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Staying COVID-19 Safe When Socialising Inside Your Home

Although, it is advised that if possible you meet other people outside in order to safeguard against the coronavirus. For many countries, autumn and winter seasons are drawing in, and therefore it may become uncomfortable, or intolerable to gather outside. Many governments permit small gatherings inside of the home. In some cases, meeting in a controlled area such as a person’s garden or home, may be preferable to meeting in a busy public space such as a restaurant. However, many may be concerned about hosting a friend or family member in their home whilst the pandemic is still going on. Here are some safety measures that you can adopt to make sure you and your home are COVID-19 secure. It is important to say however, that visiting or hosting a friend or family member will always carry with it some risk. Therefore, it is important to strictly follow the guidelines of your area and ensure that you are being as safe as possible.

Disinfect
Regularly wiping down surface areas with bleach or an appropriate sanitiser used for COVID-19 is a good way of protecting yourself from any transference of the virus from surface areas. Prior to your guests visit, wipe any areas that a person may come into contact with in order to safeguard them. After your guest has left, it is also a good idea to disinfect any services that they have come into contact with during their visit. Special attention can be paid to highly touched surfaces such as door handles, banisters and bathrooms. If a guest, uses the bathroom, you can also place disinfectant materials inside the bathroom and ask guests to wipe down after usage. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers guidance and disinfectant recommendations on their website.

Face Masks
You are probably used to wearing a face mask in public areas, shops and so forth. When you are hosting a person from outside of your household, inside of the home, it is also a good idea to wear a mask. Staying at a distance of 2 m can often be tricky within smaller spaces, and if everyone wears a mask it may better limit the spread of respiratory droplets that could carry the coronavirus.

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Socially Distance
It is a good idea to try and maintain social distancing as much as possible. This may mean that you will want to rearrange your seating area, in order to separate persons as much as possible. Sitting close to other people on sofas will normally mean that a 1 to 2 m social distance cannot be maintained, so consider, if possible, introducing other chairs into the room to make space between individuals possible. Further, this will also mean you should try to avoid hugs and contact with persons outside of your household group.

Open the window
Some evidence suggests that keeping an area well ventilated will help to dissipate any airborne viruses that are lingering in the air. Poor ventilation has been linked in some cases to the spread of the virus. Therefore, opening a window during your interactions could also be beneficial.

Wash your Hands
It is important to stay vigilant, and although you are in your own home, treat the interaction as if you are outside or in a public space. Wash your hands frequently and regularly and avoid contact with your face, particularly the eyes, nose, and mouth. Also avoid contact with any objects that your guest has touched, wiping down and washing your hands after touching any utensils.

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Go outside
If possible, it really is recommended that you socialize outside. Although, this may not always be as comfortable as inside, research suggests that this is best practice. You may opt for a socially distanced walk as you catch up with a friend. Or, simply sitting outside at a social assistance, with masks, as you socialize. If the weather is bad, consider rearranging to a different day.

According to Time, several experts indicate that outdoor interactions are better, “Patricia Rieker, a medical sociologist at Boston University, adds that one-on-one meetings are safer than group gatherings. She invited one friend to her condo building’s outdoor area over the weekend, but only after wiping down their chairs and placing them 10 feet apart and finding a way for her friend to get into the common area without entering her home. They also wore masks. “It took me 45 minutes to prepare for that to happen safely,” Rieker says. “You can’t do anything in a way that I would call spontaneous.”

Trust
It is important that you invite those friends and family members into your homes that you trust, in the sense that you know they are taking social distancing protocols seriously and therefore your assumed level of exposure is a little lower. Obviously, you cannot always tell who has contracted the virus but it is reassuring to know that the people you are interacting with also taking restrictions seriously and is therefore safeguarding against the virus.

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