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How to protect against coronavirus on packages and mail

Simple, homemade solution of bleach and water can help kill the virus.

SAN DIEGO — News 8 viewers have been emailing and calling in wanting to know how to protect themselves from coronavirus on packages and mail delivered to homes.

There are some simple solutions to help keep your family safe.

“Anything that you bring into your home that you didn't have control over, you should probably look at carefully,” said Eric McDonald, the County of San Diego's medical director of epidemiology.

So, how can you protect yourself from coronavirus on packages?

“I open my mail every day. I am able to look at it and throw away what I don't need and recycle some, actually most. Then, I wash my hands afterwards before I do something else. If you do something as simple as that, you're going to be well protected in your home,” said Dr. McDonald.

But do packages really pose a risk? 

News 8 asked an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“It is possible for objects to get contaminated from the hands of someone who just handed you an object,” said Dr. Juan Dumois, who specializes in pediatric infectious disease at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St Petersburg, Florida.

“We think that the virus can survive on the surfaces of packages and other objects for at least several hours. So, if you do get an object delivered to the home or bring an object from outside the home into the home, you can try to disinfect it,” said Dr. Dumois.

Disinfecting your mail, what does that look like?

"Some people are preparing sprays of common household disinfectants or even diluted bleach,” said Dr. Dumois.

“If you want to make the diluted bleach, the formula is four teaspoons of bleach and a quart of water,” said Dumois.

Use a spray bottle to mist your mail or boxes delivered to your home, they will get wet, but dry up pretty quickly.

UPDATE:  Do not use "spashless" bleach for disinfection purposes.  You must use regular bleach for COVID-19 disinfection.

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