Please note: As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, the information in this article may change. You can find our most up-to-date information about coronavirus here.

Do you really need to sanitize your groceries or your carry out food when you bring it in to your house?

Grocery shopping is important, but sometimes people get more worried about the objects they’re touching than about the people that are around them. When it comes to grocery shopping – and things outside the house in general – you want to first focus on the setting and the people involved.

When I go grocery shopping, I make sure it’s at a store where the customers, sales people and checkout people are all wearing masks. Ideally, the checkout people are behind Plexiglass barriers so they’re somewhat protected. All of this tells me it’s a safer environment, especially since most grocery stores do not have aisles that are 6 feet wide, so maintaining social distancing of 6 feet in a grocery aisle isn’t that practical – you’re going to have to pass someone at some point.

When it comes to touching things in the grocery store, my advice is to do whatever gives you more peace of mind. It’s a good idea to plan your visit and make a grocery list. Your overall objective is to get in and get out as quickly and safely as possible. You should wear a mask while shopping, and if it makes you feel more comfortable, you can wear gloves.

When it comes to unpacking your groceries at home, again, do what gives you the best peace of mind. For example, you can put an old towel down on the floor and put the grocery bags on the towel while you unpack things and wipe off the outsides of the containers with antiseptic wipes. There are a number of other things you can do to make it a little less likely that you’ll contact the virus from an object, but in general, touching objects is an extremely unlikely way to contract COVID-19.

Most importantly, regardless of your activities, wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands! And also don’t forget that you should not be going out or around others if you are sick.

Get more tips from Dr. Wiedermann on this episode of Pandemic Parenting, a Facebook Live event featuring Barbara Harrison.

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Bernhard Wiedermann Bernhard Wiedermann, MD, MA, is a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases. His research and clinical interests include: general pediatric infections such as Lyme disease, unexplained and recurrent fevers, malaria and other tropical diseases, bone and joint infections, medical education, distance learning and telemedicine and evidence-based medicine.

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