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Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to Prepare Your Family

Why Should I Get Ready for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Now?

People are being asked to stay home to help limit the number of people getting sick from coronavirus COVID-19. People who get the virus will need to stay away from others until their doctor says they are better.

As more people become sick and stores and businesses close, it may take longer to find supplies that you'll need. Getting ready is something you can control during this uncertain time.

How Can I Get Ready for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Preparing for coronavirus (COVID-19) means having what you need to stay home. Officials are asking people to only go out when absolutely needed so they don't get sick. Keeping your household supplied will prevent you from running out of essentials.

If you need to go to stores to get essential items, try to go during off hours when they might not be as crowded. Wash your hands before and after going out. Use online shopping with delivery or pick-up where available to limit the time you are in stores. Experts say to wipe down delivery boxes or open them outside if possible, and then wash your hands.

What Should I Get to Be Ready for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

  • Food and water. Choose food that doesn't need to be in the refrigerator and can stay good on the shelf for a long time. Buy canned foods and juices, rice, dried beans, granola bars, peanut butter, and dry cereal. Remember baby foods if needed. If you have pets, stock up on what they need too.
  • Foods your family likes when sick. These include things like soup, crackers, and fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Household supplies. Don't forget toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste, hand soap, and dish soap.
  • Medicines. Make sure prescriptions are filled and on hand. Get over-the-counter (nonprescription) fever reducers. Your doctor will advise you on how to use them.
  • A thermometer. Depending on your child's age, you might need a digital thermometer, temporal artery thermometer, or electronic ear (tympanic) thermometer.

You do not need to stock up on face masks. Experts say they're not needed to stay healthy. They are needed by sick patients and the health workers caring for them.

What Else Should I Know?

Now that most schools and childcare centers are closed, make plans to keep kids busy at home. Talk to your employer to make arrangements to work from home. Work with family members or neighbors on childcare plans. Planning in advance and working together in our communities can help cut down stress.

For more information about preparing for COVID-19, visit the Department of Homeland Security's website.

Reviewed by: Jonathan M. Miller, MD
Date Reviewed: 20-03-2020

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