We’ve all seen photos of the bare shelves where a supermarket’s toilet paper once was. We’ve watched as countries such as China and Italy have locked down their residents to curtail the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). We read about how the National Guard is disinfecting public areas and delivering food to quarantined residents In New Rochelle, New York.
But what do you need to do to prepare for a quarantine in your community? Whether your quarantine is self-imposed (because you have been exposed to the virus) or mandated by your local government, a 14-day supply of essentials will help put your mind at ease and keep your household running during this stressful time.
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First, let’s look at what you don’t need to get through two weeks of quarantine during this particular crisis. If you read this website regularly, you know that we recommend stockpiling water, ready-to-eat-foods, and a generator for emergencies.
For the current crisis, it is unlikely that we will be without water and power. Therefore, it is probable that you will be able to cook in your kitchen and use your refrigerator and freezer as you normally do.
However, if you live in an area with limited access to water, it is a good idea to have enough water to last your family and pets through a two-week quarantine. The usual rule of thumb is a gallon of water per day per person.
Now let’s look at what you do need to have on hand to get through a 14-day quarantine. Keep in mind that you will need to determine supplies for your entire household, including your pets and any livestock you have. Your supply list should include all the household items you use on a regular basis – not just food.
Your list should include hygiene items and cleaning supplies, for instance. However, avoid panic buying large supplies of things (like toilet paper), instead of taking a measured approach to how much you really need for two weeks.
Note: Please keep in mind that two weeks of supplies should be the bare minimum. In some of the hardest-hit areas, quarantines are expected to last longer.
Helpful Tip: Go shopping right when the store opens. At that time, most of the shelves have been restocked, and there are fewer people there.
Okay, now let’s get to the checklist.
Plan to purchase a 14-day supply of non-perishable foods that your family usually eats and enjoys. This is not the time to experiment with new foods. During a crisis, we all like to maintain whatever sense of normalcy we can.
Here is a list of shelf-stable items to consider for your pantry.
- Canned foods — soups and stews, tuna, fruits, and vegetables
- Sauces and condiments — ketchup, mustard, dressing, and tomato sauce
- Dry goods — beans, rice, pasta, oats, cereals, and instant potatoes
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Breakfast cereals and other breakfast foods
- Beverages — tea, coffee, canned or bottled juice, condensed or powdered milk, and shelf-stable alternative milks
- Snacks – dried fruit, nuts, chips, protein bars
- Pet food
Since the power should be unaffected by a coronavirus quarantine, here are some items to consider for your freezer:
- Frozen juice concentrate
- Frozen fruit
- Frozen vegetables
- Frozen meats
- Frozen meals that your family already enjoys
You may also want to purchase some frozen ice cream since treats will be welcome during this difficult time.
Purchase enough of these items to last your family for two weeks.
- Laundry detergent
- Dish cleaning soap
- Facial tissue
- Toilet paper
- Skincare items
- Shaving cream
- Feminine hygiene supplies
Also stock up on disinfectant cleaners and wipes, since experts believe the COV19 virus can survive on some surfaces for several days. You may make your own cleaning solution by mixing one cup of household bleach with five gallons of water. (Here are some other homemade cleaning products).
Having a 30-day supply of any prescription medicine for use during an emergency is a good idea. Additionally, every household should maintain a well-stocked first aid kit, now more than ever.
Depending on how things play out in your area, there could be a couple of weeks when your local hospital is too busy to help you with minor injuries, so make sure you’re able to care for yourself and others with some basic first aid skills and supplies.
A basic first aid kit should contain the following items.
- Bandages in different sizes and shapes
- Sterile gauze dressings and closures
- Sterile eye dressings, eyewash, and eye bath
- Disposable sterile gloves
- Alcohol-free wipes
- Medical tape
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Antiseptic ointment
- Baby medicines if you have an infant
I would also get a dental first aid kit since most dentists are closing their doors right now.
Also, don’t forget about your standard over-the-counter medications and supplements such as:
- Acetaminophen (NOT ibuprofen. Here’s why.)
- Vitamin D (This one could be important. Here’s why.)
- Baby aspirin
- Mucinex DM
- Activated charcoal
The current consensus is that it is not necessary for you to use face masks during a quarantine.
Work and School Supplies
If your school or workplace is offering an online option, make sure you have the supplies you need a home to do the job. For example:
- Printer paper
- Printer ink
- Pens and pencils
- Miscellaneous stationery
Here’s an article about things you might want to consider if you are new to working from home.
Here are some other miscellaneous items you might need while staying home:
There are no doubt many other things you will need. Get a pen and paper and walk around your home, taking note of everything you touch and use throughout the day. Is there anything else that you might need to replace.
Fortunately, you can still order items from Amazon while you stay at home. However, Amazon is now prioritizing medical supplies, so there are some things that will soon be hard to find on their site.
Don’t forget about your mental health during a self-imposed or regulated quarantine. It’s easy to laugh it off as a time to binge-watch TV, but it may not be as simple as that. Without school, work, and other diversions, boredom will set in pretty quickly.
Think about what you can purchase or put aside now to keep your minds and bodies active during a two-week quarantine. For example:
- Board games
- Playing cards
- Coloring books
- Puzzle books (crossword, sudoku)
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Lego sets
Also, be sure to exercise and get outside as much as is possible in your situation. During most quarantines, you’re allowed to go outside to exercise, but check your local guidelines to be sure.
Keeping a journal of your thoughts and experiences might help you deal with all the emotions you will be feeling. Plus, think about how interesting it will be to read years from now. These are historic times!
Everyone is feeling stressed by the news of the novel coronavirus, so be sure to talk things through with family members – especially children. And practice other self-care routines such as making sure you get enough sleep and staying hydrated.
Lea Waters, a parenting expert and psychology professor at the University of Melbourne recommends that families sit down to discuss a family contract for the quarantine period. Take the time to consider the following questions.
- What are the strengths we each have that will help the family?
- What will be our biggest challenges?
- How can each of us make the quarantine situation better?
- How can we avoid getting on each other’s nerves?
If you and your family work together, you can make this a positive experience rather than something to dread.
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