York County Medicine Summer 2020 - 24

YO R K C O M E D S O C . O R G

FEATURE:

Safety Tips for Groceries
and Takeout During COVID-19
By: James Raczek, MD, FAAFP, Chief Medical Officer, UPMC Pinnacle

W

ith COVID-19 diagnoses on the rise, it's more
important than ever to follow stay-at-home orders and
practice social distancing. Minimizing contact with
others is the best way to reduce the spread of the virus. The fewer
people who get sick, the fewer who will need to be hospitalized.

* Make a list of what you will need at the grocery store. Start
by taking inventory of what's already in your pantry, and then
plan around these items to create meals.

But what about when you do need to go out? Experts agree
that stocking up for no more than two weeks' needs is best for the
good of everyone in our communities. Here are some tips to help
avoid contracting viruses and staying healthy on your next trip to
the grocery store or a restaurant for takeout.

* Be prepared with hand sanitizer or hand sanitizing wipes.

BEFORE GOING OUT
If at all possible, designate one person at a time to do the
errands. If you do bring your family, there should be someone old
enough to supervise them in the car so they are safe while you are
in the shop. Taking the family out for browsing during stay-athome orders puts everyone at greater risk.
* Put on a mask. Disease experts are now saying we should
wear a mask whenever we go out in public - to protect yourself
and to protect others. Under the new recommendation,
healthy individuals are advised to wear mouth and nose face
coverings. These can include homemade masks, scarves or
bandanas. Medical quality masks are not necessary and should
be saved for medical professionals.
* Make a list of where you need to go and consolidate your
needs into one trip with multiple stops. Put grocery shopping
as the last destination so food stays cold. If you are getting
takeout, plan to swing by on your way home so the food
maintains the appropriate temperature.
24

York County Medicine | SUMMER 2020

* Plan your shopping trip during the bookends of store hours:
early and late in the day tend to be less crowded at more stores.
* Don't take your reusable shopping bags.

AT THE GROCERY STORE
You may have seen videos with people cleaning groceries
with near-surgical precision. While studies have shown that
coronavirus can live on different surfaces for varying numbers of
days, remember that those were laboratory experiments. The actual
conditions in which the virus would have to live in the real world
are very different.
There is currently no evidence that suggests that the virus has
been or can be transmitted from groceries. The probability of this
is extremely low, but there are some things you can do to promote
safety at the grocery store:
* Don't go shopping if you're sick or if you think you might be
sick.
* To limit exposure, consider curbside pickup or a grocery
delivery service.
* Don't panic buy. Stick to your list.
* Use disinfecting wipes on cart handles and other high-touch
surfaces, like door handles. If you have hand sanitizer, that also
works, but if you have neither, no need to panic.


http://www.YORKCOMEDSOC.ORG

York County Medicine Summer 2020

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