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Glitter goes absolutely everywhere, so if we can think of the virus like glitter, we’d be better prepared for it.
Glitter goes absolutely everywhere, so if we can think of the virus like glitter, we’d be better prepared for it.
I am writing this article to educate, not to cast aspersions; and support our community in terms of thinking about how to avoid the spread of this virus. I’ll be talking about the glitter effect; how the virus is just like glitter and is spread like glitter. Glitter goes absolutely everywhere, so if we can think of the virus like glitter, we’d be better prepared for it. I’m also talking about how some organisations are trying to protect us, but the emphasis is on you. You are responsible for protecting yourself and your family. Don’t rely on organisations, because you will see by the end of this article, they are ill equipped to protect any one at all!
Over the last few weeks, I have been watching with amazement on the way in which the supermarkets are responding to COVID-19. Now I will start this article by appreciating the effort, by empathising with the resource, and giving them credibility for at least trying.
The issue that I have with their approach is that nobody has thought sensibly or logically about infection control. Every single supermarket I have been into, are doing at least one thing wrong. My question is why haven’t they sought professional advice? Why are they just winging this? The health of their customer base is much more important than just guessing that their approach is effective?
The other day I was parked outside a high end shop; you would think were do things right? Well I hate to break it to you but they are not doing it right. It took them absolutely ages to implement a one-way system, which is astounding considering the usual demographic of the usual shopper of this ‘well to do’ chain. Let’s face it this isn’t a cheap shop, and it has a certain level of affluence, and a certain age demographic which enables the ability to shop there. You would think that a shop selling high end goods, would take professional advice? I was parked the other day, watching the queue to get in to this shop, and there was a chap at the front of the queue spraying down trolleys and wiping them down.
I could see very clearly that he was using D10 which is a Diversey product and has a 5-minute contact time. So, this chemical has been tested to kill commonly occurring bacteria in a kitchen, the instructions clearly say, spray on to a surface, leave for 5 minutes and rinse throughly with clean water. To be clear, this product takes 5 minutes to kill bacteria and viruses.
Now it may be that this particular shop had sanitised all of the trolleys earlier that morning, but one person was coming out of the shop, handing the trolley back and then the chap was wiping it down with this spray which is entirely not fit for purpose then immediately handing it over to an unsuspecting shopper who knows no better than to just take it! This chemical D10 takes 5 MINUTES to kill all bacteria, so the people who are touching these trolleys might as well just hold hands…..
Another grocery shopping chain are taking a totally different approach….. they are providing sanitising sprays at the entrance. Which is good right…. Wrong! So, you’ve approached the trolley rack and you picked up your trolley, you’re touching it you push it towards the entrance go through the automatic doors and there you are greeted with the sanitising spray. The sanitising spray has no accreditation, so it’s not proven to kill any bacteria at all, let alone viruses. There is no guidance in terms of what you’re supposed to do with the spray, so most members of the public will spray down the handle of the trolley. Probably neglecting to do anything to their hands, which is already picked up whatever was on the trolley. Reassured by the effect of chemical at the entrance, they’re quite happily touching their face. So, with this approach, there is no control of the infection, because you have already picked it up at the entrance.
And finally, I was at another grocery chain, as usual my husband went in and I was watching the queue. People again were grabbing a contaminated trolley, wheeling it up to a lady, and she was spraying this trolley down with a blue unlabelled chemical, which 1. this practice is illegal; it is illegal to be spraying chemicals around the public domain that have no label on it, and two If it was a chemical of any substance at all and was being properly managed within the workplace it would have a label. I would hazard a guess that chemical is an own brand watered-down detergent; so effectively useless.
I’ve also been watching the people in the queue. We as a population have had so much conflicting advice, from wearing face masks; to the ineffectiveness of wearing face masks, to wearing gloves, to not wearing gloves, wearing goggles to not wearing goggles – and from watching the population, I can see that a great deal of people are confused by infection control, they’re scared, they don’t understand how this virus is being spread. This is true of the measures that the supermarkets have put in place, there is not one that is doing it correctly.
I am astounded on a daily basis by people driving around in cars with gloves on. That is tantamount to going to bed on your own and putting a condom on! I know that is an extreme example but wearing gloves in the car is extreme behaviour. Let me explain as to why it is extreme behaviour. Think of any virus like glitter, when you pick it up on your hands you can see the glitter, and where ever you lay your hand glitter is spread, so the virus is spread. So you go into your car, with your gloves on, drive to the grocery shop; get out the car; then you go and pick up a contaminated trolley. So now your gloves have contamination or glitter on them. You take your trolley to the sanitising station, thinking you’re doing the right thing, you spray down your trolley. This chemical that you have been provided with is likely to be ineffective, because effective chemicals are expensive and the ones that work within 30 seconds are expensive. You don’t spray down your gloves, because you have gloves on right…… but you still have glitter/virus/bacteria on your gloves.
You’re in the shop picking up things, putting them back because you feel protected by your gloves. You’re spreading the glitter in the shop, you get to the checkout, you pick up a high touch object; the next customer bar. You’re trying not to touch the cashier because they might be contaminated but they are picking up everything that you picked up with your glitter gloves so they’ve now got potential contamination on their hands. They are picking up contamination from you, and many many others and passing it around the shop. You pay for your goods, hopefully contactless (because you don’t want to be contaminated) and then you exit the shop. I have to say here, it is everybody’s personal responsibility to protect themselves. The cashier has responsibility to protect themselves, to the best of their ability and to the best of their knowledge, and so do you.
So hopefully by now you haven’t touched your face (which is difficult because humans are face touchers!) but you will pick up your keys and open your car, so contaminating your keys with your contaminated glitter gloves. If you are lucky your boot will open itself with a swipe of your foot on newer cars. If you have touched your car it now has glitter/virus/bacteria over It. You put your shopping in the boot return your glitter covered trolley and get in your car. Hands on the steering wheel; contamination; hand on the gearstick; contamination. That is why I have an issue with people driving in their cars with gloves on.
People driving around in cars with masks on is also absurd. Chances are, the only way you could catch COVID-19 on the road is if somebody in your car already has it. You are only supposed to be within 2 m of somebody who lives in your household, so driving a car with somebody who is not in your household is not allowed. Households are hotspots for picking up this virus. So why you would want to get in the car with somebody that you live with all the surfaces that you’re communally touching with a mask on; this is absolute craziness.This is an absolute oxymoron, and makes no sense at all!
This virus is persisting in our society because people aren’t thinking about infection control. Thinking about infection control you need to have some key industry knowledge which I have shared with you, but you also need to be thinking about yourself and your own safety first and foremost. So yes the supermarkets are trying to sanitise trolleys; however this is being done very unsuccessfully. This is because they haven’t taken key professional advice and they are just guessing that the measures they are taking are alright.
People are trusting others to provide safe surfaces for them, they are not safe though because the surfaces are not sterile. People are spreading and sharing glitter and are just not thinking about where they are leaving the glitter.
What do I do when I go shopping? I take a hand sanitiser with me; I don’t bother wearing gloves. I take my hand sanitiser in to the shop with me, I use Hysan because it coats my hands in a chemical which will kill bacteria and viruses for up to four hours. Before I touch my trolley, I pour a generous amount of Hysan in to my hands, then I spread it on my trolley handle. I know this chemical kills bacteria and viruses within 30 seconds. With this approach, my hands and my trolley are sterile in 30 seconds. It doesn’t matter that I’m touching my trolley while the chemical is working, because all areas will be sterile within 30 seconds for up to 4 hours.
I go around the shop, touch things, but never my face, I pay, get to my car. I’m aware I potentially have contamination on my hands, although I’ve only been in the shop for 20 minutes and my hand gel works for 4 hours, I put some more on before I open my boot. Pop the shopping in, return the trolley, sanitise again, and then I can get in to the car with my family, in the knowledge I am keeping them safe.
This virus is persisting because people are not thinking about the glitter effect. Thinking about the glitter effect will help you to not spread and reinforce this virus’s hold on our society.
I hope this perspective keeps you and yours’ safe!
This blog was written by Anna Armstrong, Director of Sales and Operations at Astral. Please get in touch if there are any particular topics you would like us to talk about on the blog!
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