Can you get COVID-19 from holiday gifts?
Receiving and giving gifts is fun. This year, with COVID-19, how can you be sure you aren’t receiving or gifting the virus along with your present? Infectious disease physician Anna Kathryn Burch, MD, answered that question and more to help you stay safe and healthy this holiday season.
“When most people receive a wrapped present, it will be at least a couple of hours, mostly likely days between when the gift was wrapped and when you open that gift. In that amount of time, you can feel safe that any COVID-19 virus that might be on the actual gift itself is probably not going to be viable,” said Dr. Burch.
How can you protect yourself from potential germs on gifts?
Dr. Burch said even if there are germs on the gift package, there is a way to make sure you don’t spread the germs while opening the gift. Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer kills the COVID-19 virus. If you are opening gifts, be sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to rid yourself of any germs you may have picked up while unwrapping. This will decrease the chance that you are going to get the virus.
What about items you receive by mail?
“You get mail in your mailbox every day. You are still getting it out, opening it and looking at the mail,” said Dr. Burch. The packages you may receive during the holidays are no different. Take the box, unload the box and then wash your hands to kill any germs you may have come in contact with while opening.
“Good hand hygiene will make a difference this holiday season,” said Dr. Burch.
While you don’t need to wipe down the gifts you receive, make sure you have plenty of soap and hand sanitizer to use after gifts are opened.
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