April 8, 2020 – Spring cleaning takes on a whole new meaning when you’re
coronavirus (COVID-19). While medical experts continue to learn about COVID-19, your
hometown health providers want to keep you safe.
Steven F. Mosher, M.D., a board-certified internal medicine physician specializing in infectious
disease and member of the Southeast Georgia Health System medical staff,
shares the latest prevention and cleaning guidelines.
The Lifespan of Coronavirus
“The World Health Organization (WHO) is not entirely certain how long COVID-19 survives on surfaces. Like
other viruses, we think it may live for a few hours up to several days,”
says Mosher. To protect yourself, he recommends:
- Washing your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially
after using the bathroom or being out in public.
- Disinfecting surfaces that you come in regular contact with daily or when
anyone enters your home or workplace.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose.
How to Clean Effectively
According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most EPA-registered household disinfectants help kill germs. You
can make your own cleaning solution with five tablespoons of bleach per
gallon of water or four teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. If a surface
is dirty, clean it with soap and water before disinfecting. Read the label
first, to determine if bleach is safe for the surface you’re cleaning.
When using bleach, Mosher cautions, “Check the bleach expiration
date. Wear gloves and keep the room well ventilated. Never mix bleach
with other cleaning products. Finally, store all cleaning products away
You can also wipe down surfaces with a solution containing 70 percent alcohol.
Whichever disinfectant you use, let it sit for three minutes before wiping.
Start with surfaces you touch most often: doorknobs, light switches, countertops,
phones, keyboards, tables, sinks, toilets, faucets, TV remotes and gaming controls.
While cleaning, don’t overlook your vehicle and mailbox. Speaking
of mail, how can you prevent coronavirus from entering your home through
packages and letters? “Since coronavirus is spread by respiratory
droplets when someone sneezes or coughs, it’s unlikely you would
get it from mail. To be safe, do wash your hands after handling mail.
If you’re at high risk, open mail and packages outside and discard
outer packaging before entering the house,” says Mosher. According
to the CDC, there is no evidence suggesting COVID-19 is spread from imported
Cleaning is a chore under the best circumstances. During an outbreak, it’s
more taxing, but the effort you make today may keep you safe tomorrow.
If you experience COVID-19 symptoms, such as a fever, cough or shortness
of breath, call the Health System’s COVID-19 Screening Hotline at
912-466-7222, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. For COVID-19 updates, visit