This Tuesday I made the painstaking trip to the supermarket. I’ve been putting it off for long enough and we’ve run out of space to write any more things on our list.It’s time.I knew as I was preparing to go, that it was going to be longer than my usual trip prior to the pandemic. With limited capacity of people shopping at one time, and the extra precautions we should all take in handling the groceries – I had aside the whole morning for this.
A few tips
With new viruses, comes new research about it. Since Late December/ early January, there’s been lots of research about this novel virus, and new research continues to emerge as we fight the battle to win against this virus. Unlike existing viruses/ bacterial infections no one has immunity to this virus; unlike influenza, this virus suggests that this one is more virulent as it spreads more effectively. We have no treatment or cure, and with the changing of seasons, and how interconnected the world is, this virus spread like wildfire. Although the elderly, those with co-morbidity and the immunocompromised are more likely to be hospitalised and suffer more, the virus doesn’t discriminate and anyone can get it.There’s been evidence that even the asymptomatic ones can carry and transmit the virus – which is probably one of the red flags to why it spread so quickly!Here are the precautions I did to minimise the risk of getting the virus:
Surgical Mask and Hand Sanitiser
I was gifted a pack of surgical mask from a friend and we decided as a family that we would wear the masks if we need to go out to high traffic, essential shops that are open e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, doctors, etc. Although it doesn’t protect us (me most of the time, as I am the designated shopper) from getting the virus, and New Zealand culture, like many European cultures, seem to shy away from wearing masks in public, we thought it would still provide some protection, if any. Also, my biggest rationale is that although I or my family don’t show any symptoms for COVID-19, I can’t be 100% certain that either of us don’t have the virus. I would hate to be the silent carrier and giver of the virus!As I entered the supermarket I couldn’t help but think how it is impossible to stay in your “bubble”. The amount of people that has touched the trolley, fruits, vegetables, packaging would only mean that if someone does have the SARS-COV-2 virus, we’re gonners. I applied “the patient zone vs the healthcare zone” from work into this but obviously changed it to “my bubble vs red zone”: I sanitised my hands before I entered the supermarket and touch anything else; I applied my surgical mask and then enter the supermarket; I get my groceries; I go to the car and open my boot; I sanitised my hands here; before I grab my disinfectant for my groceries and touch the inside of my car. This way, I have ‘clean’ hands when I disinfect my groceries and pack it in the bags.
I should have done this instead of using my phone (lesson learned for next time!). However, it might be helpful to write the list according to the order of the layout of the supermarket so that you don’t miss the items and you don’t have to spend more time than you need to at the supermarket. Avoid pens so you can just throw the list away at the end.I usually take a photo of our whiteboard list at home and go about my supermarket with the photo. In retrospect, I can write the list on paper and avoid bringing my phone, which means I didn’t have to disinfect my phone at the end, but I guess if you disinfect your phone after your groceries then it’s the same thing?
Disinfecting Your Groceries
I used Jeffery VanWingen‘s way of grocery shopping with a slight modification, I brought my disinfectant to the car with my paper towels. I’ve left all my shopping reusable bags in the car and loaded my groceries in the car so that I don’t bring my shopping bags into ‘the red zone’ so that I can take in my groceries in its bags inside my house. I do designate a couple of reusable bags for my fresh produce so that I don’t take these inside the house but more on this below.Once I am at my car, I would saturate a square of paper towel with the disinfectant. I also liberally spray all packaging with disinfectant and as I picked it up, I would wipe it down with the saturated paper towel. Theoretically this should kill most common microbes including the SARS-COV-2 virus. As the packaging is “clean”, I can now pack it into the reusable bags in my car as it good enough to be in my “bubble”.After all this, I disinfect my phone, cards, hand sanitiser, keys, and anything else that I may have touched during my trip to the “red zone”.
I sanitised my hands before going into the boot. Took all of my bags but the ones with fresh produce inside, and left my fresh produce at the door. I left my sugar and potato in the car for 24 hours because it was in paper packaging and research says that the virus can last in cardboard for that long.I washed my hands with soap and water and changed my clothes. I then pack my packaged boxes away and prepare to wash my fresh produce by filling my sink with warm soapy water (warm water will suffice, but our dishwasher liquid is super mild and I used only a tiny bit). One by one I submerged the fresh produce in the water for 20 seconds and gently scrubbed the fresh produced to wash it and then rinse it under cold water before putting it onto the dish rack to air dry. This took a while, but I bought a lot hoping to last for at least a week and a half to prevent going into the supermarket again until then!I stored my fresh greens and vegetables in my Tupperware and Systemas with a wet paper towel on top and bottom to humidify the cut vegies so that it lasts longer! It has nearly been a week and so far so good!I hope this helps or give insight to our new way of grocery shopping. As I write this, it sounds super ridiculous, overwhelming and pedantic – but as many rightly says it, we are at war with this virus and so every little bit helps to stop the spread. Would you consider shopping this way?