December 12, 2023

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How to enter your home safely after being out in this pandemic

Fear over coronavirus and COVID-19 has forced Americans to completely rethink hygiene. According to a 2018 report from the CDC, only 60% of Americans washed their hands frequently before the crisis. We’re willing to bet that percentage is much higher now.

Staying virus-free involves a lot more than just washing your hands, though. Proper soaps and disinfectants are a must, as are safety measures like social distancing and staying indoors. Tap or click here to see 3 surefire prevention methods that work.

You’re likely introducing a lot of new habits into your life during the pandemic, and the best way to make it feel natural is to weave it into your routine. Kim’s life hack, inspired by a NASA astronaut, can help make it easier. We’ll show you how.

Kim gets real with NASA astronaut Mark Kelly about the coronavirus

In the latest Komando On Demand podcast, Kim speaks with Scott Kelly, a former NASA astronaut and commander of the International Space Station. Kelly is a veteran of four space flights and commanded three ISS expeditions.

Just tap play to listen here, or search Komando wherever you get your podcasts.

One of the subjects they discussed was the strict routines astronauts follow to keep the space station clean. Did you know viruses and bacteria behave differently and even grow faster in space than on Earth? It’s one of the reasons the airlock on a space station is essential for keeping crewmembers safe.

And just like the ISS, our homes should be safe, hygienic environments that protect us from hostile forces outside — the pandemic, in our case.

RELATED: Coronavirus map: Check the number of cases in your county

You may not have airlocks like ones up in space at home, but pretending you do is a great way to make better hygiene part of your daily routine. If your “mission” is to avoid the coronavirus, here are some simple steps you can take to make sure it’s a success.

Creating an ‘airlock’ at home

To continue the analogy, let’s pretend your front door and entryway are the airlock. When you come in from the “space” outside your home, you need to step into the airlock and disinfect your gear before going further indoors.

Take your shoes off before opening your front door and leave them outside if it’s safe to do so. Shoes can easily carry bacteria and viruses. After all, people spit in the streets and there’s no way of knowing if you stepped in something on a trip to the grocery store or a walk around the block.

Not to mention, viruses can live up to five days on surfaces like the soles of your shoes. Tap or click here to see how long the coronavirus can live on different surfaces.

Removing your ‘gear’

Now that you’re in the “airlock,” it’s time to remove all the things you brought outside with you. Thankfully, you don’t have a heavy space suit to remove, but your clothes and accessories might still have contaminants on them.

Keep a bowl and a package of disinfecting wipes in a convenient space near your entryway “airlock.” Once you’ve taken off your shoes and stepped inside, disinfect your phone, keys, wallet and anything else you took on your trip, then place them in the bowl.

If you don’ have disinfecting wipes, use paper towels moistened with 70% isopropyl alcohol. A mixture of one part bleach and five parts water will also do the trick. Tap or click to see the disinfectants that can kill coronavirus.

Next, remove your clothes and place them directly into the washing machine to remove any trace amounts of the virus.

When you dolaundry, wear gloves if you have them and usethe highest possible heat setting for the water. If you have a sanitization setting on your washing machine, use it. When you’re done, wipe down the laundry basket with your disinfectant of choice.

Time to hose down

Now that you’ve removed your shoes, cleaned up your belongings and thrown your clothes in the washer, you’re ready to clean yourself. First things first: Grab a disinfecting wipe from your entryway and bring it with you to the bathroom.

Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds and disinfect the knob of the sink when you’re finished. If you had to open the door to get in, wipe down the doorknob, too. Tap or click here for the most overlooked areas you should sanitize.

Now grab a piece of tissue or toilet paper and blow your nose. This ensures any viral particles trapped in your nose are expelled from your body before they have a chance to go deeper.

Finally, start the hot water and step into a nice relaxing shower. Use soap or body wash to clean any areas of your body that were exposed while you were outdoors, and wash your face for at least 20 seconds as well.

If you have long or thick hair, shampoo and conditioner is a good idea, too. But not everybody washes their hair every day and you don’t necessarily have to. Just make sure to wash your bangs or sections of hair that frequently touch your face.

Now that you’re fully decontaminated, put on some cozy clothes and get comfortable for the rest of the day. Take some time for yourself and try to unplug from the news. Less stress in your life is vital to maintaining a healthy immune system. Tap or click here for apps to take your mind off the pandemic.

And with a new way to stay clean, you’ll have more peace of mind every time you leave the “airlock.” Mission accomplished.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.