Coronavirus (COVID-19)  

How to Protect Yourself

 

The risk of getting COVID-19 from food, treated drinking water, or food packaging is exceptionally low.

• The risk of getting COVID-19 from food you cook yourself or from handling and consuming food from restaurants and takeout or drive-thru meals is thought to be exceptionally low. Currently, there is no evidence that food is associated with spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.

• The risk of infection by the virus from food products, food packaging, or bags is thought to be exceptionally low. Currently, no cases of COVID-19 have been identified where infection was thought to have occurred by touching food, food packaging, or shopping bags.

Although some people who work in food production and processing facilities have gotten COVID-19, there is no evidence of the virus spreading to consumers through the food or packaging that workers in these facilities may have handled.

 

Food safety in the kitchen Use proper food safety practices when handling food and before, during and after preparing or eating food. The virus that causes COVID-19 cannot grow on food. Although, bacteria can grow on food, a virus requires a living host like a person or an animal to multiply.

 

Currently, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads to people through food. However, it is important to safely handle and continue to cook foods to their recommended cooking temperatures to prevent foodborne illness.

The virus that causes COVID-19 has not been found in drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates water treatment plants to ensure that treated water is safe to drink.

 

Clean surfaces Regularly clean and disinfect kitchen counters using a commercially available disinfectant product or a DIY disinfecting solution with 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) unscented liquid chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. Leave solution on the surface for at least 1 minute. Before preparing food on the kitchen counter, rinse disinfected surface with water.

WARNING: Do not use this solution or other disinfecting products on food or food packaging. Learn more about shopping for food during the COVID-19 pandemic. If someone in your home is sick, clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces daily such as handles, kitchen countertops, faucets, light switches, and doorknobs.

 

Everyday handling of packaged food and fresh produce Handling packaged food.

• When unpacking groceries, refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and other perishables within 2 hours of purchasing.

• Do NOT use disinfectants designed for hard surfaces, such as bleach or ammonia, on food packaged in cardboard or plastic wrap.

If reusable cloth bags become soiled, follow instructions for washing them, and dry them on the warmest appropriate setting. Handling and cleaning fresh produce

• Do NOT wash produce with soap, bleach, sanitizer, alcohol, disinfectant or any other chemical.

• Gently rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under cold, running tap water. Scrub uncut firm produce (e.g., potatoes, cucumbers, melons) with a clean brush, even if you do not plan to eat the peel. Salt, pepper, vinegar, lemon juice, and lime juice have not been shown to be effective at removing germs on produce.

 

Bulk meat, poultry, and seafood purchasing and handling In response to changes in the food supply chain, some meat and poultry manufacturers, restaurants, and restaurant suppliers have begun selling large amounts of meat, poultry, and seafood directly to consumers. While there is currently no evidence that food can spread the virus that causes COVID-19, there are other important considerations for bulk purchasing.

 

• Harmful bacteria grow fastest between 41°F and 140°F. If you are picking up a meat, poultry or seafood order, bring a cooler and ice packs to keep food at 41°F or colder during transit.

• Never allow meat, poultry or seafood that requires refrigeration to sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Never allow meat, poultry, or seafood that requires refrigeration to sit at room temperature for more than one hour if the air temperature is above 90°F.

• Once you arrive home, meat, poultry and seafood items should either be prepared immediately or put in the refrigerator or freezer for safe storage. In case of leaks in the packaging, bring a secondary container or place cases of meat, poultry, or seafood in an area of your vehicle that can be easily clean and sanitized. If leaks occur, thoroughly wash the surface with hot, soapy water or a bleach solution after it comes in contact with raw meat, poultry or seafood, or its juices.

 

COVID-19 and nutrition for health

To help cope with stress that may be related to the pandemic, take care of your body including good nutrition, as part of self-care. Dietary supplements are not meant to treat or prevent COVID-19. Certain vitamins and minerals (e.g., Vitamins C and D, zinc) may have effects on how our immune system works to fight off infections, as well as inflammation and swelling.

 

The best way to obtain these nutrients is through foods: Vitamin C in fruits and vegetables, Vitamin D in low-fat milk, fortified milk alternatives, and seafood, and zinc in lean meat, seafood, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

In some cases, dietary supplements may have unwanted effects, especially if taken in too large amounts, before surgery, or with other dietary supplements or medicines, or if you have certain health conditions.

 

If you are considering taking vitamins or dietary supplements, talk with your pharmacist, registered dietitian, or other healthcare provider before taking, especially when combining or substituting them with other foods or medicine. With changes in food availability in some communities, you may be consuming more canned or packaged food. Tips on purchasing canned and packaged goods using the Nutrition Facts label are available. In addition, helpful food planning is available at MyPlate. Getting the right amount of nutritious food like plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains is important for health.

 

Stop the Spread!

Practice social distancing by putting space between yourself and others. Continue to practice healthy habits to help slow the spread of #COVID19.

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds

Clean and then disinfect frequently used surfaces

 Stay home if you are sick

 Avoid touching your face

Coping with Boredom at a Time of Social Distancing Excerpts from “The Union Review” May 2020 Erin C. Westgate:

 

More and more of us are staying home to slow down the spreading coronavirus. But being stuck at home can lead to boredom. Boredom is a signal that we are not meaningful engaged with the world. It tells us to stop what we are doing and do it better or to do something else. But, as a social psychologist who studies boredom, I know that people do not always make the best choices when bored. So, if you are stuck at home, dutifully practicing your social distancing, how do you keep boredom away? We can feel bored even with jobs and activities that appear to be meaningful. For example, researchers have found anesthesiologists and air traffic controllers find themselves bored on the job. What this research reveals are that just because something is objectively meaningful does not mean it feels that way to us all the time. And even meaningful work can be boring if the person performing it finds it too hard or too easy. Once that happens, individuals might struggle to stay focused. Reducing boredom requires that individuals solve the problems that produced it not having sufficient activities that are both meaningful and optimally challenging. Like all emotions, boredom is about whatever you are thinking now. That means staying at home will only feel meaningful when we are actively thinking about the greater good it does. For instance, in studies, when students were prompted to reflect on why their schoolwork mattered to them personally, researchers found that their interest in learning increased. In other words, reframing our activity changes how we feel about it. Creating simple reminders, such as a note on the fridge, or a morning meditation, can help us keep the big picture in view: Staying home is a sacrifice we are actively making for the good of others. Find a rhythm By creating new routines, people can restore a sense of meaning that buffers them from boredom. Go with the flow It helps to keep in mind that what counts as too challenging, or not challenging enough, will shift throughout the day. Do not force yourself to keep at it if you need a break. Try something new Evidence shows that embracing new experiences, can help us lead not only a happy or meaningful life, but a psychologically richer one. Make room for guilty pleasures Give yourself permission to enjoy your guilty pleasures. If need be, reframe those moments as much-needed mental refreshment, nourishing and recharging you for a later date. Connect with others Connect with others, whether virtually or those that do not have to quarantine alone. Looking at old photos, or reminiscing with a friend, are simple meaningful actions most of us can take even when we are not feeling our best. Boredom itself is neither bad nor good, only our choices about how to counter it make it so.

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