Experts say watch out for common touch points to avoid COVID-19 spread

Updated: Apr. 2, 2020 at 6:53 PM CDT
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LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Did you know COVID-19 can remain on surfaces from hours to days?

This means every time you leave your house and touch something, you could be exposed to the virus.

From opening a door, getting cash from an ATM, touching a shopping cart, and pumping gas you might’ve been exposed and spread the coronavirus without even knowing it.

“So there’s a particular word in the medical community for when you pick up a virus from a surface like a door handle, or shopping cart, or something like that, and that’s called a fomite. We have thinking that the virus can most likely live on some surfaces for up to 72 hours,” said Stopwatch Urgent Care Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kyle Adams.

Three days on surfaces you often touch without blinking an eye. Adams says that’s why it’s so important to disinfect common touch points, wash your hands, and avoid touching your face.

“When you pick up the virus from a surface, like a door handle, and you go and touch your face, that’s how the virus gets to where it wants to be in your respiratory tract,” said Adams.

If you choose to wear gloves, make sure you use them properly.

“I think gloves are things that make people feel good when they’re wearing them. They feel like they’re protected,” said Adams. “The virus doesn’t enter your body through your hands. The virus enters your body through your mouth and nose. If you touch the door handle with that virus or even if you’re wearing gloves, and then you touch your face, or you touch another person, then you can still very easily transmit that virus to yourself or to another person, the glove doesn’t protect you from that.”

It’s recommended that you wash or sanitize your hands after touching any commonly touched areas like door handles or gas pumps.

State officials opened a toll-free number for people who develop symptoms and need to be tested. For more on how to get tested, you can call 1-888-264-2256. This is not a medical helpline.

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