9 Things Doctors Say You Need Before Returning to Work
If you're heading back to work, these doctor-approved supplies can help keep you safe from coronavirus.
While workplaces are reopening around the country, many employees are still understandably concerned about spending time in confined spaces with folks who could be ill with coronavirus. However, just because you're returning to your daily grind doesn't mean that getting sick is a foregone conclusion. With the help of doctors, we've rounded up the office supplies everyone should be bringing with them to protect themselves and others against coronavirus when they head back to work. And if you're looking to sanitize your space, check out these 9 Disinfectants You Can Actually Get Online Right Now.
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If you want to keep yourself and your coworkers safe when you head back to work, investing in a pack of non-N95 surgical masks is a good start. These will "protect you from making others ill and protect you from the viral particles of others from entering your mouth, nose, or eyes," says Janette Nesheiwat, MD, a family and emergency doctor.
While Nesheiwat doesn't recommend a particular brand, you can order this pack of 50 from Amazon to keep you protected for some time. And to learn more about face masks, check out 10 Myths About Face Masks You Need to Know.
Similarly, Nesheiwat recommends having some bandanas handy to cover your face if you want a reusable option. "Bring two in case you sneeze or drop your mask," says Nesheiwat.
Though Nesheiwat doesn't recommend a specific brand of bandanas, this two-pack is perfect for when you need a backup.
TriDerma hand sanitizer
While Nesheiwat recommends using soap and water as a first line of defense, she also says that hand sanitizer is good to have handy if you can't reach a sink.
In particular, Nesheiwat recommends TriDerma's products. "If you're coming off the subway, if you're pressing the elevator button, or right before you eat are all good examples of times to use hand sanitizer," she says. And for more helpful hand sanitizing tips, check out 6 Subtle Signs You Need to Replace Your Hand Sanitizer.
Antibacterial surface wipes
Any surface that's touched by you and your coworkers should be regularly disinfected thoroughly throughout the day, making multi-surface wipes a necessity.
Nesheiwat says that even if you can't get your hands on Clorox wipes, generic ones work just fine. "[If you're doing] office work, wipe down your desk and door knobs," she recommends. And for more disinfecting options, check out 10 Disinfectants That Kill Coronavirus Faster Than Lysol Wipes.
You don't need antibacterial soap to keep your hands free of contaminants at work—but having some multipurpose soap is a good idea.
"Plain dishwashing soap and water works fine, and is far less toxic than commercial cleansers," says Felice Gersh, MD, founder and director of the Integrated Medical Group in Irvine, California. While Gersh doesn't advocate for any particular brand, this Dawn dishwashing soap works well for cleaning both your hands and cutlery.
However, if you find that washing your hand with dish soap dries them out too much, there are good alternatives.
Robert J. Wolf, MD, says that Dove soap is his personal go-to for hand-washing because it's "easy on the skin, good cleansing quality, and less allergenic than most everything else." He added that it's particularly good for anyone who's washing their hands multiple times each day. And if you want to protect yourself at the sink, discover The Best Way to Wash Your Hands to Prevent Getting Sick.
There are certain surfaces in your workplace you can't necessarily clean after every use—door handles and communal restrooms, just to name a few—but you can keep yourself safe if you're using them by stocking up on some gloves.
"Nitrile or latex gloves offer good protection," says Ronald Caplan, MD. However, he cautions, "typing on a computer keyboard while wearing these requires some practice!"
While Caplan doesn't recommend any particular brand, these powder-free disposable nitrile gloves can help you avoid contamination from high-touch surfaces. And for more glove guidance, check out 10 Awful Mistakes You're Making With Your Gloves Every Day.
Want to reduce your risk of coming into contact with viruses and bacteria at work? Caplan says that "computer wipes are a very good idea, whether you're wearing gloves or not."
These wipes contain 75 percent alcohol—more than the alcohol content threshold for fighting coronavirus recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While you're cleaning up, make sure you tackle these 18 Things You Should Sanitize Every Day But Aren't.
A face shield
It's not just infected respiratory droplets entering your mouth and nose that can lead to you contracting coronavirus—contact with your eyes can also lead to infection.
As such, "you may consider wearing protective glasses, or a transparent face shield," says Caplan. Though Caplan doesn't advocate for any particular brand, this two-pack of face shields is adjustable and anti-fogging, making it easy for all-day wear. And for more on this PPE, check out Do Face Shields Keep You Safer Than Face Masks?