The Importance of Mitigating Fomites

November 13, 2020 10:49 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

With the COVID-19 pandemic dominating American life these days, it’s important that you understand fomites. What are fomites, and what kind of protection can you get in Aspen, CO?

Fomites are the inanimate objects we come into contact with, every day, which can be disease vectors. For example, imagine sneezing on your hands, then touching a light switch. If you have an infectious illness, like a cold, flu or COVID-19, that light switch has just become a fomite. When people touch those surfaces and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth, the illness can infect them, too.

How fomites spread illness and disease

Just about any surface we touch on a regular basis can become a fomite—that’s why COVID-19 health guidelines have focused so heavily on wiping frequently touched areas, like counters, light switches, door knobs, handles and more. Even a public restroom’s hand dryer can spread fomites throughout the air, allowing others to inhale them and become infected.

Typically, the effectiveness of a fomite relies on the type of bacteria or virus present, how infectious it is, how hot and humid the room is and how porous the fomite is. The longer a bacteria or virus can survive in certain conditions is directly relevant to how easily it can spread via fomites. For viruses like COVID-19, the rapidity of evaporation is important—if the respiratory droplets evaporate before the surface is touched, it’s less likely the fomite will successfully spread the disease.

There are many types of disease that can be spread by fomites, including COVID-19, rotavirus, influenza, norovirus, hand foot and mouth disease and even some STIs.

How to fight against fomites

To protect yourself, your family and your home against fomites, it’s important that you identify the most high-touch areas of your home. For example, your light switches, remote controls, faucets, doorknobs and keyboards are probably all objects that are touched by multiple people on a daily basis. Once you narrow down these high-traffic areas, you can use disinfectant wipes or sprays to kill germs. This is best done at least once per day, depending on how many people live in your home. If someone in your home is sick, you should increase your disinfecting efforts that much more.

However, the best way to prevent the spread of germs and protect from fomites in Aspen, CO is to wash your hands. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of handwashing. You should wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, then rinse and dry thoroughly. Avoid touching your nose and mouth. If you have to cough or sneeze, do it into your elbow or a tissue and wash your hands immediately afterward.

Even when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, fomites will still be a serious problem—any parent who has gotten hand, foot and mouth disease from their child can attest to that fact. Keep up your hygienic practices and enjoy better health.

For health inspections in your home or business, reach out to HealthSafe Inspections Inc. today.

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