COVID-19 has made it mandatory for the world to stay home. As social isolation and distancing is slowly becoming the norm, people are actively avoiding crowds at grocery stores in favor of online shopping. However, the packages you receive online aren’t germ free. Having changed hands with several people on its way to your door, how careful should you be? As a physician, Dr. Jan McBarron understands consumers’ fear around package delivery. Outlining the precautions you should be taking, Jan McBarron is here to put your mind at ease during this stressful time.

Knowing What to Expect 

With all non-essential services being shut down, there is concern, especially among higher-risk groups, around visiting grocery stores. With supplies in high demand, not only might you not get the products you are looking for, but you may also come into contact with dozens, if not hundreds of other people. For many, Jan McBarron explains that this has made online shopping extremely appealing. Allowing individuals to self-isolate, online shipping minimizes your contact with others and provides you with everything you need with the click of a button. As a result, both Walmart and Amazon are currently hiring temporary staff to meet the increased demand. But is online shopping a safe alternative to slow the spread of COVID-19?

New research from the NIH shows that COVID-19 lives for 24 hours on cardboard and 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel. This means that if you are able, you can leave your package outside for the allotted 24 hours before bringing it into your home to reduce your risk. The CDC looked at previous coronaviruses and explained that because of poor survivability on surfaces, there is likely a low risk or spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. 

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

The CDC doesn’t provide an outline on disinfecting packages, but rather suggests washing hands frequently and avoiding close contact with people. Transmitted primarily through ‘respiratory droplets’ between people who are within 6 feet of one another, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that there is no evidence that COVID-19 is spread through environmental exposures. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need to be cautious. Jan McBarron explains that especially if you are in a higher-risk group, you will want to immediately dispose of the package outside of your home and wash your hands immediately after handling. Depending on how the product is packaged, you may also want to use a disinfectant spray to clean the exterior of the product itself.

When a product is delivered, you can ask the delivery driver to leave the package on the step, and ensure you are always at least 6 feet away from them. Despite the rising demand, all online delivery services are continuing with minimal interruption, aside from packages going to and from China. As workers continue to provide prompt and immediate service for your home deliveries, Jan McBarron wants to remind you to be kind, be cautious, and always practice good hygiene when you touch things that other people have touched. Paranoia is not advisable however if you assume every one may be infected, you will be diligent in maintain good health practices to avoid getting sick.

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