Reducing the risk of coronavirus for wheelchair users

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As lockdown eases, we can now happily meet in groups of up to 6 people from outside of our households as well as attend pubs and restaurants and visit our local high street; providing social distancing is still practised. As restrictions have eased, many people have been encouraged to leave their homes and even return to work.

Although this sounds like a great idea, for some it can be seen as a much bigger challenge. Wheelchair users are much more restricted in their movement and accessibility, and we’ll be highlighting in this blog post how people in wheelchairs may be at a higher risk and how it can be prevented.

How does COVID-19 spread between wheelchair users?

Health experts believe that the way COVID-19 spreads from one person to another is through the inhalation of water droplets when someone coughs or sneezes. It may also spread quickly through people touching contaminated surfaces or materials, and then touching their faces or other public areas creating a vicious circle for the virus.

This is something that directly affects wheelchair users as their wheels may become contaminated as they travel across the ground, transferring the infection to their hands. Also, on average, wheelchair users are much more likely to be lower to the ground making them more susceptible to inhaling water droplets from sneezing or coughing. To help try and combat this infection, here are 4 simple things you can do.

Wash your hands.

Washing your hands may seem like an obvious task that you think you do correctly, but it needs to be so much more than a quick rinse. As wheelchair users are more likely to come into contact with the virus via their hands, it is important that they wash their hands regularly with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. Alternatively, a high percentage of alcohol-based hand sanitiser will do the job.  

Be aware, those of you who wear wheelchair gloves are also still at risk. In some cases, wheelchair gloves may be harder to wash than just your bare hands.

Clean your chair frequently.

As we just discussed, wheelchair users are more susceptible to COVID-19 due to the transference of the virus from their wheels to their hands.  Washing your hands is a great start, but it’s been proven that the virus can stay on surfaces for up to 9 days and still be classed as infectious for up to 72 hours after appearing.

To keep your wheelchair clean it’s as simple as washing your hands! A cloth and clean soapy water will do the job. Frequently give your wheels a once over along with your armrests, backrests, footrests and seat too. It’s also vital that if you use an attendant propelled wheelchair that you clean the push handles too.

Clean your home.

Even if you have followed the first two steps, this may not be enough to ensure you remain COVID-19 free. If possible, make sure you wash your wheelchair outside to prevent the virus from entering your home and sanitise your hands before entering too.

Once you have done this, ensure you wipe down any household items regularly, such as door handles, grab rails, the kettle or remotes. This way you will minimise the risk of transferring any of the virus that may have entered your home.

Follow social distancing.

Although the government is reducing the social distancing rules to 1M+, the + is still extremely important. We still recommend that you stick to the 2M rule in order to remain a safe distance from other people. Maintaining this distance will help to provide you some protection if water droplets are to fall in the area surrounding you. We would also recommend you wear a face mask where possible to further protect you from the inhalation of any water droplets.

If you require any assistance with your wheelchair, or perhaps it’s time for an upgrade, our store is open and we are here to help. We have put in place strict guidelines provided from the government such as visit appointments, one-way systems around the store as well as only allowing one group of customers in our showroom at a time.

If you would like to book your visit to us, call us on 01905 22950.

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Posted on 16th July 2020

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