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The COVID-19 pandemic has gripped the world, and there’s a lot of anxiety and fear of being infected. No doubt, the coronavirus spreads via small droplets from the nose or mouth when someone with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes. It is scary. and

Take the right precautions, and you can avoid being infected from the virus. It is not that difficult, although it may take a few days to get used to. Now, if you are a wheelchair user, you need to take certain precautions as the virus can survive on surfaces for hours.

Why’s that?

Your wheelchair may come in contact with others during the day, and the virus can survive on surfaces for many hours. Also, you sit lower than others when you’re out, exposing you to the droplets more.

Rite Choice Pharmacy has come up with an extensive list of tips for wheelchair users to help you maintain the best hygiene and safety levels.

1. Wash Your Hands

We know you may have already heard this a million times on TV, but we can’t stress this enough. According to the World Health Organization and Public Health Agency of Canada, washing your hands is the most effective way of avoiding infection. The soap effectively kills the coronavirus.

Remember to wash your hands regularly, especially before and after eating a meal. For this, if you are using regular soap, wash your hands properly for at least 20 seconds. You can also use sanitizer, but make sure it has at least 60% alcohol content. Alcohol is mainly responsible for killing the virus when it comes to sanitizer.

2. Wear a Mask

Something, washing your hands may not be enough. The droplets can stay in the air for some time, so you should also wear a mask. They can cut down the chances of being infected by up to 70%, which is quite a significant benefit against the coronavirus.

You don’t need medical-grade masks like N95. They may be hard to find, and moreover, there is an immense shortage of them in the healthcare industry. It is suggested that you leave them for the healthcare professionals fighting the virus on the front line. You can use a regular cloth or anti-pollutant masks with multiple layers.

3. Use Gloves

As mentioned above, your wheelchair may be touched by others, and the tires of it will also go over a lot of surfaces during the day. If your wheelchair has the virus on the surface, and if you touch it and then touch your mouth, you can get infected.

We suggest that you wear gloves as they will keep you from getting into direct contact with infected surfaces. They are also a bit strange to wear, so they will keep you from touching your face regularly. Remember, this is not a necessity, but it is highly recommended.

3. Maintain Social Distance

It will be difficult to maintain social distance, but you must do so. As a wheelchair user, you will be sitting lower than most people, and that means you can experience more saliva droplets if you come near an infected person. So, maintain at least six feet of distance from others if you do have to go out. 

4. Clean the Wheelchair Regularly

The coronavirus can stay on metal and plastic surfaces for multiple hours, and sometimes, even for a few days. You must clean your wheelchair regularly and thoroughly as it can come in contact with an infected person or roll over something that has the virus living on it.

How to Clean Your Wheelchair

To clean and disinfect your wheelchair, you should use either washcloth with antibacterial soap or alcohol wipes. Begin by cleaning the surfaces that you touch the most, including the wheel locks, arm supports, handle controls if you use assistive technology (AT), and, if possible, the push handles.

You also have to clean the hand rims, but it can be a bit difficult to do. An easy method we suggest is, sit in the wheelchair and hold the washcloth in your hand. Then, start pushing the wheelchair around while sliding the washcloth on the hand rims as you go. You’ll need to roll at least 15 feet to completely clean the hand rims.

5. Ensure Caregiver’s Hygiene

This is a difficult time, and it is suggested that if you can, avoid taking the assistance of the caregivers for your and their safety. But if you must have them, follow all the hygiene guidelines put forth by the WHO and Canadian health authorities.

You must ensure that they are maintaining the highest level of personal hygiene, too. Make sure they sanitize their hands before touching your wheelchair and only let them near you if they are wearing the appropriate gloves and masks. After they leave, clean your wheelchair thoroughly.

If you depend on caregivers, you should also come up with a backup plan if your primary caregiver gets infected. This ensures that even if they go under quarantine, you will have the help that you need on time.

6. Stay Fit

It is going to be challenging to go to the gym or workout outdoors since you have to maintain social distancing. If you are stuck at home, keep yourself fit by doing basic exercises. On the same lines, maintain a healthy diet.

If you are fit and healthy, you face less risk from the virus. The coronavirus preys on the weak immune system, so you must maintain a healthy lifestyle during the pandemic.

7. Reach Out

One of the most essential tips for wheelchair users is to reach out for help if needed. During such times, it is easy to feel depressed or anxious because of fear and social isolation.

If you feel like that, do not hesitate to reach out to your friends and family. They may need your support too! And if you find it difficult to cope with the pandemic, please reach out to Alberta’s mental health helpline.

These tips for wheelchair users is enough to maintain your safety from the coronavirus. Follow these, and you reduce your chances of infection tremendously. And if you want to purchase any safety and hygiene products like sanitizers, masks, or upgrade your wheelchair, contact Rite Choice Pharmacy. We are committed to providing the best possible pharmacy services in Edmonton and help the community in any way possible.