by: Mark Hiller

Posted: May 13, 2021 / 04:31 PM EDT / Updated: May 13, 2021

WYOMING, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The pandemic has reinforced the importance of avoiding viruses and germs which can harm our health.

A survey by Stratus Building Solutions finds 88 percent of Americans plan to be extra cautious of potential germs even after they’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Some areas of caution may seem obvious but other areas may serve as a wake-up call.

Mary and Charlie Fino of Wyoming frequently clean their home, wash their hands, and are careful to keep containers and some paper products out of their home which may raise the risk of microbes that may make them sick.

“I always washed my hands anytime I came in the house from outside,” Mary told us.

And before and after touching food, too. But ever since the pandemic, Mary takes her “soaping up” a step further.

“Now, I have a tendency after I move the newspaper or touch the mail or something I go and scrub my hands,” she said.

She and her husband Charlie took the COVID crisis seriously.

“It made my senses aware of what’s going on. So, you spent more time unpacking the groceries outside so the bags stayed outside and the groceries came in,” Charlie explained.

“Let it suffice to say I have survived cancer and a heart attack. I wasn’t going down with the pandemic,” Mary said.

The Finos have joined a nation of neat freaks trying to keep germs and viruses out of the house and out of their reach.

“Taking the high road and taking more precautions just to be on the safe side I think was the strategy in the beginning,” said Dr. Donna Wolk, director of clinical microbiology at Geisinger.

We’ve since learned while COVID-19 commonly spreads airborne, it rarely does by touching surfaces. But other potentially infectious viruses, bacteria, yeasts and molds can through contact.

“The eyes, the nose and the mouth are what we call mucus membranes and they’re very… They’re prone to having more infection than your normal skin,” Wolk explained.

Each day, we grab hold of high-touch surfaces like handrails, appliances and door handles and knobs. And don’t forget kitchen countertops, too. These are all areas that could be a breeding ground for microbes to make you sick. The Finos often use disinfectant wipes to wage their battle with surface spread. Soap and water also do the trick.

“The virus needs to be an intact virus particle before it can pass on. So, if the virus shell is disabled in any way, it can’t be transmissible,” Wolk told us.

But what about all of those other surfaces you touch and may not be clean?

“You know, you can’t disinfect the world,” joked Wolk.

But you can practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, something else will do.

“The alcohol-based hand sanitizers,” Wolk said.

Even masks can play a role in a post-pandemic world to keep you well. But Dr. Wolk says the key is once you put on the mask, don’t fidget with your face.

Masks are credited with helping decrease flu transmission but Dr. Wolk sees many examples of people making mask mistakes.

“They’re wearing their masks but it’s falling down onto their nose. Then they rub their nose with their finger.”

“We’re still careful. We’ll still be careful with the mask situation because that’s basically the flu,” said Charlie.

The Finos have adapted hoping their precautions provide a big payoff — keeping healthy.

“I’m ready to have life again,” Mary said.

The CDC has a  list of recommendations to help in the battle against germs and viruses.