The already-infamous toilet paper shortages have been one of the most bizarre aspects of the current COVID-19 pandemic. People around the world, especially in big cities, are filling their carts up with entire shelves’ worth of bathroom tissue, while others have been forced to use baby wipes, paper towels or Kleenex® to get by.
While it may be a good idea to have a few extra necessities on hand to get ready for a national lockdown or self-quarantine situation, panic-buying is irrational and unnecessary. Here are a few things that you might ACTUALLY need if you are going to be stuck at home for an extended period of time:
–Non-perishable food items. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, CDC, and other organizations recommend that citizens have around a month’s worth of food stored in the house. This recommendation can include, but is not limited to: soup, canned fruits and vegetables, beans, pasta, nuts, whole grain oats, rice, and peanut butter. Try for variety and high nutritional value.
–Clean water if you do not already have access to any. If your water supply will not cut it, grab a few gallons of water from the store. Try to avoid getting a large amount of plastic water bottles, as this creates extraneous waste. It also would not hurt to get Pedialyte® or Gatorade® in case you get sick and need to replenish valuable electrolytes. Multiple people who recovered from Ebola swear by electrolyte drinks.
–Prescription and non-prescription drugs. The last thing you should be worried about is having to fight to get a refill for a preexisting medical condition during this time. Even if you do not need a refill now, consider taking care of those medications early and grabbing some over-the-counter treatments that are helpful to you when you are ill. Decongestants, for instance, may expedite the process of clearing out the sinuses and lungs during a respiratory infection (if used sparingly).
–Cleaning supplies. If you are not already stocked on cleaning supplies, now is the time to grab them. Soap, sanitizing wipes, disinfectant spray, and hand sanitizer are crucial to a clean home. Sanitizing high-touch surfaces frequently, especially in public or common areas, will reduce the risk of contagion. The novel coronavirus has been shown to live on surfaces for days if they are not sanitized properly.
–Miscellaneous essentials. These include a first aid kit, vitamins, spare hygiene items (deodorant, an extra toothbrush), and a thermometer. Think about what else you and others might need for a month of sheltering in place, as each family has individualized needs.
With three weeks’ worth of these items, you should be in pretty good shape for a lockdown or self-quarantine scenario. Please abide by national and state guidelines for the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19, and be sure to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to do otherwise. The sooner we hunker down, the more quickly we can get back to normal.