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Is it safe for a repair person to work in my home?

When bringing a repairperson home, it’s critical to weigh the need for the fix against the potential transmission risk.

 

“It all depends on how urgent they believe the repair is,” says Dr. Mark Kortepeter, epidemiology professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health.

 

“Everything we do has to be weighed against the risk-benefit ratio, and I wouldn’t stop a necessary repair if it was truly necessary — just like I wouldn’t stop going to the grocery store.”

 

Some emergency HVAC repairs can be really necessary for the comfort and safety of your home life, Kortepeter says — and if that’s the case, he says there are things you can do to ensure the risk of spreading the virus is low as it can be.

 

To limit particle exchange with the service worker, request that they wear a mask, remove their shoes, and use hand sanitizer before beginning work.

 

Everyone in your family should wear a mask for the duration of the time they’re doing work in your house, he says, for your own and their own protection.

 

It’s a good idea to stay out of the room while they’re working and disinfect the area, as well as any doorknobs or surfaces the repairperson may have touched during their visit.

 

If they ask to use your bathroom, it can be awkward to say no, so Kortepeter recommends avoiding entering immediately after they’ve flushed.

 

Dr. Abraar Karan of Harvard Medical School recommends calling the repair company ahead of time to inquire if it screens workers for COVID symptoms and potential virus exposures.

 

According to Karan, you should also consider who is at home.

 

If you have a high-risk, immunocompromised family member, consider postponing the repair or keeping that person as far away from the technician as possible by keeping them in another room.

 

New research shows that flushing a toilet can release lingering clouds of coronavirus particles found in fecal matter into the air. What risk do these ‘toilet plumes’ pose for infection?

Scientists aren’t sure how significant the risk of COVID-19 infection from flushing is right now, according to Kortepeter.

 

However, there are some bathroom hygiene precautions you should take in the short term to reduce the possibility of transmission.

 

Though viral coronavirus particles have been found in feces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s not a cause for concern “It is unknown whether the virus found in feces is capable of causing COVID-19.

 

” Furthermore, “while [scientists] have detected lingering SARS-CoV-2 RNA in air samples above toilets, [they] have not grown virus from these samples in culture to see if viable virus could be isolated.”

 

“Karan explains in an email to NPR. “[And] that is the critical question in terms of transmission risk.”

 

Though it hasn’t been documented, Kortepeter says he can think of a few ways toilet plumes could cause infection.

 

After a flush, aerosolized coronavirus particles may linger in the air and be inhaled by a subsequent toilet user.

 

He also speculates that heavier droplets may “settle” on surfaces such as a toilet seat, the floor, or metal canisters containing toilet paper.

 

These particles could then be picked up by touch and transferred to vulnerable areas of the face (eyes, nose, and mouth), resulting in infection.

 

But, as Kortepeter points out, these are only educated guesses. And it’s still unclear what the risk of toilet-to-person transmission looks like — or how serious it is.

 

In the meantime, doctors advise taking precautionary measures in the near future to reduce the risk of virus transmission from flush plumes, especially if you’re using a public restroom or a bathroom that isn’t yours.

 

Kortepeter suggests closing the toilet lid before flushing to reduce the amount of fecal particles pushed into the air by the flush’s pressure.

 

He also suggests wearing a mask to reduce droplet inhalation and washing your hands with soap and water after using the restroom to kill any viral particles.

 

And, he adds, “minimize the amount of time you’re in the restroom,” Kortepeter says. “Select a stall that hasn’t recently been vacated, or wait a minute.”

 

Finally, if you live with an infected person and have multiple bathrooms in your home, Kortepeter recommends confining them to just one toilet to reduce the risk of transmission.

 

To avoid potential plume transmission, those with only one bathroom should follow the above guidelines regarding mask use, hand washing, and closing the lid when flushing.

 

Is it OK to go to the salon again for services such as manicures, pedicures or massages?

When it comes to salon services, researchers say there are a few things to think about.

 

But the most important question to ask yourself before proceeding with a particular procedure is: Do you really need it?

 

“Any face-to-face contact, especially extended contact, should be done with a mask on, ideally by both parties,” Karan advises.

 

“Again, masks aren’t perfect, so I’d probably avoid hour-long massages right now because that’s a lot of close contact in the same room — and the masseuse is probably in close contact with a lot of other people throughout the day.”

 

If you’re going to get a manicure or pedicure, Kortepeter suggests going during the day when the salon is less crowded.

 

Consider getting only one procedure at a time to reduce the amount of time you’re in contact with others.

 

When asked if some salon services are more dangerous than others, Kortepeter says the risk increases with contact time and the number of people in the facility.

 

These are risks that you must ultimately weigh for yourself, he says.

 

Is it a good idea to spray myself with disinfectant?

The answer here is — decisively — no. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning this week against it.

 

“Disinfectant is for surfaces, not for skin,” Kortepeter explains.

 

“The most important place to clean after being out and about is your hands, which you can do simply by washing them.

 

What you don’t want to do is apply potentially toxic substances to your skin, as this can result in skin burns and injury.”

 

According to Kortepeter, spraying yourself with disinfectant will not reduce your risk of infection. It does, however, pose a risk of causing damage to your skin and eyes.

 

“I would say, use that money to instead buy a mask,” says Karan. “And put it on.”

 

This article is paraphrased. Original source: npr.org
 
This article is accurate and true to the best of SmartLiving’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

 

Categories: HVAC

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