We know what you’re thinking: It’s been over two months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Isn’t it a bit late to be talking about prepping for a pandemic? While it may be too late to prepare for this novel coronavirus, it’s important to remember that COVID-19 certainly won’t be the last viral outbreak to plague the world. And if you – like most people – were ill prepared this time around, why not take a few simple steps so that you’re not so panicked next time? According to a 2017 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nearly half of American households don’t have even a basic emergency kit. Create a small pandemic prep kit for your family by collecting the items we’ve listed below.
How to Create a Pandemic Prep Kit
Hand Soap & Hand Sanitizer
As we all know, one of the best ways to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria is to frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. So before a pandemic hits, make sure that you have a few bottles of back-up soap. It doesn’t need to be a special type of soap. Whether you prefer the cheapest soap on the shelf or an organic soap with a lovely scent, any soap is fine. According to the FDA, there is no special benefit to choosing anti-bacterial soap when it comes to COVID-19 (source).
The best way to reduce the spread of infections is to wash your hands. But in situations where you don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer is recommended. The CDC advises that you keep hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol on hand.
Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Spray and Wipes
During a pandemic, routine cleaning and disinfection should be a top priority. You’ll need to clean frequently touched surfaces – doorknobs, tables, light switches, countertops, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc. – very often, so be sure to include a multi-purpose disinfecting spray in your kit. The CDC recommends that you go with an EPA-registered household disinfectant. You may also wish to purchase some disinfecting cleaning wipes for convenience.
Especially during a major health crisis like the COVID-19 outbreak, you want to feel certain that you’ve done everything in your power to protect the health of your family. So be sure to keep several germ foggers in your pandemic prep kit. Able to quickly disinfect an entire room with the push of a button, germ foggers release a fine mist of disinfectant that disperses throughout the room and eliminates germs, bacteria, and other harmful microorganisms. Not only are germ foggers able to deliver a powerful disinfectant to places that might otherwise be overlooked, but also they are cost effective, safe, and easy to use. Check out the EPA-approved SafeSpace Disinfecting and Deodorizing Germ Fogger.
Cloth Face Masks
During the current novel coronavirus outbreak, the CDC recommends that the general public wear cloth face masks in public settings in situations where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, such as while shopping at a grocery store or pharmacy. While you can use typical household items like scarves and bandanas in lieu of actual masks, aim for the real deal as you prepare your pandemic prep kit. Your family’s masks should fit snugly, secure to your faces, include multiple layers of fabric, allow for unrestricted breathing, and be regularly laundered. You can sew a simple cloth mask yourself (or fold one together using a bandana and rubber bands) using these instructions from the CDC.
Food and Water
When a pandemic hits, grocery stores may sell out of important pantry staples, limit their hours, and/or enforce certain protocols. And as a part of social distancing, it’s important to only visit the grocery store when necessary. Store a few weeks’ worth of non-perishable food so that you’re prepared in case of an outbreak. According to the CDC, the following items are ideal for a pandemic grocery list:
- A three-day supply of water (which is about one gallon per person per day)
- A three-day supply of ready-to-eat foods (canned meat and fish, canned veggies and fruits)
- High-energy foods (such as peanut butter, nuts, dry cereal, granola, crackers)
- “Stress foods” (such as candy or cookies)
Keep a manual can opener on hand. Finally, be sure that you use and replace your food supplies regularly so that they don’t go bad before you can use them.
Regular Prescription Drugs & a Thermometer
If you don’t already have a well-stocked medicine cabinet, put this task at the top of your to-do list. Ready, a national public service campaign, advises periodically checking your regular prescription drugs to ensure that you have a continuous supply in your home. Also, keep the following items on hand: pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, vitamins, and a thermometer.
Emergency Supply of Medications
Do you suffer from a chronic condition that requires you to regularly take certain prescription drugs? The CDC advises that you keep an emergency supply of important medications at home. To do this, talk to your health care provider, pharmacist, and insurance provider. Be sure to use and restock these medications periodically to ensure that they’re used before their expiration dates.
Tissues, Toilet Paper, and Paper Towels
During times of crisis, people may panic and hoard certain items. During the COVID-19 outbreak, one of those items has clearly been toilet paper. Why toilet paper? According to an article in TIME, toilet paper was likely especially coveted due to three important facts: humans have primal associations with toilet paper, few substitutions are available for toilet paper, and people weren’t sure when the shortages would end. An economist interviewed by New York Magazine also believes that the shortages were related to the fragile buying/restocking flow of toilet paper. Typically, stores stock two or three days’ worth of inventory and customers buy toilet paper every two weeks or so. When the outbreak first happened, the high demand for toilet paper shocked the supply chain, which made people panic and hoard.
Clearly, panicking and hoarding is not advisable. Instead, try to get in the habit of keeping some extra toilet paper on hand. In addition, keep some extra tissues and paper towels handy. Beyond their typical functions, they could also be used as back-up toilet paper in an emergency.
Remember to talk to your family members and loved ones about what they’re doing to prepare for a future pandemic, especially those who may be more susceptible to illness or lack the resources to stock up on essential items.
Finally, as you begin assembling your pandemic prep kit, check out what SafeSpace Company® has to offer. Our Germ Fighter Kit contains three of the items you’ll need in your pandemic prep kit: germ foggers, disinfecting and deodorizing auto mist, and hand sanitizer. Whether you’re battling an epidemic or just trying to keep your family healthy during flu season, you can’t go wrong with SafeSpace. For more information, please visit the SafeSpace® website or give us a call today at 1-800-735-2506.
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