DECATUR, Ga. - The coronavirus developments change daily. And the Centers for Disease Control says to prepare for a possible outbreak in our communities. But how do you do that?
Let's start with this: DON’T PANIC. But we do need to prep. Stock up, not because there is going to be a raid on food and water, but if you can shop now before it hits you don't have to go out and about in crowds any more than you need to.
Here's how to get started. The number one, easiest and most effective thing you can do to protect yourself from any virus, including the flu, is to wash your hands. Studies are clear that good, old-fashioned handwashing -- which means soapy scrubbing for 20 seconds - can cut down virus transmission as much as 50 percent. And, get a nice supply of hand sanitizer for backpacks, the car, and the office just in case you don't have access to soap and water.
Now, if coronavirus (COVID-19) comes close to home, you want to steer clear of congested public spaces. But again, don't panic. Public health officials say that 80 percent of those infected have mild symptoms, you know, like a cold. But you also don't want to spread that cold, so health departments across the country are recommending you get supply of staples from the grocery. No, nobody is afraid we will run out of food; you just don't want to unnecessarily get in line at the grocery or pharmacy if you don't have to.
Get as many as a two months' supply of staples if you have the room. Don’t waste money on food you won’t eat. Get staples like peanut butter and pasta. Think about what you can freeze like bread and sandwich meat. Frozen chicken breasts can do a lot - sandwiches, parmigiana, salads, even diced for tortillas.
In my all-purpose closet with the crafts and gift wrapping are snacks that no one can touch unless we are trying to stay closer to home for a while. Also, keep handy non-perishables like rice and other packaged foods that won't go bad.
But this - this is where you'll want to stock. Again, not to hoard, just stock up on fever reducers, things for stomach upset and decongestants. Just imagine the whole house is down with the flu. What would you need? And in that vein any of those electrolyte supplements that give regular water an extra healthy punch, well, have some on hand.
And here are three more ways to prep for any disruptions that the novel corona-virus.
PREP NOT PANIC
- Plan now for school or daycare closure. What will you do?
- Think you are coming down with a bug. Call your doctor. Don't go to the ER or doc office where you can infect others unless your doctor says come in.
- And need a few groceries but don't want to go out? Get them delivered. It's easy than ever.