With the CVOID-19 pandemic increasing the risk of everyday activities, especially where social distancing cannot be practiced effectively. Grocery shopping in particular is a necessity that exposes you to a number of people, but which cannot be avoided. However, taking a few extra precautions while shopping can prevent infection and minimize the danger to your health.
The first step is to plan your shopping trips. Try to make big shopping trips once every one to two weeks, rather than smaller shopping trips every few days, as the less time spent out the house, the lower the risk of infection. Unless you are missing essential items (such as water), try to get by with what you have and plan a big shopping trip for later. If possible, try shopping during off-peak hours and buying as many items as you can from one store, rather than visiting multiple ones. Leave your children at home. Delivery may be a better option if it’s available: this helps reduce the number of people going into stores and touching things, and helps people follow social distancing rules. It also helps reduce the spread of COVID 19 from people who are infected but don’t show symptoms.
After you have left the house, a face mask is essential. You can either buy facemasks from local pharmacies or make your own. As for other coverings, wear gloves if they are required by the store, but generally speaking they are not necessary to prevent infection. Use hand sanitizer both when entering leaving the store on your hands and the handles of shopping carts/baskets, and try to keep as much distance as possible from fellow shoppers. Touch only what you are going to buy and remember never to touch your face.
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when you get home. Clean your food packages with soap and water, or throw out the outer package altogether and then wash your hands. Do not use bleach on your produce (fruit and vegetables) as it contains harmful chemicals. There is currently no evidence that people can catch COVID-19 from food. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and the transmission route is through person-to-person contact and through direct contact with respiratory droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
With these simple precautions, you should be safe from infection as long as you are also practicing social distancing and other forms of staying safe.
Zeina Nakat, M.S., L.D.
Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences