Here's Your Quick, To The Point, Coronavirus Prep List
It's reasonable to be worried about the spread of the coronavirus.
So, we put together a quick (and optional) shopping list in case you're feeling the urge to prep. Good news -- a lot of it's stuff that you probably already have in your home.
- Soap: Wash your hands! Wet them, scrub them for at least 20 seconds -- two rounds of the "Happy Birthday" song -- then rinse. Again, please wash your hands. Especially if you're sick. It's tough to overstate how essential basic hygiene is to preventing the spread of disease.
- Hand sanitizer: A good secondary option for cleaning your hands (if you can find it). Make sure it has at least 60% alcohol. If your hands are visibly dirty it's less effective. Here's the CDC's recommended hand sanitizing technique
- Cleaning products: For wiping down frequently-used hard surfaces. Bleach, alcohol and paper towels are good to have. Here's a list of EPA approved products effective against COVID-19.
- Tissues: Help us all out and cover your coughs and sneezes. Throw tissues away if they're dirty.
- Gloves: A good option if you're caring for someone who's sick. Also useful for cleaning.
- N95 Masks: I'm not sure you'll be able to find them, and don't buy them unless you're sick or caring for someone who's sick. They should be prioritized for health care workers, per the surgeon general. When they come back into stock, consider buying some for wildfire season.
- Acetaminophen and ibuprofen products: Always good to have on hand to help with fevers and associated aches. (Update 3-18-20: There's an ongoing debate about the use of ibuprofen to help counteract fevers associated with COVID-19. We've got more information about that in our no-panic guide. To read more, go to the section: SHOULD I NOT TAKE IBUPROFEN?)
- Toilet paper, food, water and critical medicine: If COVID-19 is spreading within your community and you're worried about going to the grocery store, it's a good idea to stock up on household supplies. I picked up some rice, beans and frozen produce, as well as extra toilet paper, water and medicine. Everything I mentioned is also essential for earthquake and wildfire prep, so I felt like I could justify the cost.
- Extra credit: Consider working on a household and community-based plan of action if the virus starts to spread through your area. And talk to your kids about what's going on. It's scary.
If you want to jump down the rabbithole, the CDC has a thorough breakdown for businesses, schools and individuals when it comes to prepping and responding to COVID-19.