Due to the current situation, many of us turn to online shopping to purchase essential items, or simply to buy gifts for ourselves or for our family. Buying things online and getting them delivered to our homes, while carefully avoiding coming face to face with the delivery person, sounds much safer than going to the store.
Coronavirus spreads through the air from one person to another, which is why we must practice physical distancing and wear masks in public. It has also been proven that the virus can live on different surfaces for up to a few days. Shipping service providers take much precaution to sanitize the packages. However, some people still recommend disinfecting the packages we receive.
Let’s learn more about the risks associated with receiving mail at home, and about how to disinfect packages:
1. The risk of getting COVID-19 from your packages is very low
The coronavirus is unlikely to be spread from mail and packages, whether they come from within the country or from international locations. The risk of getting sick after touching your packages is very low.
Even if one of the packages you receive has been in contact with the virus, keep in mind that packages are being handled by different people, they travel, and they are exposed to different temperatures and different conditions. The longer your packages have been traveling, the less likely they are to be contaminated.
But even though packages and mail are not considered particularly dangerous, you can still disinfect them if you want to preserve your peace of mind, or if you have a compromised immune system and want to do everything in your power to avoid getting sick.
There are two simple things you can do to disinfect your packages before opening them.
2. You could simply wait a few days before opening your packages
When you disinfect packages for COVID-19, it’s important also to wait a few days before opening it. The coronavirus can stay on cardboard for up to 24 hours before dying off. It can live on plastic for up to 72 hours, and on other surfaces such as glass and metal for up to 5 days.
Even if your packages come in cardboard boxes, they are most likely sealed with plastic packing tape. Many packages come in plastic envelopes, which can make them more dangerous than cardboard boxes.
If you are not in a hurry to get what is inside the packages you received, you could simply wait 5 days before opening them.
Leave your packages in a enclosed area in your garage or on your porch, and wait 5 days before touching them. By then, if there were viruses on or inside the packages, you can be sure they will have died off.
Viruses can’t move on their own, so you don’t have to worry about them crawling around your garage and entering your home. They also can’t reproduce without a living host, so if you just leave them alone for some time, they will die.
3. Disinfecting wipes or sprays can be useful if you don’t want to wait
If you can’t wait 5 days before opening your packages, you could simply wait 24 hours, which will be enough to lower the risk of being infected by touching them.
If you are in a hurry to use what you have ordered, you can use disinfecting wipes or a disinfecting spray on your packages before opening them. If you received a cardboard box, there is no need to completely soak it with disinfectant. Gently wipe or spray it, wait a few minutes, and open the box.
If you don’t have disinfecting spray at home, you can prepare your own solution of water and 60% ethanol alcohol in a spray bottle.
4. Avoid touching your face while opening your package
Whether you have waited before opening your packages, or you have used a wipe or a spray to disinfect them, you should still be careful while opening them.
You can wear gloves while opening your packages, but you can also simply avoid touching your face while you work, and wash your hands when you are done. Keep in mind that if there are viruses on your package, and you touch them with your hands, you will not get infected as long as you don’t touch your mouth, your nose or your eyes.
Use a box cutter or a pair of scissors to open each package, and empty their content on a table. If you want to take extra precautions, you can disinfect your box cutter or your scissors before putting them away.
5. Throw the packaging away and wash your hands
After you are done opening and emptying your packages, throw the packaging in the trash or in your recycling bin, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
You can then use and enjoy whatever was inside your packages, and keep feeling safe in your home.