Should you disinfect Amazon packages? What to know about coronavirus and your mail

Should you disinfect Amazon packages? What to know about coronavirus and your mail


Is it OK to grab the packages left on our doorsteps?

Angela Lang/CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

If the coronavirus can live on surfaces, what does it mean for all those packages from Amazon and Walmart you’ve been ordering: Do you take a Clorox wipe or disinfectant spray to the box, or leave it out for days? Do you need to wear a face mask when opening your mail?

Right now, the answer is no to all of that, and here’s why. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is very low risk for the coronavirus to spread from packages that have traveled over a period of days. The World Health Organization also notes that it’s very unlikely for a package to be contaminated after being exposed to different conditions, and therefore the risk of a person contracting the virus from a package is considered low.

What about packages that arrive the same day, like food delivery services? Coronaviruses like the one going around now have been found to last on surfaces for up to nine days (RNA from the virus causing COVID-19 was found up to 17 days later). However, the current knowledge is that it’s safe to order takeout and groceries. According to the Food and Drug Administration, there’s no evidence of the virus being transmitted through food or packaging.

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It certainly won’t hurt for you to take extra precautions at home if that’s your preference. The most consistent advice we’ve seen is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after handling packages and their contents. If you’d like, you can also dispose of the packaging right away, and wash your hands again. Here’s more information about the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes.

To further protect yourself from the coronavirus, read about homemade face masks and what to know about CDC guidelines and N95, how to help kill the coronavirus in your home and car after you’ve gone outside and how to avoid the coronavirus when you leave the house with these 12 tips to help keep you safe.

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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