No one can avoid the essential trips outside to the grocery store or even the pharmacy. Most people feel anxiety in the possibilities of bringing the coronavirus into their homes through their clothes, shoes, and/or even their hair. We still need to take precautions and be as hygienic as we possibly can.
Here’s what experts have to say about coronavirus lurking on clothes and hair:
Answers from infectious disease experts, aerosol scientists, and microbiologists have reassured us that it’s not necessary to change clothes or take a shower when you return home. You should always cover your mouth and wash your hands when you cough or sneeze.
Although it’s factual that a sneeze or cough from an infected person can propel viral droplets and small particles through the air, most of them will drop to the ground. Studies show that these small viral particles float in the air for about half an hour. However, they don’t swarm like insects that tend to collide with clothes, shoes, and even hair.
Comparing coronavirus to small (or even micro-sized) insects.
Experts even said that the said particles may be small. However, it will be unlikely to deposit on clothing due to simple aerodynamics. Those particles will move in the air around the body and the clothing but will not land on it. They also explained that it would be like when a car runs at a slow speed. Small insects flow through the streamline and flies along with the car’s speed.
However, if the car goes fast enough, insects and even dust particles in the air will potentially slam into the windshield. Humans don’t usually move that fast. As we move, we push air out of our way. At the same time, most of the droplets and particles get pushed out of the way, too. Someone would have to spray large droplets on you for the coronavirus to land on your clothes.
An unlikely way to contract the coronavirus.
You may be talking to a spit talker or someone who had intentionally coughed or sneezed on your clothes. Those droplets are large enough that they don’t follow the typical streamlines. When someone coughed or sneezed on you, you should probably go home, change and take a shower.
Take comfort in knowing that your slow-moving body pushes the air and viral particles away from your clothes. For all the same reasons, you should also not feel any worry about viral contamination on your hair or your beard. Even when someone sneezed on the back of your head, any droplets that have landed on you would be an unlikely source of infection.
Avoid touching your face to avoid coming into contact with the coronavirus.
When someone sneezes, they have to have an X amount of virus in that sneeze. There have to be so many drops that have landed on you. When you touch that part of your hair or clothing that has those viral droplets and then touch your face, that will be the most likely way you could come into contact with the coronavirus.
Depending on the concentration of the virus, it could take five minutes, three hours or even 24 hours for it to become inactive on the fibers in the fabric. Even with a relatively high virus load in the droplet, scientists have observed the rapid loss of infectivity for paper and even cotton material.
Wash your hands religiously and continue practicing social distancing! Stay safe, Villagers!
Angela Grace P. Baltan is a Communication graduate from Colegio de San Juan de Letran. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, and mental health among others.