As a hospital employee, scientist and community member I’ve been watching the situation with COVID-19 very closely. As a mom to four little kids and with elderly family members close to us, I’ve also been thinking very carefully about what we would truly need should we be quarantined for several weeks. Here is my list of essentials which will hopefully help your family in preparing for a potential COVID-19 quarantine.
To Write or Not to Write
I recently asked our Twitter followers whether we should write about COVID-19 or stick to crafts/DIY. Almost 90% of respondents indicated crafts and DIY. But there were a couple in there who also indicated COVID-19.
So I’ve been debating even writing this. But it seems disingenuous not to talk about such an important issue that is affecting us all in one way or another.
Since I started writing this our school board has implemented a 2-week extension to our upcoming March break. Now I’m also thinking about how to keep the kids busy at home over the next three weeks. Here is a summer camp at home printable planner to keep your kids busy!
I don’t often talk here about the fact that I have a doctoral degree in neuroscience and work (now part-time) as a director in a large hospital. My inclination is to look at facts and data rather than rumors. However, I am not a clinician so please don’t take anything below as advice in place of your healthcare provider.
So let’s get started with my list of the top five things we need when thinking about being quarantined for 2-weeks at home with our families.
5 Things We Need During the COVID-19 Outbreak
#1 Accurate Information
Please don’t look to your Twitter and Facebook feed comments for information. Inaccurate information, hunches, suspicions and rumour are rampantly being shared about COVID-19. There is so much about this particular virus that even the scientific community does not yet know.
If you truly want to learn the latest about this topic here are some of the best sources for accurate information:
- The World Health Organization website has great information for the public including when and how to use masks, myth-busters and travel advice;
- In Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada website has important updates, information, travel and preparedness advice;
- zDoggMD is US-based physician who does a great job of sharing the latest information on all things related to healthcare in a really understable way on his Facebook page.
#2 Self Care
By reading and listening to the news it’s easy to become anxious and frightened. It’s actually quite natural to feel those things in such uncertain time. But knowledge is power: arming yourself with the right information is powerful in minimizing anxiety and stress. It’s important to be careful and not panic.
Remember: Most people who catch COVID-19 will recover. Many have symptoms that are so mild they might not even realize they have it.
So, familiarize yourself with the best practices for keeping yourself and your family safe. The AFSP also has tips for protecting your mental health in the face of uncertainty.
The WHO also provides helpful information on how to cope with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak.
This document also provides great tips abour how to help your children deal with the uncertainty and potential anxiety surrounding coronavirus.
#3 Your Medications and Prescriptions
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. Should you chose to purchase through these links we make a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure here.
Are you taking any prescription medications? You don’t want to run out if you are quarantined. Can you get a longer supply from your family doctor now? Will they be able to call your prescriptions to the pharmacy so that you can avoid a visit to their office?
Also, do you have supplies in place should you or members of your family catch COVID-19 such as a working thermometer, adult and children’s pain relievers. We also like to have popsicles in the freezer to help soothe soar throats and high temperatures.
#4 A First Aid Kit
A full First Aid Kit (this is a good one from Amazon) is important to have in your home in any case. Filled with materials such as sterile water, bandaids, gauze, antiseptic wipes and more, a full kit will help you manage minor cuts, scrapes and burns at home. This will get even more important if wait times at doctors’ offices and emergency departments get longer.
My husband went into Costco the other night to pick up a few things and found lines stretching around the building. (He insists on mentioning how calm and patient everyone was. We know it’s a single data point, but it was unlike the panic being portrayed in some media.)
It is understable to stockpile food in the face of uncertainty. But if you haven’t, don’t stress. Keep in mind that:
- Even in Italy where there is a major shut-down, groceries and supermarkets are open;
- Food delivery is available in most areas. This isn’t really a supply chain shortage.
There are also great ways to use items you might have in your pantry and freezer already. We plan to use this time to get creative and use up those items deep at the back!
Although a part of me understands the urge to stockpile toilet paper don’t panic if you run out! Our friend Kris at Attainable Sustainable wrote this great article on civilized alternatives to TP which you might find helpful.
DIY hand sanitizer recipes are all over the place now. Washing hands with soap and water is generally more effective than hand sanitizers. But if you are running low and thinking of making your own, be sure to keep these things in mind.
Should you need to go out you may be tempted to fashion your own face mask (out of a bra?). But the experts suggest that for the average person, wearing a face mask is not as effective as other measures (i.e. hand washing, social distancing).
In summary, take 10 minutes and think through what things your family truly needs if you are stuck at home for several weeks. This will hopefully provide you an opportunity to get them in place so that you won’t need to scramble should the need arise.
Leave a comment below and let us know what is happening in your area. How are you feeling about the current coronavirus situation?