What’s Needed On Hand During COVID-19

There are a lot of uncertainties during COVID-19, especially around what extra supplies to keep on-hand. Here are some tips.

With a growing number of COVID-19 diagnoses, many Americans moving to work at home, and instructions to shelter in place, we find ourselves in an extraordinary situation that creates an environment of uncertainty.

Faced with uncertainty, it’s natural for us to want to prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best. It’s that dichotomy that has fueled much of the news over the past couple of weeks: photos of empty shelves at grocery stores juxtaposed against videos of neighbors singing to each other to lift spirits.

That environment also generates a lot of questions, particularly around what disaster or pandemic preparedness looks like and what you need to have on hand to weather the crisis. Here are a few things that you should stock up on and a few that you shouldn’t.

Should I have extra food and water?

According to Ready.gov, a resource from the Department of Homeland Security, you should store additional supplies of food and water, usually non-perishables like canned goods, pasta, dried beans and lentils and anything else that is guaranteed to have a long shelf-life. Medical experts are recommending 14 days of isolation if a patient shows symptoms of having contracted COVID-19 and is able to recover at home. Therefore individuals should have 14 days of food and water on-hand in order to avoid breaking isolation or minimizing contact with other people.

Should I have extra cleaning supplies?

As with flu season, prevention to fight germs is key, like washing your hands thoroughly and regularly. Additionally, individuals should clean frequently touched surfaces, which, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, and electronics. It’s always good to have extra cleaning supplies on hand to keep a regular cleaning routine, while potentially in self-isolation.

Should I have facemasks?

Recently, the CDC recommended the use of cloth face coverings in public settings to help slow the spread of the virus, not just if individuals are sick or caring for someone who is sick. All surgical masks, N-95 respirators or other personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves and goggles should be reserved for hospitals and their medical professionals who are treating the most serious COVID-19 cases.

Should I have extra prescription medications?

Individuals who rely on long-term medications should always take care to refill their medications on time so that they never miss a dose. Most refill policies allow patients to refill when they have 25-35 percent of their current medication on hand. This should result in having enough medication to make it through a 14-day period of self-isolation. Stockpiling when not necessary could cause medication shortages, in some cases. If a longer-term supply is needed, individuals can ask their doctor for a prescription for a 90-day supply of medication instead of a one-month supply.


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