Last week, the government announced that we are now free to meet up with up to six people from outside our homes, providing we keep to the social distancing rules. As the Coronavirus lockdown has eased over the past few weeks, it has encouraged people to leave their houses more and even start returning to work.
As tempting as this might sound for the general public, it can actually be seen as a bigger problem for some, including wheelchair users who are much more restricted. In this blog, we will discuss how wheelchair users could be at a higher risk of catching Coronavirus and four simple steps to help eliminate the chances of risk.
How Does Coronavirus Spread Easier Between Wheelchair Users?
Health experts believe that the way Coronavirus spreads from person to person is through the inhalation of water droplets when someone coughs or sneezes. Coronavirus can also spread quickly through people touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their face or other public areas, creating a vicious circle for the virus.
However, the question you are probably wondering is, how are wheelchair users more at risk of catching Coronavirus than others? Well, the most significant reason is the fact that the wheelchair users’ wheels will become contaminated by the particles and moisture on the ground. These will then be touched regularly by the wheelchair user. Also, with wheelchair users more often being lower to the ground and other surfaces, they are much more likely to become directly exposed to the water droplets as they appear.
To help avoid these health risks as much as possible, take a look at our top four steps to help combat the effect of Coronavirus.
Always Keep Your Hands Clean
Washing your hands might seem like an obvious, everyday task that you think you do correctly, but hand washing should be more than just a quick splash of soap and water. This is especially important during the Coronavirus pandemic.
When out and about using your wheelchair, always ensure that you wash or sanitise your hands to avoid coming into contact with any virus that you might have picked up on your wheels. For wheelchair users, it’s understandable that you might think using wheelchair gloves means you are protected from the virus on your hands, but these could actually be harder to keep clean than bare hands. A great tip for wheelchair users is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. For extra protection when out and about, use an anti-bacterial hand sanitiser or wet wipes. Take a look below at the best technique to keep your hands clean.
Another way to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus is to scrub under your nails to remove any dirt that has accumulated as you have touched the wheels on your wheelchair.
Clean Your Wheelchair Frequently
As we have just discussed how wheelchair users are more at risk of Coronavirus due to increased contamination, the next step is to clean your wheelchair as frequently as possible. As much as sanitising your hands might seem effective enough, there is evidence that Coronavirus can actually stay on surfaces for up to 9 days and still infect people for up to 72 hours after appearing.
You can do this by simply using a wet cloth and soapy water or wet wipes and frequently wiping the rims of the wheels. As a wheelchair user, you can do this yourself by pushing your wheelchair around as you use the cloth or wipes to clean the rims. In fact, riding 20 feet whilst cleaning your wheelchair is the equivalent of cleaning the rims three times. Also, don’t forget to wipe down the armrests, backrests, footrests and seat too.
As well as keeping the areas clean that the wheelchair user touches, it’s crucial that the attendant pushing your wheelchair is also protected from the risk of Coronavirus. So, ensure that you clean the push handles too, especially if you have more than one attendant.
Don’t Forget To Clean Your Home
Even if you have followed the first two steps, this might still not be enough to ensure you are free from the risk of the Coronavirus infection. You may have washed your hands and wheelchair as soon as you get home, but you could have contaminated areas of your house in the meantime. Therefore, always try to hand sanitise before you enter your home.
Once you have made sure you are clean, ensure that you wipe down or wash the household items that you regularly come into contact with, such as door handles and grab rails.
Follow The Coronavirus Social Distancing Rules
Social distancing is vital for all, but it is especially important for wheelchair users who might not be able to avoid close distance with other people as easily. Therefore, you should always keep at least a 2 metre (6 ft) distance away from people to ensure water droplets don’t fall onto you.
There has been speculation that face masks are only effective if worn by those already infected in order to help avoid the spread of Coronavirus. However, they can still be effective for wheelchair users in order to prevent water droplets falling onto your face.
Check Out Our Products For Wheelchair Users
Are you a wheelchair user and need more advice or assistance with finding the right wheelchair products for you? Read our blog here or browse our range of wheelchairs and accessories. If you have a question about any of our products or being a wheelchair user during the Coronavirus pandemic, feel free to contact us on 01733 342242 or contact us here.