Skip the panic and prepare the right way. With so much misinformation out there it can be hard to be ready this advice comes straight from the CDC and WHO.
Misinformation is spreading faster than the Coronavirus (COVID-19) itself. Things like always wearing masks in public, making your own hand sanitizer, and people are emptying stores of everything.
A new virus we don’t have immunity to and that has a high death rate for part of the population is scary. It’s always good to be prepared for all kinds of disasters, including pandemics but we don’t want to overreact or prepare in the wrong way.
I have asthma which means respiratory viruses can be very dangerous for me. Because of that, I have been making sure to keep up with the news and prepare as well as possible.
While I want to be prepared I don’t want to panic or cause more problems by hoarding supplies others may need more than myself or that aren’t even effective for me to have on hand. That’s why you need to make sure you are getting the right advice.
If you aren’t sure if that advice your friend shared on Facebook is correct check one of the sources above. Don’t share information without double-checking that it is accurate so we can all be prepared in the correct way.
The purpose of this post is to share ways you can prepare your family without fear or overreacting. Information is changing all of the time so be sure to again check CDC and WHO often for changes but for now, these are somethings you can do to prepare.
How to be Prepared
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Protective Measure to Take
- Wash your hands thoroughly, at least for 20 seconds, often. The best way to do this is with soap and water. When soap and water aren’t available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Make sure the hand sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol, most homemade options don’t meet these criteria.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you must touch one of these areas wash your hands thoroughly first.
- Avoid close contact with sick people. WHO recommends you stay at least 3 feet away from anyone coughing or sneezing.
- Follow good respiratory hygiene and tell those around you to follow as well. This means covering your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze, even if you don’t think you are sick. If you use a tissue be sure to dispose of it properly immediately.
- If you are sick stay home.
- Follow the WHO to keep up-to-date on hot spots and avoid travel to these areas.
What to Stock Up
The reason to stock up on items is to be prepared if you need to isolate yourself or want to avoid the public if your area becomes a hot spot. The recommendation is to be prepared for up to a month. And currently, social distancing is being encouraged for all.
One item people are stocking up on that is not needed is water. There is no reason to think access to water will be a problem. The preparation for a widespread virus is not the same as preparing for natural disasters.
These are somethings to consider keeping on hand while the virus is spreading. Depending on your needs you may need different items.
- Hand soap- The single most important thing we can all do is wash our hands often. You don’t need to buy out the store but making sure to have plenty on hand is a good idea.
- Hand sanitizer- Soap and water are best but having hand sanitizer for when you aren’t near soap and water is also a good idea. Make sure it contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Medications- If you take medications, make sure to keep your prescription refilled and on hand. Check your medicine cabinet as well to make sure you are stocked up on things like fever reducers and cold medicines.
- Vitamins- Keeping our immune systems strong is always a good idea and some supplements have shown promise in this area. Check with your doctor before starting new supplements to make sure they are safe for you.
- Food- Keep a reasonable stock of food to help you with social distancing. Unlike when preparing for disasters these items don’t need to be shelf-stable. It is a good idea to have some foods you like when sick as well, like soups, crackers, tea, and lemon-lime soda. Not sure the best things to stock up on? Check out The Best Things to Buy When Stocking Up for an Extended Period.
- Cleaning supplies- We all want to be sure to up our cleaning routines. This is a good idea during the cold and flu season in general. Make sure you are cleaning and disinfecting things that are touched a lot like doorknobs, light switches, phones, and faucets often.
- Toilet paper- This is another item stores are running out of. You don’t need to have a crazy supply, just about two weeks-one month’s worth.
- Facial tissues- In case someone gets sick it’s a good idea to have some tissues on hand.
- Paper towels- I don’t usually use paper towels but if someone becomes sick having disposable items may be helpful.
- Extra toothbrushes- If someone becomes sick you will want to throw away their toothbrush when they get better. One extra for each family member should be enough.
A lot of these items can be purchased locally or you can use Grove Collaborative for many of the household and cleaning items. They have promised to work hard to stay stocked and to not gouge prices.
If you have never ordered from Grove Collaborative before you can get a free Mrs. Meyer set that includes all-purpose spray, dish soap, and hand soap, all good things to have on hand.
An Amazon Prime membership can also be useful right now. Watch for price gouging but it may help keep you out of the stores, I like to avoid stores during cold and flu season anyway. You can get a 30-day free Amazon Prime trial if you aren’t already a member.
Things to Remember
- The CDC does not recommend people who are well wear facemasks. Facemasks should be used by people showing symptoms to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. They are also crucial for health workers and people caring for someone that is ill in close settings.
- Hoarding masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and other protective gear is endangering health workers. This is bad for all of us.
- Panicking is not helpful. Stay informed and prepared but don’t panic.
- Homemade hand sanitizer is may not be effective and can be harmful. If you have no other options be sure the one you make will have at least 60% alcohol.
- Get your news from reliable sources. The best options right now are the CDC and WHO. Don’t trust everything shared through social media and email.
And remember to always check with your doctor before following medical advice found on the internet and keep up with the latest recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and your local health officials.
Be sure to share this post with friends and family to make sure they are preparing properly and using reliable sources.