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Consumer Reports: How to avoid touching public spaces

Posted at 5:57 AM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 10:12:04-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Pumping gas? You’ll have to touch the pump, nozzle and maybe the hose. Getting cash out of the ATM? You’re going to have to push keypad buttons or touch a screen. Going food shopping? You’ll need to push a shopping cart or carry a basket. Every one of those surfaces could potentially expose you to coronavirus.

“While this coronavirus appears to be primarily spread when people cough or sneeze and respiratory droplets land on those nearby, research suggests it may survive on surfaces made from a variety of materials, for hours or even days," says Sana Mujahid, Consumer Reports.

To help protect yourself, Consumer Reports offers these tips to stay safe. Avoid touching surfaces with your fingertips. Instead use a pen or your knuckle to press an elevator button or an ATM keypad or a touchscreen.

“If you can’t avoid touching a high-touch surface, you can also carry tissues with you, and use them to grab a doorknob or handrail," says Mujahid. "Just be sure to throw them away right after using. Another option is using your sleeve to cover your hand or finger.”

And your smartphone may not be a public surface, but it too can harbor bacteria, viruses and other germs. Clean it often with a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe. And of course even after doing all of these things, wash your hands as soon as you can and avoid touching your face.