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The #1 Worst Thing You Can Do at the Grocery Store

Do yourself and those around you an enormous favor by following this important guideline.
Man wearing disposable medical mask shopping in supermarket during coronavirus pneumonia outbreak

For most Americans, grocery shopping has become the most nerve-wracking experience of the week. Unless you are an essential worker that is not able to work from home, procuring foods to feed yourself or your family is like entering a food battlefield where tensions run high. There is one thing you must avoid doing at all costs… and that's spreading germs.

As medical and public health experts learn more about who is most susceptible to the COVID-19 contagion and conditions most likely to spread the virus, a few bits of critical data have emerged. Being indoors, in a relatively crowded environment that is not well ventilated, increases the likelihood of contracting the virus. Also, the viral load of the contagion—meaning, the repeated interactions with the virus—appears to have a big impact on contracting the sickness.

These are just a few reasons why so many grocery workers are getting ill—even dying—as a result of the coronavirus, and so chains are instituting prescriptive measures designed to keep shoppers and staffers safe.

So, what can you, a future grocery shopper, do to help abate the outbreak and keep grocery store workers safe? Don't spread your germs. It seems so simple, yet some appear to take issue with the idea of why its critical we keep our germs to ourselves. What follows has been written before, but bears repeating: Here's the best way to not spread germs at the grocery store.

1

Wash your hands!

Washing hands rubbing with soap man for corona virus prevention, hygiene to stop spreading coronavirus.
Shutterstock

First and foremost, thoroughly wash your hands before you go to the store. Some believe that wearing gloves is a good move, but most experts agree that gloves are better left for those who know how to "handle" them, and gloves can pick up more germs than washed hands.

2

Wear a mask!

Young woman with face mask walking through grocery store during COVID-19 pandemic.
Shutterstock

Secondly? Wear a mask!!  A mask, or facial covering, is designed less to protect yourself and more to protect others around you. A recent 3D video illustration of how germs spread in a grocery store from an unmasked cough is required viewing for anyone that doesn't understand the public health value in mask-wearing. It's not about you, it's about the grocery workers who fear for their health.

3

Keep your distance!

woman shopping in surgical mask at grocery store
Shutterstock/eldar nurkovic

Social distancing is a thing that we all need to get used to. Standing six feet away while waiting in line is relatively easy, but as you stroll through grocery store aisles, try not to rush and let others pass before you so as to limit how close you get to one another. And if a store has taken the time to put arrows on their floors to help direct traffic? Respect the store's wishes and follow them.

4

Be thoughtful about what you touch.

avocado shopping
Shutterstock

As you select items to purchase, please try to limit the things you touch. Be intentional in your plans and try to only grab things that will end up in your shopping bag on your way home. "Interviewing your fruit" by squeezing it or giving it a thump? That's going to have to be a pre-pandemic activity for the time being.

5

Be nice!

Senior woman with face mask outdoors with shopping, corona virus and quarantine concept.
Shutterstock

Remember that this is a stressful time for everyone, and going to the grocery store during this outbreak can bring the worst out in everyone. So take a deep breath and know that everyone is stressed. But above all else, please consider the hourly wage workers working the dangerous shift of checking everyone outs.

Health care workers are getting a lot of well-deserved love, but these folks need your support and patience as well. And above all else, they don't need your germs!

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