Apr 11, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus Q&A: exercise, laundry, what counts as soap, and vaccines

Illustration of virus surrounded by question marks

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the U.S., Axios is answering readers' questions about the pandemic — how it spreads, who's at risk, and what you can do to stay safe.

What's new: This week, we answer questions on exercising outside, safely doing laundry, soaps and disinfectants, and the pneumonia vaccine.

Q: Should I go outside to exercise during the outbreak?

Q: How can I make sure I'm safely doing laundry at home or in my apartment building's laundry room?

  • The CDC recommends:
    • Avoid shaking dirty clothes because that could spread the virus, and be sure to clean and disinfect clothing hampers.
    • Wash laundry in the warmest water and dryer heat settings recommended for the fabric, and dry clothes completely before them putting away.
    • Wear disposable gloves if you are handling a sick person's clothes and wash your hands right away. Their clothes can be washed with anybody else's.
  • Marilyn Roberts, professor of environmental and occupational health at the University of Washington, told Wirecutter that when using communal laundry rooms, it's best to maintain 6 feet from other people and can be wise to wipe down high-touch surfaces.
  • Wirecutter also advises that if you use a laundry service, let your laundry sit for a couple of days as viruses don't survive very long on fabric.

Q: What counts as soap? Can I use dish detergent or body wash?

  • The Food and Drug Administration says there isn't enough evidence to suggest antibacterial soap is more effective than regular hand soap, which works just fine.
  • Dish detergent, body wash and hand soap typically have similar detergent molecules that make them effective against germs. The only difference is how harsh they are on your skin, NPR found.

Q: Can I make hand sanitizer at home?

  • Experts do not recommend making your own hand sanitizer. There wouldn't be quality control to ensure the mixture has enough alcohol, among other issues, The New York Times writes.
  • You can make your own disinfectant spray or wipes at home, the CDC says. Add 5 tablespoons of unexpired household bleach per gallon of water for an effective disinfectant against the coronavirus.

Q: Could the pneumonia vaccine offer some kind of protection against COVID-19?

  • The World Health Organization states the coronavirus is so new and different it will need its own vaccine.
  • We are still at least a year away from getting an effective vaccine against the coronavirus on the market.

Go deeper: We're still in the early days of coronavirus vaccine research

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