As of today, Covid-19, informally known as the Coronavirus, has been officially declared a global pandemic. The World Health Organization has decided that it has reached the stage where it can no longer be denied that it meets every qualification for this status.
While countries around the world are doing their best to contain this virus, it is making its way through populations and will be here shortly but surely, and no one knows exactly what is going to happen. The best guess from those who have studied the virus is that it is serious. People need to be prepared.
Families especially need to think ahead. Remembering that this is just the beginning stage of the outbreak, it is important to keep an eye to the future to be sure you have plans in place should things go badly. Not only will you need supplies of food and water, but there are probably a lot of things you haven’t thought about, including medical supplies, electrical supplies, and more.
If you have children, you will also need certain supplies to keep them healthy, happy and safe throughout what may be a long quarantine. If our country ends up going into lock-down, as is the case with China and Italy, you may be stuck at home for a long while, and this is difficult for all. Good preparation in advance is paramount.
Remember, failure to prepare is preparing to fail.
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Please note that I am not a medical professional, and this should not be taken as medical advice.
Here are some questions to ask yourself and plans you should be considering right now before you do anything else.
- Do you have a safe space to wait out a long quarantine?
- Do you have enough food to last you and your household through 30 days, at least?
- Do you have a plan for your children should you and your partner (if you have one) both be caught out with this virus?
- Do you have a plan for your pets if you and your partner (if you have one) both be caught out with this virus?
- Do you have a 30-day supply of pet food (if applicable)?
- Do you have a backup water supply?
- Do you have a backup generator or batteries to run your necessary equipment should there be a loss of power?
- Do you have enough savings to pay for what you need should you lose your job due to this virus?
- Do you have insurance to help you get medical care if you should need it?
- Do you have the ability to get medical help (with or without insurance) if you should need it?
- Do you or someone in your household know first aid and/or CPR?
- Do you have a supply (or the means to get a supply) of your necessary medications to see you through the next 30-90 days?
- Are you or anyone in your family immuno-compromised?
Knowing the answers to these questions and putting plans into place for dealing with them will be a good first step in preparing yourself for the worst.
While we all hope for the best possible outcome, the unfortunate reality right now is that any hope of containing this virus depends on everyone doing their part.
Since you can’t count on anyone else taking it seriously, the best you can do is prepare yourself.
What Items Do You Need To Prepare for a Pandemic?
The good news when preparing for a pandemic, or any emergency situation, is that having certain items on hand can always come in useful. While buying certain things all at once can be a big expense, you will be glad to have these things when you need them. They also can be very helpful during powerful storms, earthquakes, and even camping trips.
General Items Every Family Needs
Portable Generator – This is to use if and when power goes out. You can use gasoline to generate enough electricity to power things like your fridge, charge your phones and computers, run your microwave, etc.
55 Gallon Water Barrel – If water supplies are down for any reason, or if they are cut off, having a supply of potable water is imperative. You can live without food for longer than you can live without water. These barrels are running low everywhere, so get them while you can. You can also buy gallons of water from the stores if you can find them. Finally, save all of the jars, water bottles, etc that you can and fill them with water from home and keep them somewhere safe. You may need them later.
Emergency Flashlights – These are great when you lose power, and they’re good for kids when they need to go from room to room in the dark. They’re good to have on hand at any time.
Portable Chargers and Batteries – Keeping portable batteries and chargers ready to go means you don’t have to worry if you lose power, and you don’t have to immediately use your backup generator. You can use these for a while first.
Home Humidifier – Because this virus is a respiratory virus, a humidifier is a truly helpful thing to have, as it can play an incredible role in keeping your lungs safe and healthy.
Small Camp Stove + Butane – Once again, this can be super helpful if you lose power and need to cook for your family. It’s super inexpensive and will allow you to continue eating hot meals. It’s also great for boiling water. If you’re in a jam, this can be vital in sanitation endeavors.
Huel – Huel is a nutritionally complete meal replacement shake that you simply mix with water. It is 400 calories and comes in different flavors. It is a good backup, as it lasts for a year and can be kept on hand as an emergency food source in case you need it. If you buy a few bags and keep it in your pantry, you can have it as a backup food supply.
If this pandemic becomes truly overwhelming, hospitals will be overrun with victims, and it will not be safe to go to the doctor.
Similarly, what is being seen in other countries is that medical professionals are themselves catching the virus and many are dying or becoming too ill to treat patients.
As a result, it is more important than ever to learn to treat yourself as much as possible. Having everything you need on hand will be very important.
Fully Stocked EMT Trauma Bag – You will need more than a basic First Aid Kit. There are a variety of EMT bags you can find online. Some are very expensive, but there are a good variety of prices depending on what you think you’ll need. They all include most items you would need for various types of wounds including cuts, burns, stings, abrasions and more. They also include blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes. You can learn how to use all of them in the guidebook that is included or by watching youtube videos. Get familiar, and be prepared.
Sterile Gloves – If you’re going to be keeping yourself and others safe, you’re going to need sterile gloves.
Tissue Adhesive – Learning how to stitch someone up in an emergency is probably a little beyond the normal person’s capability. Especially if it’s a beloved partner or child. Gluing a cut closed may be a little easier, though, and it’s something actual doctors use, so it’s not even a bad idea.
Butterfly Closures – Similar to the glue, butterfly closures are a stand-in for sutures. If a wound requires stitches, but you’re not in a position to provide them, these can keep it closed until something more permanent can be figured out.
Oxidometer – With a respiratory virus, you’re going to want to keep track of your oxygen levels. Since going to the hospital is going to be discouraged except in the worst cases, an oxidometer can help you know if and when it’s time to make that call.
Nebulizer – A nebulizer is a good home treatment option if you end up with any sort of cough or breathing issue.
List of medications to stock:
- Allergy Medicine
- Children’s Allergy Medicine
- Children’s Benadryl
- Cold Medicine Adult
- Cold Medicine Children
- Ibuprofen Adult
- Ibuprofen Child
- Ibuprofen Infant
- Tylenol Adult
- Tylenol Child
- Tylenol Infant
- Pepto Bismol Adult
- Pepto Bismol Children
If you’ve got a baby at home, make sure you’ve got everything you need to keep them safe, happy and healthy at home. Don’t take chances out there. Get everything you need now, so you don’t have to worry about it later.
- Formula (3 months supply)
- Diapers (3 months supply)
- Wipes (3 months supply)
- Sterilizing Solution
- Extra Nipples
- Extra bottles
- Teething Tablets
- Nose Frida Booger Sucker
- Infant Thermometer
- Extra pacifiers
- Baby Food Supply
- Diaper Cream
- Sling/Baby Carrier
Not only is personal hygiene a matter of personal pride, but it’s also important in keeping yourself and those around you healthy. Be sure to keep stocked up on these items so you don’t run out if you are stuck at home for weeks at a time.
- Body Wash
- Toilet Paper (3 months supply)
- Tampons/Pads (3 months supply)
Stock up on everything you might need over the coming months, just in case they aren’t available or you can’t get to them immediately.
- Dish soap
- Dishwasher detergent
- Laundry detergent
- Hand soap
- Gallon ziploc bags – if the worst happens and water get shut off, you may need to dispose of body waste in these
- Yard waste bags – as above, if you are using ziploc bags to poop in, you’ll want to place them in strong yard waste bags to collect them
- Disposable cutlery – there is evidence that the virus can live on surfaces even after they are cleaned. It may be worth using disposable dishes until it passes
- Disposable plates – as above
Let’s face it. If you are stuck at home with your entire family, things can go downhill fast. Boredom is sure to set in – especially with little ones. Make sure you have some ideas for boredom busters in the form of toys, games, books, movies and more.
Remember – we haven’t even seen the beginning of this pandemic. There is so much worse to come. I don’t say that to try and make you panic. I say it because everything we know says that we are not doing enough to prepare. Take it seriously, get yourself everything you need to make sure you and your family are protected.
If in a few months we look back and laugh at ourselves for being so paranoid and realize it was all for nothing, I’ll be happy knowing that I’m prepared for the next time something like this happens.
Remember – this virus is a wake up call to remind us all that anything could happen at any time, and we have to be more prepared.
Be safe, and keep your family safe.
For more information on Covid-19 and the global pandemic, please visit the World Health Organization’s Q&A page.
Need some activity ideas to keep kids occupied? Check out our kids activities page for some fun crafts and learning opportunities.