep you safe and protected.
Follow A Post Work Routine
- If possible, shower and change into clean clothes before heading home. Put your work clothes and other items into a washable bag and put them in the laundry when you get home.
- If not possible, change your clothes in an area such as the garage and put them in the laundry immediately.
- Wash and sanitize your hands after changing out of your work clothes and before touching your new clothes.
- Leave your work shoes at work or in your trunk when possible. Spray them with a disinfectant for extra caution.
- Isolate from other family members if necessary. Identify spaces, such as a guest room, where you can remain separated from others or maintain your distance and avoid contact.
Be aware of your personal risk while at work. Consider how often you come into contact with people and avoid unnecessary physical interactions. Look for areas and opportunities to decrease potential exposure. Frequently disinfect high-traffic community areas like the kitchen and bathroom, entrances and exits, and shared workspaces. Avoid bringing any potential threats home by having a plan in place to help keep everyone safe.