Your Kitchen May Be a Hotspot for the Virus

Your Kitchen May Be a Hotspot for the Virus a woman washes her hands in the kitchen sink (Dreamstime)

By Lynn Allison | Wednesday, 16 December 2020 05:04 PM

Home may be where the heart is, but it is also the most likely place to spread COVID-19.

While public venues might appear to be prone to COVID-19 transmission, a new study suggests your home, especially your kitchen, can have the same health risks if you have someone living there with the disease. The analysis published Monday in JAMA Network Open found households "will continue to be important venues for transmission."

According to published reports, 54 studies in over 20 countries found homes in which someone was sick with COVID-19 continued to be hotspots for transmission of the virus even if overall community spread was down. Spouses were at higher risk than other family members because they might be sharing the same room as the infected individuals.

According to Eat This, Not That!, experts say the risk is higher when family members have symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, body aches, chills, and fever. Wearing masks and social distancing from that person might help reduce your risk significantly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report that found "household transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is common and occurs early after illness onset." The CDC warned people should "isolate immediately at the onset of COVID-like symptoms, at the time of testing as a result of high-risk exposure, or at a time of a positive test result, whichever comes first."

According to CNN, the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report suggested family members who believe they are infected should stay in a separate bedroom and use their own bathroom if possible.

The researchers noted 53% of people who lived with someone with COVID-19 became infected, and 75% of these secondary infections occurred within a week, according to CNN.

Experts acknowledge isolating family members can be challenging.

"If you have somebody at home who's older or immunocompromised, you may want to isolate them to one side of the house so the kids and everybody else isn't around them on a regular basis," Dr. Tanya Altmann, a working mother, UCLA-trained pediatrician, and best-selling author, told CNN. "If it's a child that you have to take care for, then you may want to make the decision to isolate one adult with the child."

The expert added, one way to keep your kitchen safe is to wear gloves when touching and cleaning dishes someone who has tested positive has also touched.

Altmann added, "You can have a healthy person leave the sick one food and drinks at the door, and then go wash their hands. Wear gloves to pick up the empty plates, take them back to the kitchen and wash them in hot soap and water, or preferably with a dishwasher, and then wash your hands again."

Experts also said, commonly touched surfaces such as the handles of your refrigerator and microwave should be disinfected regularly, according to Eat This, Not That! Keep fresh air flowing by opening windows or using an air purifier with a HEPA filter.

Here are more tips on how to safely quarantine your home if someone develops COVID-19.