Although the risk of getting coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, in the U.S. remains low, public health officials state it’s not clear how easily this disease spreads from person to person.
Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
Since there’s no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests ways to reduce the risk of spreading an airborne virus in its Get Your Household Ready for Pandemic Flu brochure.
Here’s a list of supplies to have in your home in case of a broader outbreak or quarantine.
It’s recommended that you have enough nonperishable food for two weeks, according to the American Red Cross. You can buy a compact bucket of dehydrated meals or shop for long-lasting food you won’t mind eating before it spoils.
- Canned foods (soups, vegetables, fruits)
- Other nonperishable foods (grains, pastas, rice)
- Snacks (chips, crackers, nuts)
- Baby Food
- Pet Food
A two-week supply of water and other hydrating beverages is recommended.
- Water containers can safely store one gallon per person or pet per day
- Water filtration system
- Bottled water
- Bacteria- and parasite-removing water purification tablets and personal water filters work if you have access to untreated water
- Hydrating electrolyte drinks
Good hygiene, especially regular and thorough hand washing, is one of the best ways to protect yourself from coronavirus, colds and flus. According the CDC soap and water and most household cleansers such as bleach wipes and alcohol will kill coronaviruses. If someone is sick at home, wipe kitchen counters, bathroom faucets and other surfaces several times a day.
- Antibacterial Soap
- Hand Sanitizer with high alcohol content
- Toilet Paper
- Disinfecting Wipes
- Feminine Care Products
- Laundry Detergent
- Dish Soap/Detergent
- Cat Litter
It’s important to have an adequate supply of any daily or prescription medications you take, according to Ready.gov. It’s also a good idea to have:
- Over-the-counter medicines (pain relievers, fever reducers, cough suppressants, antihistamines, and other medicines in case of vomiting and diarrhea)
- First Aid Kit
The CDC doesn’t recommend face masks for disease prevention. However, if you are sick, face masks, can help prevent people around you from contracting the disease. Do note that face masks are starting to go out of stock and become expensive. Consider other preventative options. Here’s some other gear:
- Emergency Kits
- Crank-powered flashlight and phone charger
- Portable Emergency Radio with Public Emergency Alert System information
Follow these important practices on a regular basis:
- Stay away from crowds using social distancing to limit exposure and avoid close contact especially when traveling.
- If you or someone in your house is sick: Stay home for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Health experts say you should scrub for 20 seconds, about as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, or cough or sneeze into your elbow instead of your hands to keep viruses from being airborne. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Throw away used tissues in no-touch disposal receptacle
- Keep hands out of your mouth, nose and eyes to prevent transmission of not just coronavirus, but other respiratory diseases, according to the CDC
- Enroll in public alerts or an emergency alert service in your county to be notified via text, call or email by emergency response agencies when you need to take action such as shelter-in-place or evacuate. Many public health departments also use social media to communicate timely and accurate pandemic flu information to the public
- Bookmark the website or Facebook page of the Oregon Health Authority and a local health department, which regularly notify residents of health emergencies and other issues impacting the community
- Make plans if schools or daycares close
IF YOU GET SICK
Most corona virus cases are mild. If you feel sick, you don’t need to rush to the hospital or an urgent care facility right away.
- Call your primary care physician, who may be able to help you over the phone.
- If you believe you are having a medical emergency, dial 911.
- Separate yourself. People who are sick should not share a bedroom, bathroom, towels or eating utensils with other members of the household, and they should wear a face mask to reduce the spread of illness.
- Use a disinfectant to daily to clean doorknobs, light switches, toilet seats, countertops and other high-touch surfaces.