ST. LOUIS – Though state officials have asked that there are no gatherings with more than ten people, grocery shoppers are still in the midst of many when they enter those stores.
FOX 2 talked to a SLUcare medical professional about what shoppers can do to protect themselves and what to do with items once they leave the store.
Grocery shopping has turned into a stressful duty for some during the coronavirus pandemic. Some shoppers across the metro area wear masks and gloves, while others don’t.
Dr. Ken Haller, a SLUcare Pediatrician at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, weighed in.
“One of the things that I did at the beginning of this whole thing was an inventory of my freezer both downstairs and upstairs, and I found out I had a lot of food I had forgotten about,” Haller said.
Haller said if you must go shopping, make a list to avoid lingering in stores.
Some stores are offering early morning shopping to those more vulnerable to COVID-19.
If you’re over 65, make sure to take advantage of amended times.
FOX 2 asked about handling shopping carts and items in stores. Dr. Haller said most stores have sanitary wipes at the entrances.
“Whenever I go, I will take two of those wipes and put them on the handles as I go through the store,” Haller said.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, the virus can survive on surfaces like plastics and stainless steel for days.
Haller said those wearing gloves in stores should be mindful and avoid a false sense of security.
“If you are going to wear gloves, it’s really important to keep in mind that once you put on the gloves, they have to be considered dirty,” Haller said.
Masks are commonly seen in markets now, too. The Centers for Disease Control is actively considering broader usage of masks outside of hospitals.
“Wearing the mask is so you won’t contaminate someone else. The mask that you can get don’t have much utility for keeping infection away from you,” Haller said.
Haller said as health professionals continue to learn more about the virus, masks could be helpful to prevent those who are asymptomatic from unknowingly spreading it to others.
While cleaning supplies are low in many stores, he also recommended a solution that is CDC approved.
Shoppers may mix four teaspoons of household bleach with one quart of water. This solution can be used to spray the exterior of items once shoppers get them home.
After that, wash your hands for the recommended twenty seconds with soap.
Haller said that heat from cooking also tends to kill off the virus.
“We’re all in this together, so I think especially when it comes to going to the store being kind to other people, giving them consideration, letting people pass and giving them at least 6 feet is important,” Haller said.