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6 easy ways to reduce coronavirus risk you didn’t think of

Do you know whether heartburn pills are safe for long-term use?

There are certainly ways to avoid coronavirus risk altogether, such as isolating yourself. But sometimes you just have to go to work, or interact with others. While you should be very concerned, keep in mind that in the last 30 days there have been many more cases of and deaths from the flu than coronavirus, though that could certainly change in a future month.

At this point, if you are reading this, you know the basics about hand-washing, not touching your face etc., but maybe there are 6 simple risk-reduction “hacks” you are not aware of.

(1) Mark your fingers like this

Use an indelible marker or tie a string or rubber band around your fingers, especially on your right hand. This will remind you not to shake hands, and to wash your hands or sanitize them if you do. If you are left-handed, you should probably do both hands.

(2) Use humidifiers at work

Most workplaces are very dry. Viruses can stay airborne longer in dry air. (Winter air being drier is thought to be one of the reasons flus are seasonal.) To oversimplify, the viruses attach to water droplets and fall to the ground faster in humid air.

Nor do you want to overdo it. If the air feels humid, it’s probably too humid. Other pathogens — molds in particular — thrive in moist areas. However, very few workplaces have this problem.

(3) Avoid contact with hard surfaces

One would think that viruses would live longer on soft, cushy surfaces than hard, shiny ones.  That’s quite counter-intuitive. If you met someone for the first time, you would certainly open their door, but you wouldn’t jump into their bed. (Cue sophomoric joke here about swiping right.)

And indeed beds and other soft surfaces do harbor all sorts of other microscopic life forms, most of which wouldn’t harm you or we’d all be extinct by now. For instance, you should swap out your pillows every year or so because dust mites like to set up housekeeping in them. But for cold, flu and coronavirus, it’s the hard, shiny public surfaces that will get you.

(4) Reduce the number of hard surfaces in public places

Prop open doors. Door handles (or pushing on revolving doors) are probably the #1 surface that people come into contact with, without thinking twice about it.

Obviously, this isn’t always practical. One could do it for the break rooms but perhaps not the restrooms. In that case, perhaps wrap tape around the door handles. Viruses die sooner on softer surfaces, and since people think of softer surfaces as carrying more germs (they do – just not coronavirus), they will be more likely to wash afterwards.

(5) Check the ingredients in your hand sanitizer

Good old-fashioned alcohol should be the main ingredient — at least 60%. Many, for aesthetic reasons, prefer better-smelling or faster-drying active ingredients. Those will offer some protection, but alcohol rules.

(6) Play the Quizzify coronavirus quizzes…and send them to your employees

The first covers the basics.  It was profiled yesterday (March 9) in Employee Benefit News.

Like with The Pink Panther and arguably The Godfather and National Lampoon’s Vacation, the sequel — which is just coming out now — is better than the original.



  1. Sam Lippe says:

    The finger-marking alone worth the price of admission!


  2. […] your hankering for coronavirus information has not been sated by the quizzes check out his post on 5 easy ways to reduce coronavirus risk you didn’t think […]


  3. Douglas A Dame says:

    How about “wear gloves, any gloves, when out’n’about” ? We all touch our face a lot normally … but do you do the same things when wearing gloves? Do you rub your eyes, when you’re wearing gloves? Do you scratch that itchy nose? Run your gloved fingers through your hair? No, No, and No … your brain has an instinctive “get out-a-here, do you have any idea where those gloves have been???” reaction that it doesn’t have when the gloves aren’t present. (Personal research, sample of one.)


  4. I wipe my fingers on my clothing after touching the keypad too, entering the debit PIN number. And of course sanitize hands after leaving the store.
    Great point about the doors! For ones that open out, I use the bottom of my shirt to open them. And if someone sees my belly, good for them! LOL


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