This Is the Worst Thing You Could Wear During Coronavirus

Experts say to avoid loose clothing that may unknowingly touch many different surfaces.

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As people start to integrate back into public life, the potential for a second or even third wave of coronavirus is on many of our minds. And without a coronavirus vaccine available to the public, major outbreaks are still possible, but these fears haven't stopped states from lifting lockdown orders and retail stores from reopening their doors. Luckily, there are still ways to protect yourself from the coronavirus when out in public—even in small ways you might not have thought of before, like paying attention to what you're wearing. If you're worried about the spread of COVID-19, the worst thing to wear in public is loose clothing.

William W. Li, MD, author of Eat To Beat Disease, previously told Best Life that one of the worst mistakes you make when leaving your house during the pandemic is wearing "garments that can drag on the ground or blow in the wind against objects." Long scarves and draping coats (for those in colder climates) or flowing sleeves and breezy beach coverups (for those in warmer areas) come in contact with more surfaces, and can potentially pick up droplets of the virus.

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Experts say that COVID-19 can live on some surfaces, like plastic and cardboard, for days at a time. But how long can it linger on clothing? Board-certified family physician Georgine Nanos, MD, of Kind Health Group, previously told Best Life that the coronavirus is thought to survive on fabric for "anywhere from six to twelve hours."

A nurse washing her scrubs.
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Abe Navas, general manger of Emily Maids, a cleaning service in Dallas, Texas, acknowledges that the probability of transmitting the coronavirus from your clothes is not high, but it's also not impossible. Wearing fitted clothing can help, but he says the most important thing to do during the pandemic is to make sure you properly remove and clean the clothes you have worn in public—no matter the fit.

"You need to set up a basket at the entrance of your home. This way you can deposit your clothes as soon as you come in," Navas advises. "First, you need to disinfect your hands and then take off your clothes."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says laundering items according to the manufacturer's instructions is enough to clean and disinfect for the virus, but also recommends washing clothes "using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items," if possible, and then drying them completely. And for more CDC tips to stay safe during the coronavirus, check out these 5 Things the CDC Says You Still Shouldn't Be Doing.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
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