The Novel Coronavirus Outbreak: Is Your Car Sanitized?

Philippine Automologist Kathleen shares some helpful tips to avoid the Coronavirus.

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IT IS CONFIRMED! The Novel Coronavirus (NCoV), which is causing a global panic and inconveniencing the world’s travelling public due to quarantine requirements, is now in the Philippines. The hoarding of sanitary equipment like alcohols, face masks and hand sanitizers is evident everywhere. Some stores and establishments are running out of stock and I think this is also happening in other affected countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. People have preferred not to go to public places and are staying indoors. A good question to ask is are you safe from the NCoV contamination inside cars and buses? The definite answer is NO, unless the vehicle is sanitized.

Yes, inside private cars, taxis, jeepneys and buses are among the places to avoid exposure from people with cold and fever (symptoms of NCoV infection). According to the Reader’s Digest, it is a dirty place to be: “There are approximately 700 different kinds of bacteria living in an average vehicle, which is dangerous especially if you’re someone who likes to eat while driving, travelling or commuting. The steering wheel of your car alone catches the most germs brought by your own hands!” Here are some tips to help tackle germs in your car:

1. Clean the Steering Wheel, Gear Shift and Car Seats

Your steering wheel and gear shift are among the dirtiest areas inside your car because of the germs brought in by your own hands. Use disinfecting wipes or a clean rag and some interior car cleaning solution to clean them. You might want to clean your car seats too because it is also dirty.

2. Disinfect the Cup Holder

Some cup holders have small crevices that can be hard to reach with a cleaning rag. You can use a cotton swab soaked in cleaning solution, then swab at the small areas. If the cup holder is removable, it may be easier to take it out and run it through the dishwasher for a more thorough cleaning.

3. Wash Door Handles and Window Controls

Use a clean rag to wipe down your door handles and window controls. You may also want to disinfect the dashboard and the radio controls, which are also bacteria-prone.

4. Clean the cabin filter

The cabin air filter keeps pollen and dust out of your car’s AC and heating system. Not changing it regularly can make breathing difficult for people with allergies or asthma. Change your cabin air filter every 15,000 to 30,000 miles; the car’s manual will give you an exact number.

5. Other Car Sanitation Tips

• If you bring your own bags when you shop, don’t store them in your car. Reusable bags used to carry food may come into contact with bacteria like Salmonella and E.coli, and those germs tend to grow faster in higher temperatures, such as in a car or trunk.

• Bacteria can also grow on food that’s spilled in your car. Cleaning up spills promptly may help keep germs to a minimum.

• It is also advisable to sanitize your air-conditioning system to prevent bacteria, mould and fungi from growing inside it, which may lead to other respiratory diseases.

• Wear a mask especially when riding a vehicle and when in public places.

• Regularly wash your hands with soap or sanitize them with alcohol or hand sanitizers.

• Don’t touch your mouth, eyes, nose, ears and face if you have not sanitized your hands.

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