For a lot of folks, gassing up the car is a normal part of the weekly routine. After all, when you need to go to work or the store, you have to have the fuel to get there. Aside from the usual safety precautions we should all take when we fill up the gas tank, there’s a new concern: the transmission of germs and viruses such as COVID-19. Now is a better time than ever to review how to pump gas safely.
Pumping gas without passing along germs
When you fill up your car, you have to touch the same gas pump that everyone else has handled— there’s no avoiding it! While we can’t guarantee that everyone else who has touched it has taken the proper precautions to prevent the spread of germs, you can make sure that you do your part to keep those around you safe and illness free.
- Wear gloves – You might feel a little silly doing it but wearing disposable gloves will help prevent the spread of any germs to your hands.
- Carry disinfectant – If you have it available, use disinfecting wipes before and after you pump your gas. You’ll want to check the CDC’s list of effective disinfectants to ensure what you have available is effective.
- Wash your hands – When you’re finished pumping your gas, wash your hands thoroughly. You’ll want to follow these steps to make sure you’re properly cleaning them:
- Wet your hands with water that is clean.
- Apply soap to your palms and lather them together, making sure to scrub under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least a full 20 seconds. Sing a little song while you do it!
- Rinse your hands under clean water.
- Dry your hands using clean material such as a disposable napkin or clean towel.
Look but don’t touch
Each time we fill up our cars, it’s important to remember gasoline safety. Never inhale or touch gas in order to stay safe because it is toxic. If you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from exposure to fuel, contact poison control immediately for assistance.
Symptoms of dangerous exposure include but are not limited to difficulty breathing, headaches, dizziness, and a burning sensation in your throat.
Gasoline is highly flammable. We’ve seen it in every action movie ever, and while those car explosions are the result of special effects, we still need to be cautious. Gas safety 101 means never smoking while filling up your vehicle. Before you pull up to the gas station, put out your cigarettes fully and make sure there are no other sources of open flame or sparks around you or your car.
Even if you are not actively pumping gas, fumes from gasoline still pose a threat, so it’s important to use caution no matter where you are at the gas station. If you see someone else smoking, notify the attendant inside and leave immediately for your own safety.
The bottom line.
We hope this refresher on safety at the pump gives you the confidence to fuel up knowing you’re taking the proper precautions each time you need to fill up. As always, we wish you and your loved ones good health during this unprecedented time.