Champaign-Urbana area essential workers share some of the precautions they take to protect their own families: “Just assume everything on that person and everything they have touched is contaminated”
Many families in our community are sending one or more members out to work at essential jobs during Illinois’s Stay At Home restrictions. They do not have the luxury of avoiding outside contact, and by extension, neither do the rest of the people in their households.
So we asked our readers with essential workers in their families, “What general precautions are you taking within your home?”
We were blown away by how many of you took time out of your hectic and stressful lives to answer. Not only did you share advice, but you thanked other people for taking the same risks as you. You all are the class of Champaign-Urbana and it shows in everything you are doing right now, including how you are safeguarding your families.
Reader advice on precautions fell into several general categories:
- Clothes/shoes: work outfits are not worn at home!
- Laundry: So. Much. Laundry.
- Work bag: other work items do not come into the home
- Disinfect common surfaces: like your phones! as well as light switches, doorknobs, fridge handles, remotes, etc.
- Separation: if you are able, use separate bathroom, change clothes in garage
(Unexpected real estate tidbit: it just became a selling point to have no windows in your garage. Who knew??)
We’ve reprinted more detailed answers below.
Please note: the following information comes from chambanamoms.com readers working at jobs with varying risk levels, and reflects their personal experience; it is not professionally vetted advice. Chambanamoms.com is passing along our reader suggestions as a community resource only; neither we nor our readers are liable for these recommendations.
Please consult public health websites — the CDC, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Districtwebsite and Facebook page — for the most up-to-date information relating to the novel coronavirus.
Here’s to your health, Champaign-Urbana: eat well, get plenty of sleep, and WASH YOUR HANDS!
“I work a COVID unit. Things to do:
- Take a change of clothes and shoes to work in a plastic bag. After shift, strip in a bathroom and wash your hands/arms and put on the “clean” clothes. Leave your work shoes at work. Put the dirty clothes in the bag.
- When I get home I leave my shoes in the garage for good measure and strip again, throwing all clothes straight into the wash and zip into the shower. Wash clothes in HOT water. Dry on HIGH heat.
- I like to disinfect my phone with a bleach solution on a rag twice daily and doorknobs once daily.
- Windows open or run the furnace fan. Get the air in your home circulating.
- Change your furnace filter. It’s about that time.
- My kids and I take a local honey/elderberry concentrate mixture. We do this every year through flu season and maybe it’s a placebo but… It’s tasty and my granny swears by it.”
“I switch shoes at my car and keep them in a container. When I go home from work I immediately change clothes and shower. I have a different bag for the things I need to take into work and that bag doesn’t come in the house. I clean my cell phone before I leave work and when I get home. While I’m at work I always disinfect my workspace/computer/work phone at the start of my day and as needed if other people use it. Other than that just lots of hand washing and cleaning those frequently touched surfaces at home.”
“We turned our downstairs bathroom/shower into a clothing quarantine area. Clothes are promptly removed and placed in there. Same with shoes. Laptop and phone are cleaned upon entering and then hands washed. Just assume everything on that person and everything they have touched is contaminated. Oh, and bleach/clean doorknobs from outside. And I assume my car is contaminated at this point. But after 3 to 4 days after using it I consider it ‘clean.'”
“At home we wipe down the highly touched surfaces every morning (light switches, remotes, handles, door knobs, etc). My husband, who is working, showers before he comes home each day and puts his laundry in a plastic bag. He is the only one that touches that bag and does his own laundry. He also tries to only use the master bathroom and touch as little as possible.”
“My husband showers and changes his clothes as soon as he gets home and cleans his workplace and phone throughout the day, as well as before he gets home. His dirty clothes go straight into the wash so no one else has to handle them. Shoes stay in the garage.”
“I’d like to add..take good care of your health. Eat healthy, take vitamins, have a good sleep when you can (that’s for everyone in the family). Stay safe! – from a wife of an essential healthcare worker”
“Husband is an RN. Everything off in the garage, and showers. And lots of cleaning things in the house, light switches, doorknobs, fridge, etc.”
“My husband has been allowed to wear scrubs when he’s doing patient care which helps a lot. He leaves any non-essential items in his car and leaves his shoes in the garage. He puts clothes directly into the washer, then I yell at him 20 times not to touch anything on his way to the shower. I disinfect doorknobs and his phone directly after he comes home. After a shower, business as usual and hope for the best! Our 5- and 2-year-olds don’t get “social distancing” so we don’t even try. If he shows any glimpse of symptoms, he’ll be staying in the guest room in strict isolation and I’ll turn into a crazy disinfectant mama bear. Thank you to everyone out still working in public and taking on additional risks to yourself and loved ones!” ❤️
“My online car service recommended I wipe down interior car areas with alcohol wipes — not to use anything with bleach. I happen to have several bottles of isopropyl so I made my own wipes by folding up some paper towels, putting them in a sandwich bag, and pouring in enough alcohol to make them damp. Works great on the steering wheel plus cleans my hands.”
“Change uniform and shoes at work before coming home. Once home uniform is placed into the washer. Take a shower before doing anything else.”
“Essential worker here. My kids have to go to daycare too. We are changing out of our clothes as soon as we get home and we are bathing. I have also been cleaning hard surfaces with bleach wipes. Virtual hugs to you and your family.”
“My husband changes his clothes immediately. His work shoes don’t come home. He changes them. We wipe down all high touch areas at least once a day if not more. Lots of praying. ;)”
“Anything that I am wearing at work goes straight into the washer. Hot shower. Phone gets cloroxed. Work bag stays in my trunk. Shoes stay in the garage. AND, driver’s seat & steering wheel gets Lysoled. We’ll all get through this.”
“Change my clothes when I get to work, change back when I leave, UV my badge and phone before I leave, wash my hands all day after each patient or touching a door, change again in the garage, put my clothes in a plastic bag before entering the house, shower.”
“My husband takes off his boots in the garage and Lysols them and leaves them there. We have a bin where his keys, pocket knife and wallet go (also in the garage). He uses hand sanitizer and then an alcohol wipe on his phone and then comes in to shower. I make sure the washer is empty so his clothes go straight in! I should also mention that he packs a breakfast and lunch every day. (No more fast food or gas stations except when he actually needs fuel.)”
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