The immediate reaction people have in case of an epidemic is the need for the most essential elements of survival- food, water, and shelter. It is highly crucial that you have food items, medical supplies, baby products, etc. along with some other items at home when you are restricted from wandering outside. However, emptying all the shelves at your local departmental store to stock 6-months worth grocery can be considered more as a panic-driven than a rational move. While you may not require all these items during the lockdown, your neighbors may struggle due to the lacking of pandemic supplies.
So, how do you determine you are following the right track while filling your pantry? Here are some helpful tips to get your hands on the right pandemic supplies without stressing and causing distress to others.
You might be also interested in: Guide to Survive Pandemic: Beat the Outbreak, Remain Safe!
Pandemic Supplies You Need to Store
There are certain items that you will require during almost every emergency situation. The idea is to restrict shopping to the most fundamental items only.
3 Weeks of Groceries
During a pandemic, people tend to buy more food items than necessary, and as a result, grocery stores run out of supplies faster, causing emptied shelves and lacking daily essentials. To minimize its impact, buy 3-weeks worth food items. Avoid filling your cart with snack items. Instead, focus on oats, pasta, rice, dried beans, etc., that can keep you full for a long time. You should also consider buying fresh produce for a week and save the canned, dried, and frozen items for later.
Pandemic Supplies: Cloth Masks
Technically, masks cannot protect you from tiny viral related infections. However, these may protect others from you in case you are carrying the virus unknowingly. Even if you have a seasonal fever, sneezing, or coughing related symptoms, wear a mask at all times when you are near people. The masks should be the ones approved by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). These are highly essential items during a pandemic. Therefore, buy a few pieces for each of your family members, except children under 2-years old who may have trouble breathing after wearing a mask inappropriately.
Pandemic Supplies: Soap, Handwash, Hand Sanitizer
Maintaining cleanliness is a good habit to have, but when it comes to a pandemic, you may emphasize frequent washes, showers, and change of clothes, especially you go outside more often. Depending on the members of your household, ensure that everyone uses hand sanitizer when there’s no soap and water available nearby. Keep soap at all the washbasins and bathrooms in your house and allot one sanitizer per person.
If you are used to bottled water, maybe it is a good time to turn to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Instead of piling up water bottles, you can simply buy a water purifier, which will be not only cost-effective but also a long-term solution for clean water.
When you are working from home, you may require those familiar kicks from coffee, boosting you with instant energy to perform better. In a pandemic, the nearest Starbucks or your favorite kiosk may not be the safest option to go to. Get your hands on a water kettle instead, and boil water faster for tea or coffee. You can also use it to heat water quickly to disinfect small objects.
Think ahead of which items you may require within a month. Whether it is toothpaste, razor, hair shampoo, or tampons that are running low, get them in the cart. Keep in mind that you do not want to visit the store in the next 3-4 weeks, and shop accordingly.
Baby and Pet Supplies
If you have small toddlers, you may store some baby supplies like formula, diaper, and anything else that requires buying on a regular basis. For pets, stock up dog, cat, or bird food only if you are running extremely low. Otherwise, remain considerate of other pet owners and move on to another aisle.
Check your medicine cabinet before heading out and list all the medicines you are short of. Buy at least 3-weeks medication. You can also go for some vitamin pills along with the prescribed ones.
First Aid Kit
Having a first aid kit in an accessible area of the house is extremely crucial during a pandemic. Try to assess the type of pandemic from reliable sources and fill up your first aid kit with the respective equipment. We recommend putting a thermometer, band-aid, a small pair of scissors, disinfectant, antiseptic wipes, disposable gloves, sterile gauge pad, and other items you find relevant.
Copies of Health Records
If you do not already have extra copies of your health records, print a few additional copies and store them in separate files for ease of access. Keep one near at hand and inform your family members and close ones about its location in case of an emergency. We would also recommend having some electronic versions for faster and more effective access regardless of time and place.
Pandemic Supplies You Need not Hoard
As mentioned in the previous section, you do not really need more pandemic supplies than necessary. Also, there are some specific items that do not require hoarding, such as:
Medical-Grade Face Masks
Medical grade face masks or protective equipment are crucial for professionals related to healthcare, public service, and those who cater to affected or potentially affected people. If you are more likely to spend time at the shelter of your home, a regular cloth mask will suffice you well. Avoid buying medical-grade protective gear for personal use, and in case you have some, consider donating them to the nearby healthcare facility.
Pandemic Supplies: Dehydrated Food Items
Dehydrated foods come in handy during camping, hiking, occasional trips, etc., but these are not the healthiest choice when you can have home-made meals instead. Frozen or dried meals are easier to prep and cook; however, they are expensive and packed with salt. If you are heavily dependant on these, keep in mind that daily consumption of dehydrated foods may raise your blood pressure and make you more vulnerable to a viral infection.
Toilet paper or paper towels may seem like the most important thing next to food and water when you are stuck at home. However, you may only require 12-packs of toilet paper rolls in a single month if you go absolutely nuts on a food unsuitable for your sensitive stomach. Buy around 3-4 extra than your monthly requirement and avoid hoarding it to get a year’s worth supply.
How to Shop for Pandemic Supplies during Pandemic
The idea of shopping from a store during a pandemic is anyone’s nightmare. Due to the amount of crowd and exposure, most people would probably prefer to avoid these places if they could. However, if you have a clear concept of which items you need and which you can ignore, for the time being, you can get the work done much quicker and without less hassle. Even if you found our above-mentioned do’s, and dont’s regarding pandemic supplies helpful, here are some more tips for you on how you can avail of these supplies with ease.
Create a List of Pandemic Supplies
Before you set out, check your pantry to get an idea of the items you already have at home. Then create a list worth 3-weeks essentials. Consult with your family members, revise a few times to ensure all the necessary items are added. Try to be conscious about the budget, and go for affordable alternatives if you can.
Wear Protective Gear
Wearing the highest-grade safety gear may not be possible for everyone; go for what you have in hand. Try to cover the whole body with layered clothes, wear a cloth face mask, disposable gloves, and glasses if you have any at home. Keep as minimal bare skin as possible.
Even when you are on the road or in the supermarket, keep at least 6 feet distance from others. Also, avoid groups with four or more people.
Disinfect Shopping Items
After you reach home, before removing gloves, clean the newly bought items with disinfectant wipes or sprays. Items that come inside disposable packaging may not require such extreme measurements. After putting them in the pantry or the refrigerator, remove your gloves and throw them out in the garbage bin.
Make sure to wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you can. If you do not have quick access to handwashes, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. You can also take a shower to ensure complete disinfection.
To conclude, keep in mind that storing is fine, hoarding is not. Do not buy anything that will last you for years, while another person cannot find necessary supplies due to your overstocking. Help others out when you can. Consider society’s welfare and shop accordingly, inspire others to do so as well. The best way you can store pandemic supplies is by maintaining cooperation so that regular supply streams will remain running for someone else in need. Feel free to subscribe to our newsletters and leave a comment below.