Washing vegetables with soap and water? Using hydrogen peroxide for disinfecting surfaces? While you may be protecting yourself from the Coronavirus, you may end up exposing yourself to toxic chemicals that could lead to a gastrointestinal infection. Read our medical expert’s advice, to prevent yourself from falling in the trap of unscientific ways and methods.

While every household tries out ways to keep the COVID-19 disease at bay, what about those surfaces that you invariably touch on a daily basis? Experts have warned that respiratory droplets on such surfaces, could be a major source for the spread of the Coronavirus. Housing.com News reached out to Dr Gaurav Singh, senior medical officer, Central Coalfields Ltd and ex-resident, AIIMS Bhubaneswar for some tips.

“It is important to understand that sanitising raw vegetables, milk packets and daily-touch objects was always important and not just because of the Coronavirus. Some people have started using detergent and water to clean raw vegetables. The problem with such techniques, is that it is nearly impossible to prevent contamination due to soap or detergent. Therefore, one may end up with a gastrointestinal infection, as a result of using unscientific ways,” says Singh. To prevent COVID-19 one merely has to follow some simple hygiene practices and follow it, irrespective of whether there is a pandemic or not.

Viruses are assemblies of, say, proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates and need living cells to thrive. Therefore, outside your body, the Coronavirus is as good as ‘dead’. It cannot do anything to surfaces but you can be affected, if you touch the contaminated surface. Now, with the new strain of the Coronavirus, called the VUI-202012/01 which is reportedly 70% more likely to spread, one must be careful.

Follow the simple and effective tips by Dr Singh, to keep yourself and your family safe from the Coronavirus.

How to clean vegetables/raw food?

Viruses do not grow on food but raw vegetables can be a good vehicle for it. Did you know that Hepatitis A was linked to diced tomatoes, lettuce and raspberries? An infected person can contaminate the food and pass on the virus. Seafood, if it comes in contact with faeces of an infected person can also harm you. Viruses have a higher resistance to chemical treatments than bacteria or fungi. So how should you prevent contamination?

Wash raw vegetables in hot water or hot water with salt.
You could also try washing the vegetables multiple times with potable water.
Hydrogen peroxide/potassium permanganate is used by many households but it is far more effective on bacteria than on viruses.
If you are using soap and water to clean the raw vegetables, make sure that the remnants of the soap on the surface is also cleaned well. It is difficult to wash off such stains and soap particles. Soap stains are often visible on plates, even after you wash them. The same stands true for vegetables. In fact, it is more difficult to remove soap from the surface of vegetables.
It is best to avoid eating raw food/salads now. Cooked food minimises the risk of infection. Make sure food is properly cooked. If you use raw vegetables in salads, clean these with extra care.
You may want to wear gloves, when you are handling/buying vegetables and fruits. Make sure you wash these gloves once you are home.
Do not place vegetables brought from outside, straight on the kitchen counter.
If there are vegetables that cannot be washed as soon as you bring it in, try to keep it in a closed space and do not cook or consume within three to four hours.
Most households use domestic help and cooks, who help us on a day-to-day basis. To be fully satisfied about cleanliness, do the cleaning yourself or train your domestic help to do so.


Food safety measures to consider

According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), you must follow the guidelines mentioned below:

Keep away food packets bought from outside. Avoid keeping it directly in the refrigerator.
Potable water is enough to clean fruits and vegetables. You may use 50 ppm drop of chlorine, if available.
Avoid soaps, disinfectants or cleaning products and wipes on fruits and vegetables.
Washed food should not be kept just about anywhere in your house. Keep it in a dedicated space, so that it does not get contaminated by staying on some other daily-touch surface.
Packets can be cleaned with soap or an alcohol-based solution.
Disinfect the sink after cleaning the food products.


How to sanitise milk packets?

Hot water and soap is the best way to clean these packets. Avoid placing unwashed packets in the refrigerator or pouring the milk into a vessel, without washing the packet first.

Published: https://housing.com

What do you want to do ?

New mail