Three Items the CDC Says You Should Have on Hand When Leaving the House
These are the items experts say can help protect you and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
It's essential to be prepared when going outside during the coronavirus pandemic. Exposing yourself to infected individuals without protection may lead to you getting sick—further continuing the spread of COVID-19. And as summer rolls around and more places reopen, staying protected while out in public is even more important. Luckily, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled guidelines for protecting yourself. And the first step for staying healthy is making sure you always have these three things on hand when leaving the house: a cloth face covering, tissues, and hand sanitizer.
For many, cloth face coverings and hand sanitizer are obvious carry-alongs. Cloth face coverings have become an everyday part of most people's lives: They are recommended by the CDC, because the coronavirus can "spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms." Wearing a face covering helps protect those around you, as it prevents you from spreading potential viral particles.
Hand sanitizer is a good on-the-go alternative when you don't have the chance to regularly wash your hands while out in public. The CDC recommends using hand sanitizer with an alcohol percentage of at least 60 percent after running various errands, including visiting grocery and retail stores, going to the bank, and getting gas.
Tissues, on the other hand, may be less common for people to actively carry around right now, but they actually have a multitude of uses amid the pandemic. Max Harland, PhD, co-founder health resource portal Dentaly, says tissues can be used when you don't want your hands to touch possibly infected surfaces, like when you open a public door.
Linda Morgan, health and wellness expert with MotivationNook, also points out that they're useful to prevent people from spreading their own germs. "Carrying tissues with you means that in the event that you have to cough or sneeze, you can do so into something other than your hands, and therefore minimize the risk of spreading germs," Morgan says. "Still, make sure to throw them out immediately after use, and wash your hands right away so that you don't risk transferring germs to objects that you touch." And for more CDC-approved ways to stay protected, learn which 6 Things You Should Never Touch in Public, According to the CDC.