Stocking up on pain and fever relievers, prescription drugs, electrolytes and food are the most prudent ways to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic, health officials say.
People should not panic, but if the potentially deadly illness — which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) Wednesday — lands you in quarantine, it is well-advised to have a sensible supply of food, water and essentials.
“Store a two-week supply of water and food,” the US Department of Homeland Security’s emergencies and disaster prep site, ready.gov, advises, and “check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.”
The site also recommends topping up nonprescription drugs such as pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
In addition, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is encouraging people to identify household members who may be at greater risk for serious complications — such as the elderly or those with underlying health conditions — and pay particular care in monitoring them for symptoms of the infection.
Symptoms of coronavirus — fever, cough, runny nose — are similar to those of the common cold or the flu.
The health agency also recommends choosing a room in the home that can be used to separate household members who become sick from those who are healthy, in order to stop spread.
“Avoid sharing personal items like food and drinks. Provide your sick household member with clean disposable facemasks to wear at home, if available, to help prevent spreading COVID-19 to others. Clean the sick room and bathroom, as needed, to avoid unnecessary contact with the sick person,” the CDC advises.
In the meantime, health officials are continuing to urge people to stay at home if they are sick, work from home if possible, and keep up everyday preventative actions.
This includes always covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and sanitizing touched surfaces and objects daily using regular household detergent and water. If soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol can be used.