No, not the final frontier. Personal space.
A topic that has been in the headlines for over 18 months, and still the airwaves bristle with stories about the logic of gyms, the wisdom of nightclubs, and the recently refilled stadiums, pulsating once again, every weekend.
It’s natural. We’ve been inundated for the last two years. Social distancing. The two-metre rule. And the mask – as ubiquitous as your keys or mobile phone.
Much of the media focus has rightly centred around the remarkable ability of the COVID-19 virus to loiter. An aerosol that will drift with the breeze, or hang in the air of an enclosed space: unwelcome, unwanted, yet stubborn.
And whilst we should all naturally continue to respect personal space as society increasingly opens up – it’s vitally important not to overlook the risk that remains when there’s no-one around.
The risk that’s left behind – on the hard surfaces of tables, door handles, windows, stools, taps, and cupboards. On the soft materials in clothes, armchairs, curtains and cushions.
It quickly becomes clear that the question isn’t as simple as ‘Can a virus survive on surfaces’? The question is more ‘How long?’
How long viruses survive on surfaces
According to a study in The Lancet in spring 2020, in which SARS-CoV-2 was tested rigorously in different environments, scientists found that the COVID-19 virus was able to survive on different surfaces as indicated below:
Plastic – 3-7 days
Stainless Steel – 3-7 days
Copper – up to 4 hours
Paper – up to 4 days
Glass – up to 4 days
Cardboard – 24 hours
Wood – up to 2 days
Material – up to 2 days
Clearly, these figures are subject to fluctuation, depending on viral dose, ambient temperature, humidity, and so forth, but these findings have been held up as public-facing facts – leading to those early government warnings around the importance of frequent hand washing.
Why viruses are such a problem if cleaning is not a priority
We do everything with our hands – and totting up the number of ‘surfaces touched’ over the course of a 16hr day would be a pretty tall order.
But just consider one small element of the day: the number of objects you come into contact with through a seemingly innocuous trip to the grocer. Coats, bags, door handles, baskets/trolleys, shelves, fridge doors, tins, cartons, money, credit cards – and perhaps all of those touchpoints within your car as well.
Now let’s assume the local grocer has an average footfall of 100 people per hour. They will typically be open at least 10 hours/day, suggesting that 1000 different people go through the store, all of whom touch many of the same things you do.
And let’s also factor in the virus survival rate on some of those key surfaces – widening the contact pool by several days in many cases.
It doesn’t take a degree in maths to work out that the potential for viral transmission is vast.
The increasing importance of home hygiene
So, whilst in public we’re very much reliant on companies and staff employing good hygiene practice, there is certainly action we can take as individuals to mitigate against transmission from our own homes.
No, let’s go further. There’s action that we absolutely should be taking as individuals – through good hygiene and sanitisation at home, and in our personal lives – to ensure we work together as a society to stem infection and the spread of virus and bacteria.
This is increasingly important now that lockdown has ended: we are socialising much more, inviting our friends and families round, and generally returning to a way of life that we remember back in 2019.
It’d be hard to argue that it’s been a good summer, but we have to recognise that the warmer weather from May-September does allow us a good deal more freedom. Greater social interaction is naturally a huge relief for all of us, and whilst it’s understandable to relax after such a long spell of vigilance, we need to ensure that our hygiene standards do not drop – particularly as we head into autumn.
Over the months ahead, we’ll witness the merging of events that we haven’t seen for the last two years. The opening up of society, and a gradual shift to indoor entertaining.
At the risk of conflating the two, cleanliness – but above all, hygiene – are going to be more important than ever over the autumn, and the combination of a good routine and high-quality, trustworthy products will minimise the risk level, and provide peace of mind.
Stock up on the cleaning products you require
We wouldn’t use the phrase ‘bandwagon’ lightly, but it’s undeniable.
Worldwide sales of household disinfectant grew by 47% in 2020, and let’s just say that there have been a lot of ‘new players’ to the hygiene market over the last 18 months. For the consumer, the supermarket aisles represent a bewildering array of brands – not all of which perform the roles they advertise, (leading to the actual removal of product lines in some cases).
If you’re looking for products that actively protect against bacteria and viral strains, then it pays to be a little analytical. You want to be sure that the products you’re buying are actually scientifically proven to guard against what you’re trying to avoid. To an unparalleled degree.
Our Uniwipe products are among the most highly tested wipes available, and have been proven to improve cleaning efficiency, reduce cost and eliminate cross-contamination. Dedicated product lines have been designed to focus on key hygiene-specific industries, covering catering and hospitality, education, transport, manufacturing and medical. Each pack will frequently promote the prominent strains it is effective against, and provide EN-accreditations alongside.
And given that they’re dermatologically tested, they’re ideal for the home too – offering industry-level protection against common bacteria and viruses at the domestic level.