As the number of identified cases of Coronavirus rise around the world, we are all being asked to do our bit to avoid catching and spreading the disease further.
Regularly washing our hands in hot soapy water for a minimum of 20 seconds and then moisturising your hands is a good practice. However we may have to think about where our hands have been and what we are touching during the day.
There’s lots of new advice regarding keeping your phone clean considering how many of us hold our phones for hours a day. It’s already widely reported that the average phone has more germs on its surface than a toilet seat. Horrible thought, eh?
As blind people, we are also in regular contact with our phones, but also keyboards, braille displays, white canes and guide dogs. How do we ensure we keep ourselves safe as well as avoid spreading the virus to others? Here’s some quick things we can all do today.
Keeping Phones Clean
Apple have updated their advice on how to keep iPhones clean. Previously it was suggested that we shouldn’t use disinfectant wipes however that advice has changed. Apple ow says 70% alcohol wipes or Clorox disinfecting wipes are ok to use. It’s advised that you only use the wipes on non-porous surfaces such as the display and back of the phone. Do not try and use wet wipes on ports such as the charging port. Also they explain that you shouldn’t submerge your phone in any cleaning agents and you shouldn’t use these wipes on fabric or leather surfaces, such as the iPhone cover.
Other companies have yet to offer such detailed advice but it is assumed that most smartphones will be safe to use with these types of wipes. Check with your phone provider in the first instance.
White Canes and Guide Dog Harnesses
It is so easy to forget that our white canes and guide dog harnesses are regularly exposed to bacteria that can build up and affect us. It’s a good idea to clean your white cane after every walk at the moment and if the tip of the cane is particularly dirty then leave it in a basin of hot water with a small cup of bleach added. For the rest of the cane use a microfibre cloth and hot and soapy water or alternatively a Dettol or equivalent wipe.
For the guide dog harness, a microfibre cloth along with the hot and soapy water is a good combination. Wash the harness inside and out and all over the handle. It should be done after every walk.
Many of us use keyboards, mice and braille keyboards at home and at work. Some offices are now suggesting that you wipe down your workstation before every use and it is probably a good idea to do the same at home. Be careful with braille displays – they are mainly mechanical machines that could be easily affected by a wet cloth so perhaps contact your supplier to ask for their advice. We have approached Humanware and Freedom Scientific to find out their best advice and will post it here when they reply.
Scientists say it is likely between 60 and 80% of populations in each country will be affected by the Coronavirus, but it is still important that we do our bit to make sure we remain overall healthy during this difficult time.
I am an absolute geek who loves technology. I also happen to be severely sight impaired and that has meant my journey with new technology has been challenging. What I've learnt is what I want to share with others and I do that on air in the UK on RNIB Connect Radio's weekly Tech Talk radio show and podcast, and on AMI-Audio's Double Tap Canada radio show and podcast. I'm also a very lucky husband and the owner of the world's coolest dog!