News from Northwest ADA Center – Idaho
Wheelchair Use and Precautions for COVID-19
If you push a manual wheelchair, there are unique precautions you should take related to hand washing. COVID-19 can survive on surfaces of your wheelchair, such as handrims. Any virus that may be on your hands can be transferred to your handrails as you push your wheelchair.
Clean hands: Washing your hands is incredibly important. Wash with soap for 20 seconds whenever you return home from ANY activity where people have been. Use a fingernail brush, as you may have really rough skin from pushing the wheelchair. Carry anti-bacterial wipes or hand sanitizer to clean hands before eating, regardless of where you are. Try to avoid touching the tires, use FlexRims to get great grip without hand-to-tire contact. Wear gloves when pushing, but think about where to set them after, as they may now be infected with a virus. And it is like the inside of the gloves can become infected unless you always wash your hands before putting them on.
Clean Wheelchair: Wash the surfaces on your wheelchair, especially the handrails and tires. After washing your hands, have two washcloths or anti-bacterial wipes you can use to wash the rims as you wheel around the house. Or spin around in circles doing this, such as in a public bathroom. Wipe the hand rims three times. Wash the other surfaces that you regularly touch including wheel locks, the frame, and seat cushion. Arm supports, push handles and foot supports should be cleaned as well. If it is a power wheelchair, disinfect your joystick and controls. Be careful of bleach, it can damage some surfaces. Regularly clean grab bars and other surfaces in your home. And consider washing your hands again after cleaning it.
Social Distance: Wheelchair users sit lower than most people that are standing, so there is more exposure to saliva droplets. Observe a minimum of 6 ft from those around you. You may consider wearing some type of face mask to protect from getting sprayed. The virus can go through a mask that is not an N95 one, but anything is better than nothing. This can also act as a barrier to keep you from touching your mouth or nose. Consider a paint stir stick to scratch with when you have an itch.
For more information about the ADA contact:
Dana Gover, MPA, and ACTCP Certification, ADA Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator
For more information about ADA Technical Assistance visit the NW ADA Center Idaho website: nwadacenter.org/idaho
Phone: Voice and Text 208-841-9422
Idaho Relay Service: 7