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6 Things You Shouldn't Touch at the Grocery Store

Keep your hands to yourself!
touching phone grocery store

With a slew of safety rules in place, remembering what you should and shouldn't touch at the grocery store feels utterly overwhelming. We have learned new facts about coronavirus almost every day over the past five months, and can now confidently come to the conclusion that the biggest factor in transmitting the illness lies in person-to-person contact. This information means that you face has a much higher chance of contracting the disease when someone sneezes on you at the grocery store, rather than handling the wrong box of cookies.

Even with this knowledge, don't let your guard down when you go shopping. By using hand sanitizer before and after your grocery trip and wearing a mask and protective gloves, you can bypass most of the hurdles an unprotected person faces. Regardless of protective measures, there are six obstacles at grocery stores you should avoid touching at all costs.

1

Glass Display Cases

shop window
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You probably remember a handful of times when you caught the sight of a child rubbing their hands (or even faces!) on glass displays in the bakery or butcher sections of your local supermarket. With a new study determining that small children spread coronavirus more efficiently than adults, avoid areas that unsupervised children may have wreaked havoc on. When it only takes one unobservant parent and a child let loose in a store to create an outbreak, play it safe, and don't touch glass displays.

2

Non-Automatic Doors

doors
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Growing up, we all learn that public doorknobs and door handles harbor a myriad of diseases from constantly getting used all day. With the onset of coronavirus, businesses pulled out all the stops and embraced automatic doors to prevent the spread of disease. If your grocery store still uses regular doors, attempt to open them by pushing at their base with your foot to avoid any direct germ contact.

3

Keypad Payment Devices

keypad
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With the advent of widespread methods of contactless payment available at grocery stores, now is the time to update your debit card if it can't handle the tap-and-touch payment. With keypad payment units getting handled by shoppers all day, the WHO even recommended that shoppers avoid touching these machines to stop the spread of the virus. Since the machines are connected to delicate wiring and electronics, cleaning these devices proves a much harder task than expected—to get them thoroughly disinfected requires more time than the average spritz-down with sanitizer. Avoid the stress and shop easily with contactless payment for now.

4

Your Phone

black woman grocery shopping
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One of the most sinister transmission points of coronavirus lurks in your pocket—the chance of contracting COVID-19 from your cellphone is actually quite high. Your phone gets handled all day and you most likely don't spend enough time cleaning the screen. When you answer a text or make a call at the grocery store, you raise this germ magnet to your face, increasing your exposure to disease. Play it safe and keep your phone off during shopping trips to avoid any texting temptations.

5

Your Mask

taking off mask
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By now, we all know that wearing a mask cuts the risk of coronavirus by over 50% and keeps the general public safe. We often don't hear how touching and adjusting your mask leaves you open to risk. If you feel the urge to itch your face or adjust your mask strap, try to fight it, as you want to limit the contact between your head and your hands. This holds especially true if you cough or sneeze into your mask. By handling your PPE, you pass on your germs to the other surfaces you touch and only help spread potential illness to other shoppers. Do yourself and others a favor and secure your mask before you enter the store and leave it alone until you get home.

6

Your Face

touching face
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Scratching annoying itches or rubbing our eyes might feel good, but when we go out shopping and expose ourselves to a collection of germs, we have to be careful. The most sensitive openings on our body and the easiest ways to contract viruses lie on our face, and by touching our eyes, mouth, nose, and even ears, we face a greatly increased chance of falling ill. Even if you wear a face shield, gloves, and mask, you immediately compromise your health the moment you put your hands up to your face. Stay safe and keep your hands away from this sensitive area when you go out on a grocery run.

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Erich Barganier
Erich Barganier is a health and food writer. Read more