Who knew when we woke on New Year’s day, 2020, that just a few months later we would be faced with a crisis of this magnitude. Safety and precaution are now our new normal. This is never more true than when we are going shopping. Shortages on everything from non-perishables to tissue paper have made the predicament even more stressful than it needs to be. It’s essential to realize that this is a period where essentials are crucial for all of us in getting through to the other side together. Now, more than ever, it’s important to take personal accountability and ensure we all get through this stronger and better than ever.
Keep A Few Things in Mind
If you are planning to venture out of your social quarantine bubble, consider the effect it could have on others. Only you know when you might be sick. Initial symptoms to look out for include dry cough and sore throat that lead to a fever, body aches, runny nose, nasal congestion, and shortness of breath. These symptoms are a checklist of general considerations and not inherently indicative of a more serious illness, though shortness of breath/trouble breathing is a red flag. It could be bronchitis, but better safe than sorry. Equally troublesome is that many who are sick show few or no symptoms, which is why, when in doubt, it is always best to follow recommendations from the CDC on how to prevent and control the spread of disease.
- Stay home unless there is an absolute necessity to leave.
- Keep your distance. In the event that you do go out, remain six feet away from others and avoid groups of ten or more.
- Keep your mouth covered. If you sneeze or have to cough, do it into your elbow or a tissue.
- Soap and water to the rescue. Frequently wash your hands for at least two durations of the entire song “Happy Birthday” with warm water and any hand soap that foams.
- You can sing this in your head – no need to walk around belting out Happy Birthday to You all day 🙂
- Use hand sanitizer. If you’re in a pinch, hand sanitizer is proven to kill 99.9% of all germs.
- Spring cleaning. Keep areas outside your home covered with custom covers and tarps and inside areas of your home clean with easily washable sofa covers or accent covers; disinfecting well traveled areas of your house several times a day is also highly recommended.
Take What You Need…
The most necessary items are things you already have: food, water, and shelter. Other items are nice to have but non essential.
- 2 Weeks of Food: chances are you have a pantry and deep freezer brimming with food. Take inventory of these items before making the decision to go out. Canned goods are the perfect base for any casserole and frozen food items can easily be made into something delicious for dinner. If you do make a run to the grocery store, adhere to a shopping list. Look for items like frozen foods, rice, pasta, popcorn, and dried beans. While fresh vegetables and fruit won’t keep for long, many are easily frozen and will surprise you with the flavor they retain over a short period of time. Either way, don’t let food go to waste. Remember, your freezer is your friend.
- First Aid Kit: Now is a better time than any to make sure your first aid kit is ready for whatever you may need it for. And if you don’t have one, Amazon and Target are great places to find what you need and they’ll ship it right to your door.
- What to Do if Someone Gets Sick: in the event someone in your home becomes ill, be prepared and have a plan in place. The CDC has a Household Plan of Action list here.
… Not Everything You Want
Panic-buying hurts those in need. Those that can’t make trips to the store themselves and rely on assistance from a friend or family member to get items for them are left without essentials when massive amounts of toilet paper and cleaning supplies fly off the shelves. Try not to take more than you need of anything.
- Professional-Grade Face Masks Are Out This Season: You don’t need a face mask unless you are sick. Leave face masks for immunocompromised individuals and medical professionals that are on the front lines in fighting infectious disease. Create your own with a bandana, old T-shirt you can cut up, or piece of fabric. All will do the trick to keep those pesky airborne molecules away from your mouth & nose.
- Don’t Flush Your Money Down the Toilet: Don’t purchase excess toilet paper. There’s no evidence to suggest that the current crisis increases your use of the toilet.
- Hoarding is Boar-ing: There’s no reason to stockpile or prepare for a nuclear winter. Limit yourself to essentials.
We are only as strong as commitment to work for the common good. Together we can thrive in this time of self quarantine and bring all of these precautions to a quick and successful conclusion.