New research has confirmed that the virulent Omicron variant can last 8 days on plastic and 21 hours on skin. What do these statistics mean and will we have a greater chance of catching COVID-19 from surfaces?
Picture Courtesy – Medakit Ltd
Can you catch Covid from surfaces?
As scientific understanding has increased, the threat of catching COVID-19 from surfaces has diminished. Although the virus can be present on a surface for an extended time, this does not mean it can be transmitted to us that way. At the beginning of Covid, there was a mass frenzy for deep cleaning with anti-bacterial and anti-viral products. Now scientist believe that only if an infected person coughs or sneezes on a surface and someone else touches that surface withing 1-2 hours is there any real likelihood of transmission. Many lab tests showing what is theoretically possible have been set aside because real world situations have been shown to be less contagious.
How does Omicron spread?
There is now overwhelming evidence that indoor airborne transmission associated with relatively small aerosol droplets plays a dominant role in the spread of COVID-19. These aerosol droplets are light and can be held in air currents that move through enclosed spaces. Large drop transmission occurs when an infected person coughs, sneezes, laughs, sings or shouts and the droplet reaches the mouth, nose or eyes of someone else. These heavier droplets are unlikely to travel further than 2 metres before falling to the floor.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) continues to advise that the most effective steps individuals can take to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus are to:
- keep a physical distance of at least 1 metre from others
- wear a well-fitting mask
- open windows to improve ventilation
- avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces
- keep hands clean
- cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue
- vaccinate when it’s your turn.
Picture Courtesy – Kelly Sikkema
Do I need to use bleach and other toxic chemicals to get rid of Omicron?
No – absolutely not. There is no need to put your health at risk by using harmful chemicals. Just as soap and water is best for washing your hands, soap and surfactant-based cleaning and laundry products are best for household tasks. Viruses and bacteria are removed by Greenscents products just as well as other common brands. It is perfectly possible to reduce your risk of catching Coronavirus without the nasties!
How should we clean with Omicron?
Surface cleaning is important to reduce exposure to all viruses and bacteria. Keep surfaces clean using an organic multi-surface spray. Remember that bacteria and viruses recolonise after 20-30 minutes whether you use an anti-bacterial product or a soap-based product. First, spray the surface you want to clean and wipe with a damp freshly washed cleaning cloth. Then rinse the cloth thoroughly with hot water to remove the pathogens and wring out. Wipe the surface again and rinse the cloth. Afterwards, make sure you dry the surface with a clean t-towel. It is always best to clean a surface just before using it – that way you make sure that the lowest level of pathogens is present.
Wash all cleaning cloths, t-towels, aprons etc on the hottest setting on your washing machine to make sure that any germs are killed.
How should I clean if someone is ill with Omicron?
If a member of your household has tested positive, they need to self-isolate in line with NHS rules. Ventilate their isolation room regularly throughout the day even in winter. Opening windows for 5-10 minutes every hour is ideal and ensure windows are open at night. If you are preparing food and drink for the patient, their plates, mugs and cutlery should not be shared and should be washed up separately. Clean surfaces and prepare meals individually. If possible, allow the infected person to have a separate bathroom. Ventilate the bathroom throughout the day and clean with organic cleaners daily. Change towels and flannels daily. Do not shake their dirty laundry. We recommend laundering separately and always wash your hands after handling a sick person’s dirty laundry. Unless the fabric is unsuitable, wash clothes, towels and bedlinen at 60 degrees or above to ensure that all bacteria and viruses are killed. When you go into the patient’s room wear a mask and keep at least 2m away. Always wash your hands carefully after visiting the infected person’s room.
Stay true to your ethics and reduce the risk of Omicron
These startling statistics about the resistance of Omicron should not frighten us into purchasing toxic products for the home that are ‘tested against COVID-19’. Organic household products will remove all bacteria and viruses as effectively as any other products provided they are used correctly. Find out more about Greenscents organic multi-surface sprays here . You can find more practical advice on how to reduce the risks of coronavirus here.