With the coronavirus outbreak largely unchecked, now is a time when many people are looking to get in touch with their inner recluse.
Helped by technology, however, people may be able to reduce their exposure to the virus. After all, it’s difficult to catch a virus (the non-computer kind) by staring at a screen all day while avoiding human contact.
Another strategy may be to avoid touching contaminated surfaces. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that it hasn’t documented the coronavirus being transmitted to people from surfaces, it has recommended cleaning visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfecting them.
An easy step is to clean your smartphone. As Apple said in a recently updated policy for cleaning iPhones, “Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your iPhone.”
Keep in mind, however, that bleach is a no-no for your iPhones and make sure you “don’t submerge your iPhone in any cleaning agents.”
After your smartphone is thoroughly germ-free, here’s a few other hints for using tech to increase your chances of staying healthy.
Set up Apple or Google pay
If you must venture into the physical world, make sure you have a mobile payment app like Apple or Google Pay installed on your smartphone. Using these payment apps to buy the last hand sanitizer lets you avoid touching cash or credit cards—or any store touchscreens. All you have to wave your phone in front of the payment terminal’s screen.
Use your phone as a subway card
Workers whose employers have no work-from-home policies may be unable to avoid subways and public buses. Luckily, they can use a smartphone as a subway card in some cities like New York. Why risk accidentally touching a germ-encrusted kiosk reader when you can wave your phone near it instead.
Use telemedicine and online mental health apps
Although smartphone apps are no substitute for meeting face-to-face with your doctor or therapist, some people may still prefer to seek treatment from home. As Fortune recently reported, CVS Health, via its insurance arm Aetna, said it would provide its insurance customers free telemedicine visits through services like the CVS MinuteClinic’s virtual doctor for the next three months—”no matter the reason.”
Install an Air Quality Index app on your smartphone.
The coronavirus is more dangerous for people who have pre-existing respiratory problems. To keep their lungs healthy (and not irritated by environmental factors), they can use an Air Quality Index app to avoid places with high pollutant levels. And if your Air Quality app tells you your home has the air quality of Los Angeles on a particular day, you’ll know that you have some cleaning to do.
Carry a stylus to avoid interacting with touchscreens
You may have to touch a dirty touchscreen if you venture out for a cup of coffee or a grocery store. Luckily, owning a stylus pen—they can cost as little as $2—can eliminate the need to drag your fingers across screens that thousands of people have already touched. Of course, this means you need to keep your stylus pen clean.