Accurate information to help fight COVID-19 pandemic is critical right now. I want to share with you the resources and information that I have learned from the CDC to help you sort the facts from the fiction, hype and hysteria that is abundantly circulating right now.
The reality of the COVID-19 pandemic is now clearly part of each of our lives across the country and the world. I want to help keep you safe and guide you to the most credible sources of information as our understanding of this disease evolves. As a physician and scientist, I turn to the CDC website for up-to-date information and I want to summarize my actionable conclusions from it to help you. I am going to give you my personal summary and the links to the full pages.
Know that we are instituting these precautions at Dr. Bailey Skin Care for the safety of our staff, our customers and each of your orders. We are uniquely a physician owned and run business where staff and our packing process is directly overseen by me, a Board Certified Dermatologist. My staff who process your orders are highly detail oriented and include a medical assistant and a molecular biologist who consider your safety our utmost priority. Yes, we are a dedicated team of science-geeks and right now that is an advantage!
COVID-19 information from the CDC that you need to know:
Early reports suggest person-to-person transmission most commonly happens during close exposure to a person infected with COVID-19, primarily via respiratory droplets produced when the infected person coughs or sneezes. Droplets can land in the mouths, noses, or eyes of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs of those within close proximity. ….. However, airborne transmission from person-to-person over long distances is unlikely.
The CDC site goes on to recommend:
- use tissues to cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, to dispose of tissues and contaminated items in waste receptacles,
- supplies for respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, including alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) with 60-95% alcohol, tissues, and no-touch receptacles for disposal,
- perform hand hygiene by using ABHR (alcohol-based hand rub) with 60-95% alcohol or washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
The CDC handwashing guidelines give more specific information:
- However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water. (Because grimy and greasy hands are harder to clean and disinfect.)
- Household members should follow normal preventive actions while at work and home including recommended hand hygiene and avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Additional key times to clean hands include:
- After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After using the restroom
- Before eating or preparing food
- After contact with animals or pets
- Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)
Find more information from the CDC on hand washing here
Are all hand sanitizers and surface wipes good enough to kill and protect you from COVID-19?
No! Many hand sanitizers are NOT good enough to inactivate this virus. The same is true for many surface wipes. I have been reading labels and most do not meet the CDC criteria for killing viral particles. Many claim to “kill 99% of bacteria” but COVID-19 is a virus. Beware and read labels. Your best defense is hand washing and alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing a minimum of 60% alcohol used generously per the CDC guidelines. As a dermatologist, I can promise that this will lead to dry hands and irritant hand dermatitis, which I will help you with below. - Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey
This information is really important. Again, many surface wipes do NOT kill the virus. Those that do are in short supply. Plus, there is a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Here is what the CDC says:
- Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. (If you are reusing gloves, I recommend washing them with soap and water before you take them off just like you would your hands and then hang them to dry.) Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
- If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. (Because grimy and greasy surfaces are harder to disinfect.)
- For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. Here is one link to viral-killing cleaners though this is not a CDC-endorsed list. Here is another link for viral-killing cleaners from the EPA, which oversees disinfectants but not hand sanitizers.
- Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
- Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
- 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
- 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
- For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
- If the items can be laundered, launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.
- Otherwise, use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims that are suitable for porous surfaces
What am I as a physician personally doing to try to prevent COVID-19 infection?
- I know that fomites (surfaces with viral droplets and particles such as door knobs, shopping carts, ink pens, payment kiosks etc.) are a huge source of COVID-19 infection potential. I am making the assumption that all shared surfaces have the potential to be contaminated with viral particles. I carry wipes that I have doused with 70% isopropyl alcohol and use them on any public item that I touch. I carry them in my purse in a double Ziplock bag.
- I am constantly cleaning the surface of my electronic devices and I don’t set them down on public surfaces or touch them before washing my hands when I have touched public surfaces. I also don't let anyone else touch them.
- I wash my hands per the CDC guidelines after touching anything that others have touched. I use my Survival Kit for Busy Hands with my Natural Foaming Hand Soap and follow this by application of my Dry Skin Hand Cream. These are placed at all of my sinks. I am prone to dry hands and the consequence of this is extreme irritant hand dermatitis so I use the Hand Cream after every hand washing. It is non-greasy and uniquely effective and preventing dry hands.
- I am practicing ‘social distancing’ by standing 6 feet away from everyone but my family. So far none of us are ill!
- I step even farther away from anyone that seems ill so as not to be in their respiratory droplet zone.
- I am not going anywhere that I don’t need to go. I do grocery shop and run only essential errands - armed with alcohol disinfectant.
- I'm working to keep my immune system strong by walking outside (6 feet social distancing) for cardio exercise, getting a good night's sleep and eating well. As a physician I know that our immune system is our best defense against becoming gravely ill.
Interestingly, I wrote an article during the pandemic of the Swine Flu (remember that) in 2009. It is even more appropriate today. I invite you to read it both as a reminder that this too will pass and for the tips I offer during a pandemic. Click here to read: Pandemic of Dry Hands; hand sanitizers, the Swine Flu and tips to save your hands.
I want you to feel good about washing your hands and moisturizing them abundantly. I am offering my three hand care kits at a discount so that you can stock your homes and offices with them. Irritant hand dermatitis is not something we need to add to these trying times.
My personal favorite is my Survival Kit for Busy Hands. It is at every sink in my home and office.
I keep the Hand Care Kit for Naturally Busy Hands in my bathroom because my husband and I also use the Natural Lotion as a body lotion.
If and when my hands get really dry I have the Dry Hand Skin Repair Kit products by my bedside to heal them overnight.
COVID-19 information will change over the next few months.
The bottom line is that we know our understanding of this new virus is evolving. CDC information will become refined including that of viral transmission, viral shedding, viral inactivation and who is at highest risk for severe complications. Misinformation will be abundant. I trust the CDC to keep us updated. During this pandemic, personal protective supplies such as N95 masks and sanitizers will be in short supply. The recipes from the CDC to use alcohol and bleach will be helpful but will create hand dermatitis.
My hand care kits will help save our hands. The good news is that good hand hygiene and social distancing are known to be highly effective at slowing or avoiding infection. It’s what I am doing for myself, my staff and my family.
Please know that Dr. Bailey Skin Care will continue to ship orders to our customers during these strange and difficult times. We are considered an 'Essential Business' by our local government. Essential Businesses include businesses that ship goods directly to residences. This helps people 'shelter in place', an important step recommended to blunt the spread of the coronavirus. We plan to continue processing orders and shipping goods to our customers so that they can shelter in place safely. We may need to modify our hours of operation and will let you know as the situation evolves.
Wishing you and your loved ones vibrant health and safety as this pandemic evolves. It will pass, as all pandemics and epidemics do, but until then, let’s take really good care of ourselves and our loved ones within the circles we can influence.
Here at Dr. Bailey Skin Care we are doing that for you.
Dr. Cynthia Bailey, Board Certified Dermatologist