In times of exceptional procedures, social distance is the law, but it is not enough.
Here are some tips for you to go shopping safely, now that going to the supermarket is one of the few things allowed. First of all, it is important to remember that COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, not a stomach one. The danger of contagion is not in the consumption of food on supermarket shelves and displays, but in the fact that they may have been handled by someone infected on the way there.
You can ask yourself how many people will have touched the jar of jam or the bottle of carbonated water in the trough to put it in the shopping cart. However, hygiene and food safety rules, which were already recommended before the pandemic, must be strictly adhered to, because food products can carry other microorganisms that cause toxic infections. Among the precautions to be taken, we highlight washing the food that you will consume raw and cooking the rest properly. Do not add raw and cooked food to avoid cross-contamination. Do not share food, cutlery, plates, and glasses, among others. If food is left over, place it as soon as possible in the refrigerator, where it can be kept for up to three days. If you do not expect to consume within this period, freeze. The idea is, above all, not to waste.
At a time when you want a strong immune system to fight any threat, it is important to follow all rules and precautions to stay healthy, not least because health services are under pressure, with great difficulty (even more than usual) in giving the answer. This article guides you through safety measures to go grocery shopping during this outbreak.
Do You Feel Sick? Do Not Leave!
Experts advise that the first condition to go shopping is to be in good health since anyone can infect others without knowing it. And they don’t just refer to the coronavirus here!
Make Purchases in the Shortest Possible Time
Experts advise you to make a list of missing products in advance so as not to prolong your visit to the supermarket while thinking about what you need. Preferably take your own bag to collect your purchases since the cars and baskets available at the supermarket may not have been perfectly disinfected.
Procedures for Your Protection
Valid in all situations is the need to maintain a safety distance of at least 1.5 meters, as recommended by the World Health Organization. “You shouldn’t breathe on food and you shouldn’t place your hands on your face until you leave home and after the disinfection has been done upon your return.”, says Alvaro M. Aranda, prepper at Boomessays.com. When paying, try to do it without cash because it is an exceptional transmitter of microorganisms and the coronavirus survives up to four hours on the surface of coins.
Mask and Gloves
Pay attention to the procedures practiced in the stores where you do your shopping. If the establishment where you usually shop does not follow the prevention rules, go shopping elsewhere. As it is assumed that you are not sick when you go shopping, you do not need to wear a mask. So why do many shopkeepers use them? It is their decision, but it has the danger of giving a false sense of protection. The same could happen to you. You have the advantage of taking handkerchiefs soaked in disinfectant to pass through your hands when you finish shopping and on the car door handle, before entering it and if you have not been on foot.
Don’t Touch Your Face!
You can’t touch your face, scratch your nose, or rub your eyes until you’ve come home to wash and disinfect your hands. Think of the number of people who may have touched the product you just purchased.
Look for Automatic Options
Some establishments have doors that open automatically, taps, and automatic soap dishes or other equipment where hands are not required. Whenever possible, these are the best options for use, and not just at a time of the pandemic. Investing in these options can also be of great use in homes.
Be Careful with Your Phone
Nowadays, cell phones are always within reach. However, supporting them on shared tables or taking them to public restrooms is not the best option for the moment. The less you expose your smartphone, the less worry about cleaning it.
Use Your Own Shopping Bags
A few years ago, with the ban on the distribution of plastic bags on the market, people have already adopted reusable bags when shopping. This measure is much more important at the moment because it offers more control over what you will touch during transactions. Therefore, you can also stop using trolleys or baskets in some situations. This action can help to reduce the transmission of the virus.
Go Shopping Early
The disinfection of the facilities and the replacement of the stock on the shelves are done before the stores open so you will have an advantage if you go early. At this time, as there are different hours than usual, you should consult the times of the stores where you intend to shop so as not to knock your nose on the door unnecessarily.
Take Only What You Need
It is advisable to buy the same quantities, as usual, avoid hoarding too many products that are very likely to be spoiled by not being able to consume them on time. However, it is advisable to buy enough quantities so that you do not have to go back to shopping within a week. Opt for frozen products or longer-lasting dairy products. If you don’t find the loin or the duck you wanted, buy other proteins that are equally nutritious, like eggs or chicken. “If the products you are searching for are temporarily sold out when you go out, be sure that they will be replaced soon. There is no reason to believe that there is a shortage of food supplies”, says Daniel A. Tryon, writer at Essayroo.com.
Avoid Handling Money
Banknotes are already considered one of the dirtiest objects in existence, as they pass from hand to hand and, because they are made of paper, are difficult to clean. Therefore, it is increasingly recommended to use other payment methods, such as apps or cards. In addition, whenever possible, payment by approximation should be the option chosen, since there is no contact, avoiding further contamination.
After Shopping Is Finished
It is advisable to unwrap what you have bought, dispose of the packages, and wash your hands afterward. All foods that are to be cooked or boiled do not require special treatment, but fresh vegetables to be eaten raw must be washed with a disinfectant solution suitable for food.
Don’t Stress, Be Thankful!
There is every advantage to taking precautions, but there is no point in obsessing because there is no greater protection. Remember to have a word or gesture of sympathy for all the employees you met while shopping, remembering that they are many hours in a row in that environment so that we can all do our shopping on the go.
Care at Home: Soap and Water Eliminate the Coronavirus
When you get home, change your shoes and, if possible, remove the outer layer of clothing that may have been in contact with any contaminated surface or droplets and wash your hands. Pass a cloth with water and detergent on non-porous packagings, such as plastic, glass, and metal, before storing them. If the packaging is porous, transfer the food to a box or bag. Store the products in the refrigerator taking into account the temperature of each area and follow good freezing practices. Also, wash kitchen countertops and other surfaces with which you may have come in contact with water and detergent, as well as shopping bags.
Plan the menu and write down the ingredients needed for meals, including condiments. Make the shopping list, taking into account the size of the family, the space available in the pantry and the fridge, the expiration dates, and the way of preserving food, in order to minimize trips to the supermarket. Without a list, you risk spending more time in the corridors trying to remember what you are missing.
Do not include the excess of expendable products. When preparing the menu, take into account the principles of a balanced diet, based on the Food Wheel. Give preference to nutritionally rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to the detriment of those that contain sugar, fats, and excess salt, in general, more caloric. Include products that are preserved for longer periods. You can choose canned or frozen vegetables. Canned fish, such as tuna, mackerel and sardines, and eggs are also good solutions. In terms of fresh food, carrots, broccoli, green beans, leeks, and squash “last” longer. Apples, pears, and citrus fruits are particularly resistant fruits. Dried fruits, such as almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts, are good alternatives, for example, for mid-morning or afternoon. Keep these tips in mind when going shopping!