Coronavirus and shopping for food - AF Association

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Coronavirus and shopping for food

Samazeuilh
Samazeuilh

I have several questions about the practicalities of shopping for food at the present time.

1. Is it known that washing, say, fruit tomatoes etc. under the tap will get rid of any virus? I eat a lot of salads and notice customers in supermarkets and markets are still feeling the fruit to evaluate it

2. It’s necessary to handle a supermarket trolley or basket when shopping. Of course, you can wash your hands when you get home, but you will have to place the items in a bag, the handle of which may itself become contaminated. And what of the packaging of the foods which you handle? How long can the virus remain on cardboard?

3. Is it a good idea to use a fridge, given that you could cross-contaminate items already in it?

4. How can you avoid contact with your front door handle as you return to your house? What about keys? Debit cards? Many people would not have enough wipes to clean these?

5. Touch-screens at check-outs? Would tin foil work with these? How to avoid contact with the card reader when contactless is impossible?

If anyone has any answers for dealing with these questions please reply.

38 Replies
oldestnewest

It's all over the news. Just google every one of those questions. UV Light does a good job in some instances, washing veggies and fruit with a kind of food soap etc. Not many people are touching your outside door knob...

They are ours as we have 27 flats on our wing of the building plus the lift buttons

Bearing in mind that this is a forum for helping folk deal with their AF, wonder if this is the best place to deal with questions like this. Anything we know about the Coronavirus (which isn’t much) is what we are told via the NHS and the media and all that information is available online.

Although these are important issues, the majority are best addressed by using common sense in terms of hygiene issues. When I go to the supermarket, I wipe the handle of the trolley, touch as little as possible, use the tip of a key to key in numbers if I cannot use contactless and wash my hands as often as possible before touching face, mouth and eyes. I use a plastic glove or paper towel at petrol pumps and I avoid kissing my wife 😉

Samazeuilh
Samazeuilh
in reply to FlapJack

Well, I think that whilst the questions may not seem relevant they actually are: we are all at some additional risk of being seriously ill if we get the virus on account of having AF (as well as other factors) and shopping is something we have to do a lot of. The questions were actually chosen because I think the advice in the press isn’t really detailed enough. The idea was to get information which would provide the best level

of security available.

FlapJack
FlapJack
in reply to Samazeuilh

I wasn’t having a go....honest! and fallingtopieces has come up with some great tips and we all need to help each other through this. Take a look at the recently formed Health Unlocked community Positive Wellbeing during Self-Isolation which I’m sure will help people with these concerns.

Jalia
Jalia
in reply to FlapJack

Flapjack...i know you have the best intentions but you are not going to be able to stop people talking about corona virus other than by deleting posts.

This is the most devastating scenario that we have witnessed for over a century. Most people are totally preoccupied with it.

I have even started taking daily Bisoprolol (!)....the thought of my intermittent tachycardia turning into fast AF fills me with horror.🤤

FlapJack
FlapJack
in reply to Jalia

Jalia, there is no intention on my part to stop people talking about anything on this forum. Of course it's perfectly natural for people to be scared and it's even worse if they live alone and self isolating, but I don't think it's wrong to make people aware that we are limited in our knowledge of the Coronavirus and all we can do is reiterate what is already out there in the public domain and that makes it impossible for some of us to respond to some of the specific questions some are asking. A new Community has been set up which although they too, are limited in what they can offer, it is much better placed to respond to many of these important, but not AF related questions about the virus. However, I did explain what I did when shopping and getting petrol and later I explained how to access the new Community, so I think I have tried to be as helpful as I can be for someone who is not medically trained in AF, let alone the Coronavirus.

I totally agree with you that this has had a devastating affect on many of the members, more so than you might think, and all some of us are trying to do is spread the load a bit so that we can continue to help to as many as possible. I know of a few here that like you, have had AF issues due to this, and I also thought I was going to have to resort to PiP treatment earlier in the week, but fortunately it was not necessary so trust me, it is true, we are all in it together!!! Please don't think I am being heartless!!

Jalia
Jalia
in reply to FlapJack

Flapjack..i accept what you are saying and no, I certainly don't think that you are heartless ! 😇 ( non binary....) Your posts are always well received and informative.

irene75359
irene75359
in reply to FlapJack

I am puzzled as to why jeanjeannie50's request for a Covid 19 forum was refused; as far as I am aware most of the sites on here don't give medical advice, so what would be different?

However, I have been on to the site Community Positive Wellbeing during Self-Isolation, which you recommended and everyone on there seems friendly and welcoming. But sorry, Flapjack, it is very general and that is not what I, for one, need. I am interested in coronavirus and its effects on me, as a person with AFib. And I am also interested in how other members of our forum are dealing with their anxiety and possible problems.

Coming on here is so comforting, like having a chat with friends; we are familiar with each other and many know each other's histories. Many many times the forum goes completely off-topic without adverse comment and yet now, in unprecedented times, members are being asked (by admin) to limit the posts about Coronavirus. I don't understand this.

But key to this discussion is that purely AFib posts have been answered as usual - sometimes by your good self!

FlapJack
FlapJack
in reply to irene75359

Irene, if you take a look at the last paragraph of my first reply to Jalia above it might help to explain. Some people who dip into the forum when they have a problem may not fully appreciated the effect that making regular contributions might have on those here who try to help members almost on a daily basis. They may even inadvertently forget that regular responders also have to contend with the effects of having AF and I know, from my own experience, this level of involvement with the forum can significantly impact on our anxieties.

The truth is that if all the Coronavirus “experts” have to admit that they don’t have the answers, it goes without say that us poor mortals cannot add anything which is not already in the public domain. In my case, almost all the advice I am able to offer is based on what I have gleaned from attending regular AF support group meetings at Epsom Hospital and for reasons everyone will understand, those meetings have temporarily stopped. This means that in my case, I have absolutely no knowledge about how patients with AF will cope with the Coronavirus other than those who have lone AF, might not have what is known as underlying health conditions. However, those with diabetes, asthma and other respiratory conditions will fall within that category.

Unlike with AF, there is wall to wall media coverage of Coronavirus related issues and concerns and some of us are actually encouraging members to limit their exposure to the media content because it does not always help stress levels. That said, the signs are that where members think they can help a fellow member, they do.

Wipe your fridge out with a bleach solution. That also applies to handles, taps, shelves, surfaces etc.

You can wash your fruit and veg in fairy liquid- it’s perfectly ok, then rinse under running water.

Don’t keep packaging unless you really have to.

Every day I clean my front door; letterbox, knocker, doorbell with soapy bleachy water.

You don’t need wipes or gel at home when you have hot water, soap and bleach.

Do your best. Only put newly washed hands to your face.

Keep safe.

Pat.

Personally I think it’s fine to talk about these things here, on our AF site, for us AFfers

These are unprecedented times, especially when some of us will have no one or very few people to interact with.

Good point......many will find this new Health Unlocked community very helpful.

Positive Wellbeing during Self-Isolation

Thanks -the washing up liquid is a particularly good tip!

Hope you are well, Pat - some good advice there. xx

Thank you, I think I’m getting better- sore throat practically gone and no high temperature. Coughing now though and another/different type of headache. Not the constant cough which is supposed to be a common symptom, this one comes in bouts and feels like I’m trying to expel powder/dust. Then settles for a while. Been tired and sleepy again today.

Worried my sky planner downstairs has become full and will stop recording. It’s only me who watches that tv. I really wish I had the run of the house, it’s so frustrating. I can just tell there’s been no(or minimal)cleaning or tidying going on. The above advice, re bleachy solution in fridge and worktops etc was given to my husband (more instructional than advisory 😉) this morning, before shopping arrived. So I hope he’s practiced what I’m preaching!

Pat x

Glad you are feeling better. If you have got the virus maybe you are getting a mildish version and in a week will be able to completely relax.

I found the following top re shopping:

5. Clean items after buying.

When you get home, take a disinfecting wipe to all metal, glass and plastic containers you bought. It may sound strange, but you can also do this to any produce you bring home, too. A very diluted bleach solution — 1 teaspoon in a gallon of water — could also be an option. Just mist fruits and veggies, and let them air dry.

Yes, best thing to do 👍🏻

So glad you are physically a bit better, even though it is frustrating not being able to do normal things. Forget about the housework - i’m convinced (sort of) that the only person who notices if our house needs cleaning is me!!

We’ve been relying on Tesco deliveries and have been rinsing everything before we let it in too. Fridge is next on the list. Take care. xx

Pat has answered most of your queries, which I would entirely agree with - just add - a few things:-

Use gloves shopping, remove outside and wipe hands thoroughly with sanitiser or baby wipes.

Screens - if you haven’t got gloves with fingers sensitive for screens then wipe the finger you used immediately. I try to use Apple Pay as much as possible but you still need to touch the screen unfortunately.

Wipe down handles of shopping baskets or trolley with a wipe before picking up.

I had the most horrendous experience yesterday in our local supermarket with people using the reserved time for shopping for the vulnerable as an excuse to socialise! One guy saw me in gloves, scarf wrapped tightly around my nose and mouth yelled at me to “Get a life” - to which my silent response was - I intend to! There are still people around who are not taking this seriously which seriously worries me.

I have never had social anxiety in my life - but I now know how it feels as many, especially older people ignore social distancing in our town. I was very close to a panic attack and as people like FJ who know me - may be able to confirm - I am not normally the anxious sort!

Samazeuilh
Samazeuilh
in reply to CDreamer

I agree about the social distancing. I think that will change however. I have lots of friends in Italy who told me that initially people ignored the social distancing by visiting nightclubs etc. As soon as the local hospitals started racking up casualties that changed pretty quickly however.

Are baby wipes definitely good enough?

I wonder if tin foil would work on screens or perhaps a stylus of some sort? And no jokes about tin foil hats please...

FlapJack
FlapJack
in reply to CDreamer

I confirm....you scare me....😉 but not as much as JeanJeannie does 😳

Scared of me - you aint seen nothing yet!!! 🤨

CDreamer
CDreamer
in reply to FlapJack

And you haven’t in seen me in my power suit - evidently our bank business manager was terrified of me - 😇 So what’s Jean got that I haven’t?

FlapJack
FlapJack
in reply to CDreamer

Think I’m gonna runaway ‘n hide ......🤐

Jalia
Jalia
in reply to CDreamer

Oh dear CD....what an awful experience in the supermarket .There are a few really horrid people around. I agree that many are not taking this seriously enough.

The video which was released yesterday showing the ICU in the Italian hospital really brings home the apocalyptic situation there . I notice that this is being shown repeatedly and whilst very disturbing it is necessary to drive home the seriousness of the pandemic.

irene75359
irene75359
in reply to CDreamer

I am appalled that someone shouted at you for taking precautions; I was walking my dog this week and some women were walking three abreast on a path through the common. I had to step into deep mud to keep my distance as they walked past, they gave me a strange look.

Well before the coronavirus concerns escalated, I bought a box of latex disposable gloves. I used one for the first time when I paid at a machine for parking my car. You may feel happier if you purchase a box of these (if you can still get them).

With my shopping from the supermarket, I wash my hands as soon as I get home, put all I've bought away and then wash my hands again.

Having seen people countless times cough over or handle fresh produce for sale, I've never been a fan of buying goods that aren't wrapped. Sorry, I know that's not the thing people want to hear these days, I'm just being honest.

Jean

I bought some latex gloves but want to save them for the moment- things will get much worse and go in for a very long time imo.

I think you are right about the coughing into fruit etc. I’d prefer to buy packaged things. It may mean simply not buying certain foods, like shallots fornthe time being. The idea of washing apples etc. in washing-up liguid is a good one. I just did it and there was no taste.

Before we all get totaly paranoid about eating fresh food , I have read from many reputable sources that food is unlikely to be responsible for passing on C19 here is one of them ...

Quote .......

''EFSA is closely monitoring the situation regarding the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that is affecting a large number of countries across the globe. There is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus.

EFSA’s chief scientist, Marta Hugas, said: “Experiences from previous outbreaks of related coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), show that transmission through food consumption did not occur. At the moment, there is no evidence to suggest that coronavirus is any different in this respect.”

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has said that while animals in China were the likely source of the initial infection, the virus is spreading from person to person – mainly via respiratory droplets that people sneeze, cough, or exhale. More information on coronavirus and food can be found in this FAQ by the BfR, Germany’s risk assessment body.

Scientists and authorities across the world are monitoring the spread of the virus and there have not been any reports of transmission through food. For this reason, EFSA is not currently involved in the response to the COVID-19 outbreaks. However, we are monitoring the scientific literature for new and relevant information...''

efsa.europa.eu/en/news/coro...

........I am not going out to shop at all, I would not risk it having lung conditions as well as AF and being over 70 . Fruit and vegetables are being delivered by a small local greengrocer who offers the service free of charge (it is worth checking if you have anyone doing this) The delivery man puts the crate in the garage where I leave it then I wash the produce when required for use as I already do . Any live virus (if indeed there is any ) is unlikly to live for more than a few hours on the produce.

I will continue to do this until Scientific advisers instruct me to do otherwise.

Samazeuilh
Samazeuilh
in reply to doodle68

I agree that it’s unlikely that food per se is passing on the virus- it’s respiratory drops and packaging which is the concern.

I've been out shopping for the last time (Thursday) and I don't intend to go out again. I'm having groceries delivered and hoping any viruses will have died on the way!

There is a very funny video on Facebook of a man in a bathroom trying to do the right thing by sanitising everything he touched which proved impossible 😂

doodle68
doodle68
in reply to Buffafly

Buff :-) I think a little more logic is needed, if people have somewhere to put food purchasases (other than those things which require chilling ) it makes sense to leave them there to give any virus chance to die.

I have just ordered some perpetual lettuce seeds to be delivered to my grandchildren and some other fast growing seeds cress/land cress fun to grow and healthy to eat.

We can be miserable at home with our AF or look for opportunities to learn and to demonstrate our resilience at this difficult time .

We wear a pair of washing up gloves when out then wash the gloves when on our hands before taking them off to wash our hands.

Hello seasider18 ,

It is really good that you mentioned this.

People can forget that the glove itself needs changing/washing as many times as you would wash your hands, if you want to prevent transmission.

I mentioned our yellow gloves when interviewed by the Daily Mail last week.

Wear medical gloves ... Make sanitizer (50% 90% alcohol, 50% hydrogen peroxide) ... carry it with you at all times ... spray everything before touching including groceries ... do not go out unless stunningly necessary ... if it is cold when you go out exercising ... try to breathe In & out through your nose ... when you return, turn on your kettle and breathe the hot steam into your lungs ... will kill the virus ... wash your hands incessantly ... hot water and antibacterial soap ... Eat lots of healthy foods ... no beef ... Best, Jan

Samazeuilh
Samazeuilh
in reply to Janith

Yes- make sure the gloves are nitrile or latex, NOT vinyl.

seasider18
seasider18
in reply to Janith

I find that the air at home is lacking in humidity when heating is on and that must dry our air passages out.

I often take a kettle from room to room or use a plant spray with a fine mist. Some say dishes of water on the floor but they dry out very quickly,

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