Opinion

COVID-19 Changed Our Habits, But Some Things Should Stay This Way

Courtesy of Loyola University ChicagoWhile the pandemic has caused several people’s cleanliness habits to change, there are some habits that should never die.

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Pre-quarantine, most people’s daily routines would make you do a double-take. The spread of COVID-19 has made myself and many others aware of how unsanitary we used to be. All I can hope for is that the safety changes put in place across the country will eventually become the new norm.

Germs and illnesses are always going to be here, but it’s about the prevention and routines we fall into that can help lessen the severity and spread. The way we lived before was flat out gross – seriously why weren’t some of you washing your hands for at least 20 seconds?

Here are some things that people should continue to cut out of their lives – for good.

Blowing out birthday candles

I understand the concept and need to sing and make a wish, but, the idea of someone spitting – because spit will come out – on a whole cake that is then served to multiple people is completely gross. Since the pandemic, that has been something my household has nixed on birthdays and will continue to opt-out of — as should everyone.

Sharing drinks

This one is a little tougher to completely end because I myself can’t even begin to count the amount of drinks I’ve shared with friends at concerts, parties or just at a bar trying a cocktail I didn’t get. Even if you know someone, you don’t know their daily habits. You can never be too sure of how many mouths have touched a drink, especially at a concert where water is passed between multiple people.

Water fountains

These machines as a whole should’ve been discontinued a while ago. I’ve seen plenty of water bottle refill stations which seem not only more germ-resistant but eco friendly. The concept of a water fountain isn’t to put your entire mouth on the spout, but… have you ever met a five-year-old?

Buffet style food

This is another thing that always kind of creeped me out, not even just at a restaurant but just this style of eating in general. The food isn’t on watch 24/7 and could easily be sneezed on – children and adults are both guilty of this. Not only that, but not everyone uses tongs or forks to pick up shared food or some just dive right in, not taking everything they touch. This also goes for parties or family gatherings when leaving out chips and dip. A great alternative is snack size personal bags for guests. 

Not thinking twice about what your hands touch

If you’re someone who carpools with friends, takes a rideshare app or even public transport as a form of transportation, how often were you disinfecting before COVID-19? Most of the time, I would only wash my hands after I used the bathroom or before I ate and now I’m realizing how many doors, car handles, poles or seats I touch in a day. We don’t always have access to a sink, but we need to be cognizant of how often we sanitize.

Ball pits

Childhood fun centers and parks are a germ’s stomping ground so it’s no surprise that ball pits have been recently nixed and for a very good reason – I just hope it stays that way. There are plenty of other activities for children to do, but it’s up to the employees and parents to ensure it’s clean enough.

The way we shop

The social distancing markers in checkout lines – although not always followed, are incredibly important. We stood so close to each other pre-pandemic for absolutely no reason. At a concert or festival, crowds and closeness are expected, but while shopping, it’s really not necessary. And when it comes to clothes, if you aren’t already washing your new clothes before wearing them, that’s a problem. Dressing rooms are there for a reason and you never know who’s already stepped into the pants you just bought.

Cleaning personal items

Since the pandemic, I’ve been more aware of cleaning objects I typically touch every day, not just my clothes and bed items but my phone, laptop, steering wheel, doorknobs. Especially if someone else is touching one of these – such as a stranger using your phone to take a photo. Cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than toilet seats, which most people tend to clean regularly because of the association of bathrooms and germs. These things should be cleaned weekly if not daily. Apple users are recommended to turn off and clean their phone with a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth such as a lens cloth. Samsung users are told Windex or any other window cleaning solutions with strong chemicals are not recommended for phone cleaning.

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