Today’s BodyWorks column addresses some frequently asked questions about the novel coronavirus:
Is take-out food safe?
In general, yes. If possible, choose a place that you know stresses cleanliness and where servers are wearing gloves. Order items that are cooked rather than fresh foods like salad, because cooking kills the virus.
After you get the food home, take the food of out containers, dispose of the packaging, and wash your hands thoroughly before eating. You can heat it in the oven if you want to add another layer of protection.
Do I need to let mail and packages sit untouched for a day or two?
No. You should be fine if, as soon as you open them, you dispose of packaging and envelopes and then immediately wash your hands.
Can my pets get or transmit coronavirus?
There is no evidence that pets can contract COVID-19. And while we know that viral particles can survive for significant amounts of time and pass easily on hard surfaces, even if an infected person touched your dog or cat, it’s unlikely the animal’s soft fur could serve as a vector for transmitting the disease to other people.
Can the virus live on clothing?
Yes. But, as with a pet’s fur, it won’t survive there long, and soft surfaces don’t transmit viruses effectively. Still, if you’re worried about a piece of clothing or linen following a potential exposure, toss it in the washer and dryer.
I’ve seen that coronavirus can live in the air. How safe is it to go outdoors on walks?
As long as you practice appropriate physical distancing while walking, there’s little to worry about. It’s true that studies have shown that coronavirus can survive for a time in the air, but it disperses so quickly that the aerosolized form will not infect you unless, say, someone sneezes or coughs directly on you. Tiny amounts of virus that might linger in the air will be at such low concentration that they should not pose an appreciable risk.
If I’m running a fever, is it safe to take ibuprofen?
There’s no reason to be concerned about taking ibuprofen. No reliable scientific studies suggest that ibuprofen is bad or dangerous if you have COVID-19.