By Sgt. Liane Hatch | 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Considering the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to a statewide stay-at-home order, the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, preventative medicine team encouraged Soldiers, leaders and Family members to practice thorough cleaning and disinfecting measures at home and in the workplace.
“A lot of people think when you just spray the counter with a cleaner and wipe it up with a cloth or paper towel, that you’re good to go,” said 2nd Lt. Felicia Dreh, an environmental science officer, preventative medicine team, 3rd ABCT.
Dreh explained that many people have questions such as: If I clean something, do I need to disinfect it? What’s the difference? Are they the same? They are not.
“Cleaning with just your normal spray cleaners just removes surface dirt, while disinfecting actually kills the bacteria,” Dreh continued. “COVID-19 can live on surfaces for hours or even days. In order to kill the virus and prevent people from becoming infected, you have to disinfect.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a diluted bleach solution to properly disinfect high-traffic surfaces, such as countertops, doorknobs and handles.
“Per CDC guidelines, you want to use five tablespoons or capfuls of bleach per gallon of water, or if you’re using a spray bottle, you can use four teaspoons of bleach per quart of water,” said Sgt. Wilbur Davis, NCO, preventative medicine team, 3rd ABCT. “Use a clean sponge to wipe the area then and let that surface air dry.”
Davis emphasized when using bleach solutions, it’s important to wear protective gloves, keep the area well-ventilated and avoid mixing with other cleaning products, especially those containing ammonia.
Both members of the preventative medicine team agreed that taking measures to clean and disinfect common areas should be part of a daily routine, both at work and in the Soldiers’ home.
“You can spread COVID-19 from work to home or vice versa just by touching a doorknob after an infected person has touched it,” Davis said. “Soldiers should be disinfecting their spaces every day.”
Dreh recommends taking the time to clean and disinfect a part of each unit’s daily battle rhythm, preferably at the end of each day. While she acknowledged most leaders already have cleaning measures in place, they need to be sure Soldiers use bleach to disinfect those areas as well.
“Commanders can help keep their Soldiers healthy by enforcing daily cleaning and disinfecting requirements,” Dreh said. “The more you do it, the less time it takes, and it will go a long way toward keeping everyone healthy.”
In addition to using good disinfection measures, Soldiers and Family members can prevent the spread of disease and reduce the likelihood of illness by practicing good hand hygiene and avoiding touching their face, mouth, nose and eyes.
For more guidelines on COVID-19 prevention, visit https://www.cdc.gov/, and local procedures at https://www.carson.army.mil/ or follow @USArmyFortCarson on Facebook.