the recommendations of American doctors


It never happens than the magazine of American doctors Journal of the American Medical Association (or JAMA) deals with food, if not when he talks about studies on the direct health effects of some food compound. In the latest issue, however, he dedicates his Patient page to Covid-19, to relations with food and food safety, reporting the essential notions. The first of which is: there is no proven relationship between food and Sars-Cov-2. Here are some of the questions posed in the page.

How can I be safe when shopping in a grocery store?

To avoid contagion, you need to stay 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from other people, avoiding to shake hands, to embrace others and any other physical contact. You shouldn’t touch your face. You should try to clean surfaces touched by several people such as trolley handles with disinfectant wipes, if available. The mask must always be worn. You must respect the distances indicated and disinfect your hands at the exit, if an alcoholic gel is available. Avoid going shopping if you have any flu-like symptoms.

What precautions should I take when buying in a store that sells bulk food?

Time is a friend. Recent studies show that the virus can remain viable on surfaces for up to 72 hours, but also that in most cases, on many surfaces, it does not remain viable for more than 24 hours. Furthermore, there is no evidence that these viral particles, even if alive, can actually cause disease. Even viruses that may be present on the surfaces and goods of a shop are deactivated after a short time, when taken away. It is also unlikely that viral particles will lurk in sealed packaged foods.

supermarket shopping bio plastic bags
American doctors recommend that you throw away your disposable shopping bags when you return home to reduce your risk. Covid-19

If you use a disposable bag or bag, it is good to throw them away once you get home, while if you are using a recyclable one, for example cloth, it is advisable to put it aside until the next use. Once the groceries are brought out at home, the first thing to do is wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use a disinfectant with an alcohol content of not less than 60%, and often clean the kitchen surfaces with a disinfectant.

What precautions should I take when preparing food?

If you consume food immediately after unpacking your groceries, good hand hygiene must be implemented before eating. It is best not to share dishes or cutlery with others. Fruits and vegetables should be rinsed thoroughly with water before consumption.

Are there specific tips for seniors?

Over 65s and people with chronic diseases are particularly at risk of contracting a severe form of Covid-19. If possible, better limit purchases. Rather, you can ask a neighbor or volunteers to do the shopping and leave it out of the house or take it home with a distance of at least 6 feet (1.8 meters). Some grocery stores offer hours dedicated to the elderly in the morning: it is advisable to contact the usual shops, to check if this is also possible there. Alternatively, you can shop online with home delivery.

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Agnese Codignola

scientific journalist

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