7 Coronavirus Mistakes You're Making That Would Horrify Your Doctor
Even if you're taking measures to prevent coronavirus, these habits could still be putting you at risk.
The coronavirus pandemic has made us all acutely aware of our personal wellbeing, prompting us to stay indoors, wash our hands more diligently and frequently than ever before, and even adopt new habits like disinfecting our mail and deep-cleaning our homes on a regular basis. However, even the most diligent among us have a few blind spots when it comes to our coronavirus vulnerability. In many cases, normally conscientious folks are making major mistakes that could put them in harm's way. Read on to find out which mistakes could be putting you at risk, according to doctors. And for more insight into how you could catch the virus, discover these 7 Things You'll Never Want in Your Home After Coronavirus.
You're wearing contacts.
Since new research suggests that the coronavirus can be transmitted through mucous membranes like the eyes, it might be in your best interest to break out those glasses you've been saving for emergencies—at least until the coronavirus pandemic subsides.
According to Kevin Lee, MD, an eye physician and surgeon from the Golden Gate Eye Associates within the Pacific Vision Eye Institute in San Francisco, adjusting your contact lenses throughout the day with unwashed hands could be putting you at risk.
"I recommend replacing contact lenses with glasses," says Lee. "Not only does this lower your chances of transmission, glasses can also act as a protective barrier against aerosol transmission." And for more on the coronavirus and its effect on your entire body, check out Here's How Coronavirus Affects Your Body, From Your Head to Toes.
You're rubbing your eyes.
While rubbing your eyes when you're tired may feel good, it's not as innocuous a habit as it may seem. "Rubbing your eyes or touching your face, especially after contact with public surfaces," can potentially introduce coronavirus into your eyes, says Lee.
You're sharing cosmetics.
While lending your roommate an eyeliner or putting mascara on your kids when they're playing dress-up may not seem like a big deal, experts see things differently. "It's possible for the tip of the mascara to be contaminated by coming in contact with the ocular secretions of someone who is COVID+," says Lee.
This is particularly problematic because of the high proportion of asymptomatic coronavirus carriers, meaning you could pick up the virus while running an errand and inadvertently transmit it to members of your household through shared eye makeup use. And if you know that someone in your house has been infected, "throw out any makeup that has been used while symptomatic, or even days prior to the onset of symptoms," according to Lee. And if you want to keep your home safer, make sure you know these 15 Expert Tips for Disinfecting Your House for Coronavirus.
You're biting your nails.
You already know that nail biting is a bad habit, but during a pandemic, it's a potentially perilous one, too. "Our fingers and nails can be the host of many germs, including the virus that causes COVID-19, especially if people are not washing their hands properly," says Robert Gomez, MPH, epidemiologist and COVID-19 expert at Parenting Pod. Gomez notes that when people bite their nails, they are immediately introducing any virus or bacteria on their hands directly into their mouths, putting them at risk for coronavirus and other illnesses.
You're sharing food or utensils.
You may want to share a delicious bite of food with your loved ones, but that's not the best decision right now. "When people share food or drinks with others, including those in their household, they are putting themselves or others at risk of contracting COVID-19," says Gomez.
This also applies to using the same utensils as members of your household without washing them first—so no sneaking bites off your partner's plate. "The virus can be spread by sharing eating utensils," explains Cara Pensabene, MD, medical director of EHE Health. She notes that, in accordance with CDC recommendations, cups, dishes, and utensils should all be cleaned thoroughly with soap before being used again.
You're answering the door without a mask.
Just because you're technically still indoors and that delivery person's out on your front step doesn't necessarily mean you're effectively social distancing. In fact, opening the door without a mask is one of the biggest coronavirus mistakes people are making without even realizing it.
"If one is not going to social physical distance, then it should be common practice to wear masks at all times, except when eating and drinking," says Enchanta Jenkins, MD, MHA. And if you want to know the real deal when it comes to COVID-19, check out these 25 Coronavirus Facts You Should Know by Now.
You're running non-essential errands.
Just because your state is opening up doesn't mean you can safely resume your normal pre-pandemic activities. Jenkins says that running non-essential errands—basically anything other than trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, work, and the doctor—could be putting you at risk. "Stay at home orders are being lifted, so people are going out more, and hospitals are seeing an increase in positive virus infection cases," she explains. And if you want to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, make sure you know these 13 Safety Precautions You Should Take Every Day to Prevent Coronavirus.