Adam’s Ag Talk
Food safety regulations protect take-out and delivered food from COVID-19, but precautions remain important when interacting with food service personnel.
Precautions remain necessary when people meet people. The cleaning of surfaces is critical. There’s a possibility that the virus can be transmitted through feces, but that possibility is not well understood. Some reports out of China and evidence from people who have been confirmed positive suggests that perhaps 50 percent of cases present with some sort of gastrointestinal symptoms, even in the absence of respiratory symptoms.
A University of California study published March 20 suggests the COVID-19 virus survives on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on hard surfaces like plastic and stainless steel for two to three days. Survival time on different could result from sampling methods to detect the virus. Recovery of viruses from soft surfaces is more difficult than from harder surfaces.
Washing your hands is the easiest and most effective way to protect yourself from COVID-19. Soap breaks down the lipid layer of the virus making it more susceptible to inactivation. The act of physically rubbing hands will remove the virus as well. If you wash your hands correctly you should be able to remove hundreds to thousands of virus particles. Antibacterial agents alone are not helpful because they are specific to bacterial pathogens and not viruses.
When selecting hand sanitizers, people should look for those labeled “antimicrobial.” These will target more than just bacteria. These are not helpful against all viruses, but they are effective against respiratory viruses like the COVID-19 virus. Isopropyl alcohol breaks down the lipid layer that protects the virus, so alcohol-based hand sanitizers with more than 60- 70% alcohol help protect against the virus.
Even if you are social distancing and staying at home it is still important to wash your hands. Many infectious diseases can be transmitted by poor hand hygiene. Additionally, you should make handwashing a habit and work toward true behavior change while isolated at home so when you do have to go out, it will be second nature.
To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agriculture Experiment Station website: aaes.uark.edu or follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch and Instagram at ArkAgResearch. For more information on COVID-19 please contact The Newton County Extension Office at 870-446-2240. Remember to check out our Facebook UAEX Newton County Extension Agriculture News.
Newton County Ag-Extension Agent-Staff Chair