Before you read this, know that it’s impossible to always know the exact right thing to do when it comes to COVID-19. You’re a responsible parent, and yet, with information being updated at lightning speed, it’s been difficult to keep up with all the rules and recommendations. Thankfully, the infectious disease experts at UC Davis are exposing some of the biggest misinformation that’s been spreading about COVID and how to keep your family safe.
Read on for the mistakes you might be making and learn how to change your behavior to benefit yourself and everyone around you!
Calm Down with the Wipe Downs
“Stop focusing on contact transmission,” said Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “That is not a primary route of infection. The primary route is respiratory. If people would focus more on masks and social distancing and less on sanitizing surfaces, we could get this surge of infections to die down quickly.”
Yes, it is possible for the virus to be on surfaces, but this isn’t the main way it is transmitted. So even though it might make you feel better to walk around with a sprayer and paper towels, the focus really should be on wearing a mask, staying six feet apart and not touching your face.
As for how long a disinfectant needs to stay on a surface to be effective, UC Davis experts say it needs to be longer than a quick spray and wipe.
“A lot of us give something a quick swipe and think we’ve disinfected it,” said Natascha Tuznik, a UC Davis Health assistant clinical professor of infectious diseases. “I don’t know of any product that gets it done with just a swipe.”
In order for most cleaners to be effective, they need to be left on the surface for at least a minute – and in some cases longer.
Still, the experts stress that less attention be paid to wiping down surfaces and more to the way we know people spread and catch coronavirus – through the air.
Not a Fan of Fans
Those giant floor fans that you see in gyms are a recipe for disaster because they help spread particles in the air, say the UC Davis experts.
“They create a focused blast that pushes air and the virus a long way,” says Tuznik. “A number of studies show you can get infected at a good distance because of those.”
Those giant fans are also sometimes found in large venues and even at outdoor restaurants, so be on the lookout.
“Air flow is good, that’s why outdoor activities are safer,” Tuznik says. “But those fans are bad news. When you see one, go somewhere else.”
Pass on the Filter Ports
“Those should be banned,” Tuznik said. “Unfortunately, I see them advertised everywhere. They’re designed for people working around caustic fumes or chemicals and they force out the air you’re breathing through the port.”
When you wear this type of mask, you are actually contributing to propelling your breath even further through the air, potentially getting someone else sick.
“When I see someone wearing those masks, I walk the other way,” she said.
Also worth noting – N95 masks with a filter in the middle do not prevent the wearer from spreading the virus. The air coming in through the mask gets filtered, but not the air going out.
There are so many other mistakes people are making when it comes to COVID, such as wearing gloves in public which is not necessary. (And you can still get the virus if you touch something with your gloved hand and then touch your face!).