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  • It's true: Germs can live on your clothes, and they can live on your body.

  • While that might not be the most buzzworthy topic right now in regards to the COVID-19

  • pandemic, it's very important to take precautions whenever we can.

  • The UK's National Health Service reports that there are three primary ways that germs can

  • be spread by clothes and towels: Shared towels or bedding can spread contaminationdirty

  • laundry can spread germs when handledand even the laundering process itself can spread

  • germs.

  • Many of the guidelines for protecting yourself against COVID-19 focus on cleaning hard surfaces

  • and high-touch surfaces like your smartphone.

  • "You don't actually need to use antibacterial or antiviral products on your phone.

  • You can just use simple soap and water."

  • But the CDC also suggests that there's some risk involved when you're handling the clothes

  • or bedding of an infected person.

  • They strongly recommend that you

  • "Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard

  • [the gloves] after each use.

  • If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection

  • of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes."

  • And please be sure to wash your hands properly after handling the laundry.

  • The CDC advises that,

  • "If possible, do not shake [your] dirty laundry.

  • This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air."

  • You should also make sure that you clean and disinfect any and all laundry hampers.

  • The COVID-19 virus is extremely contagious, but of course, it can't jump from surface

  • to surface the way that fleas can.

  • When experts describe the virus "jumping," they mean it in an entirely different way.

  • As Quanta magazine reports,

  • "[It's a disease that] can jump between humans and other animals.

  • [...] While the specifics differ, the mechanism relies on the same fundamental premise: access

  • and ability.

  • Can a virus reach the cells of its host?"

  • The COVID-19 virus can, of course, be spread through coughs and sneezes.

  • In fact, a single cough can produce up to 3,000 droplets, and these droplets can live

  • for several days on hard surfaces like metal, glass, or plastic.

  • Meanwhile, UCLA professor Jamie Lloyd-Smith told NPR,

  • "What [our] experiments show is that the virus can remain viable floating in the air for

  • some number of hours.

  • The experiments went out to three hours, and, you know, there were still viable viruses

  • present."

  • But, as NPR reports,

  • "Lloyd-Smith says this experiment definitely does not prove that people have been infected

  • this way by particles of virus that float in the air, what scientists call aerosolized

  • transmission.

  • He says what remains unknown is what dose is needed to infect someone."

  • What is known is that it's exceptionally important to continue practicing social distancing and,

  • again, making sure that you wash your hands often.

  • And in case you aren't entirely clear on what social distancing is, Johns Hopkins Medicine

  • explains,

  • "[It's] deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness.

  • Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens your chances of catching COVID-19."

  • It's also important not to touch people when greeting them so no handshakes or high-fives.

  • Your safest bet is simply not going out in public at all work from home, have your groceries

  • delivered, and communicate digitally instead of in-person.

  • According to the CDC, person-to-person transmission is the primary way that the COVID-19 virus

  • spreads.

  • Basically, don't touch other peopleor at least, don't touch other people who aren't

  • in your household.

  • Another important note: Surgical masks aren't recommended for the general public.

  • They should only be worn by medical professionals or people who are caring for an infected person.

  • That's because there's currently a critical shortage of personal protective equipment

  • for medical providers.

  • Meanwhile, if you've been out in public near at-risk persons or if you've been exposed

  • to someone suspected of having coronavirus that large pile of laundry is even more pressing.

  • The National Health Service recommends that you wash your laundry in water that's at least

  • 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and be sure to use a bleach-based product, which is available

  • in most laundry aisles.

  • The CDC also advises that you let these laundered items fully dry.

  • Stay safe out there!

  • On second thoughtstay safe by staying indoors.

It's true: Germs can live on your clothes, and they can live on your body.

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Can Coronavirus Live On Your Clothes?

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    Annie Huang posted on 2020/03/23
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