The 7 Worst Coronavirus Mistakes You're Still Making

From your glove habits to your mask faux pas, here are the coronavirus mistakes you make every day.

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There are so many guidelines about what you should do and what you should avoid doing when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. But two months in, you probably consider yourself an expert on the matter. However, that confidence could be what's leading you to still make some mistakes when it comes to staying safe and reducing the spread of the coronavirus. Whether it's what you're doing with your gloves or how you're handling your phone, these are the worst coronavirus mistakes you're likely still making each and every day.

1
You're using your phone in public.

Portrait of confused middle-aged man doing grocery shopping in supermarket: calling his wife asking what dessert to choose
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Your phone could be one of the most contaminated objects in your life right now. After all, most of us carry our phones with us at all times. We touch them constantly and we set them down on surfaces that've been touched by others. Even a simple trip to the grocery store could contaminate your phone with the coronavirus, says Urvish Patel, MBBS, medical advisor for eMediHealth.

"People place their cell phones everywhere and then hold it against their cheeks," he explains. "So, to avoid catching any infection, clean your phone well, and use speakers or hands-free devices to avoid direct contact when out in public." And for more expert tips on cleaning, check out Is It Safe to Sanitize Your Phone? Here's What You Can't Disinfect.

2
You're using cash instead of credit cards.

Driver gives dollars to policeman for road traffic offenses. Bribery.
iStock

Whether you're spending money buying groceries or picking up takeout, handling cash is one of the worst things you can be doing right now, says Vandana A. Patel, MD, clinical advisor for Cabinet, a health essentials company. Cash is exchanged through many hands every day, and it's not that easy to keep clean. In fact, researchers from the University of Hong Kong conducted a study recently and found that COVID-19 can live on dollar bills for up to four days.

"You can sanitize a credit card easier than cash, while reducing the transfer of material from person to person," Patel explains. "If your credit card touches another hand, you should sanitize it after paying and before putting it back into your purse or wallet." And for more disinfecting advice, check out 7 Disinfecting Mistakes You're Probably Making.

3
You're wearing the gloves that you wore while grocery shopping in your car on the way home.

Woman during pandemic isolation at city, she is in car
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Reusing gloves is one of the biggest don'ts experts say there is. However, many people think that as long as they don't take off their gloves and put them back on, then they're not technically "reusing them." But hat's not the case. And it's especially dangerous if you're still wearing the gloves you wore at the grocery store while driving home.

If you're touching your keys or gripping the steering wheel with the same gloves you were wearing inside, "you have brought germs from the store environment onto every surface you just touched," Lindsey McDonald, RN, previously told Best Life. "This raises your chances of COVID-19 coming home with you." Instead, she recommends disposing of those gloves before you even touch your car door to get inside. And for more to know about how you may be spreading the coronavirus, check out the 11 Ways You're Spreading Germs All Over Your Home Without Realizing It.

4
You're not changing your clothes when you return home.

Man coming back home after grocery shopping while dangerous virus or bacteria epidemic (protected by surgical face mask and disposable gloves).
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The clothes you've worn in public can easily get contaminated. But many people are wearing the same clothes they drudged through the grocery store inside their houses.

"It is a good precaution to put the clothes you are wearing outside into your laundry basket or washing machine as soon as you get home," Vandana Patel says. "Clothes that you have worn outside can be washed with other clothes that you have only worn indoors, and it is recommended to wash them at the highest temperature acceptable for the clothing item." And for more coronavirus tips for your clothes, check out the 7 Coronavirus Laundry Tips You Need to Start Following.

5
You're biting your nails.

man biting his nails
Shutterstock

Touching your face and mouth tends to be an absentminded habit, especially for the nervous nail biters among us. However, Charles Sutera, DMD, oral health expert and certified fellow at the Academy of General Dentistry, says this habit is a mistake too many people are still making right now. "Nail biters have a statistically much higher incidence of transmitting germs and waste matter to their mouth," he says. And for more bad habits that are worse amid coronavirus, check out 7 Bad Habits Experts Say Are Even Worse in the Age of Coronavirus.

6
You're not replacing your face mask often enough.

A sewing room with custom face masks being created
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Your face mask isn't going to do you much good if it's damaged. Pediatrician Cara Natterson, MD, previously told Best Life that a mask should be replaced if you see visible holes or even just minor signs of wear-and-tear.

"The whole point of a mask is to provide a physical barrier to keep the virus out, or if you are carrying coronavirus, to keep it in and spare others the exposure," Natterson explained. A minor tear or hole could make all the difference between you or someone else contracting COVID-19 versus staying healthy. And for more face mask tips, check out the 7 Face Mask Care Mistakes You're Making.

7
Or you're not wearing one at all.

Young woman wearing face mask while walking in the streets of London
iStock

Despite some state regulations mandating residents to wear face masks while out in public, many of your fellow Americans still aren't following that guideline. In an early April survey of 2,200 U.S. adults conducted by The Morning Consult, half of respondents said they had yet to wear a face mask while out in public. And 19 percent said they don't plan to do so in the future either. There's a reason why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone wears face coverings outside. It's just one way to help slow the spread of the virus. And for more you should know when it comes to face masks, check out The One Type of Mask You Should Never Wear.

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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