Chances are, we won’t have to deal with a pandemic. But wouldn’t it be better to be prepared if the worst happened? I sure think so! Here are a few basic tips for preparing for a pandemic that you can do today!
This post was originally written in 2014 when there was an outbreak of Ebola in Africa – this is not a current threat in the USA. We are republishing this with the news of the Coronavirus in hopes to help people prepare their families!
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard the recent news about an Ebola outbreak in Africa.
It’s made it’s way to the United States, and while there have only been a couple confirmed cases, it’s still a very scary thing.
I remember watching a movie about Ebola while I was in high school and being deeply disturbed. It’s definitely NOT something I want to mess with!
While I don’t believe in spreading fear, I do believe in being prepared. Sure, Ebola could be contained in a few months, and everyone worrying is something we can all laugh about later.
However, it could become a pandemic. And if it’s not Ebola, it could be something else.
So, I thought I’d share a few things we’ve been adding to our preparedness kits, just in case. I’m not a doctor, or a nurse, or even a prepper, but these are just a few simple things everyone can do.
Honestly, by the time a pandemic hits, your time to prepare is over. So make sure you are ready now in case a sickness starts to spread like wildfire through your community (or a Zombie Apocolypse. You know, both very likely to happen).
We do think it’s important to have yourself and family members prepared for any type of disaster before it happens – so make sure you check these other posts that might help you get a little more prepared:
- Preparedness Tips with Small Children
- 11 Ways to Help Prepare Your Family for Disaster
- The Best 72 Hour Kit List + Free Printable
- Dollar Tree 72 Hour Kit Idea List
Definition of a Pandemic
First off, for those in the back, let’s talk about what a pandemic even is.
Here is the definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
“An outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population.”
It can be easy to confuse this with an epidemic. According to VeryWell, an epidemic:
“Refers to a sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected.”
and a pandemic:
“refers to an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.”
Supplies to Have
Here are various supplies that you could buy to have in your home. Chances are, if there was an epidemic or pandemic, these types of items would be the first things to go!
Antibacterial cleaners – I won’t list all of them, but here are a few to consider picking up:
- Lysol Brand III Disinfectant Cleaner
- Lysol Professional Ready-to-use Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- Lysol Disinfectant Wipes
- Professional Lysol Disinfectant Multi-surface Foam Cleaner
We really like Force of Nature cleaner and disinfectant. You have to order it, but it’s one of the best cleaners we have purchased. This is pretty interesting!
“Force of Nature is a federal EPA registered disinfectant & sanitizer that kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria and is registered for use in hospitals, daycares and schools. It’s a broad spectrum disinfectant proven to kill Norovirus, Salmonella, Llisteria, STAPH, MRSA, Pseudomonas & Influenza A. Because Force of Nature has demonstrated effectiveness against Norovirus, a virus similar to 2019 Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), it can be used against 2019-nCoV when used in accordance with directions on hard, non-porous surfaces.”
You can get $15 off the starter kit with the code CLARKS.
Be Prepared for Home Treatment
Obviously, if you are in need of medical care, you should go to a doctor or hospital.
But if something reaches pandemic levels, there will definitely be a lot of people in the hospital without probably enough resources.
If you don’t have to be seen by a doctor or hospital, you will want to avoid one at all costs. So be prepared for home treatment – including for illnesses that aren’t even related to the pandemic.
Because trust me – the last thing you’ll want to do is go to a doctor’s office with really sick people.
This is an AWESOME podcast and blog post about what to have in your medicine cabinet at all times. Instead of reiterating it, go and check it out, and then stock up!
Have an Emergency Plan
What will you do if you have to be quarantined? If there’s an outbreak of something, can you easily work from home?
Make sure you have plans for everyone in your family – including care for your children if you became too sick to care for them.
Stay as Healthy as You Can
This is as simple as getting enough sleep, exercising, and staying away from sick people.
Keep your body in as healthy shape as possible, so if it did contract some kind of virus, it would have a better chance of fighting it off.
Just keep yourself as healthy as possible! It’s okay to tell sick people you don’t want them to be around – and if you are sick, do the kind thing and stay away from others.
Food and Water
I won’t go into too much detail on food storage and water storage, but this is so important to have in the off chance you can’t leave your home for a period of time.
Here is a post we wrote a while back about how to build your food storage that might be helpful.
If it seems like illness is spreading and you are part of a sensitive age group (children, adults, and immunocompromised), you could even consider signing up for a grocery delivery service so you could avoid germs as much as possible.
While I honestly don’t know how long, in worst-case scenario, people could be on lockdown for in case of a pandemic, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet to have at least a three month supply of water (with one gallon per person, per day) and a three month supply of food.
Water is obviously most important, but I would imagine if you are stuck in your house for an extended period of time, you will want to have a substantial amount of food!
If you have a baby who drinks formula, make sure you have that stocked up, too!
Believe me, it’s better to stock up now before there’s a huge demand, rather than trying to find food and water when you really need it.
Other Household Essentials
Stock up on any other types of essentials that you use on a regular basis in your home – such as toilet paper, diapers, and hygiene supplies.
Wash Your Hands
This is important just to prevent you from getting any kind of sickness! Being vigilant about washing your hands or using hand sanitizer before you touch your face or others is important, especially if there is a pandemic on the horizon.
Make sure your kiddos wash their hands regularly, too — especially if they are in school, daycare, etc. Kids touch everything.
Be wary of your surroundings and your health
This is important not only so you can keep from getting sick, but so you can avoid getting others sick. It’s important to be aware of what’s going on around you.
I read on some site that if Ebola was found within 100 miles of them, they would bunker out for a few months.
While that might seem a bit crazy…I actually think I might want to, too! While the media sensationalizes everything, and there’s usually a bit of bias in everything they say, be sure to follow the news for updates about what’s going on around you.
And for goodness sake, if you are sick – stay home! I always cringe a little bit when I see a newborn baby at church during flu season, because there are always sick people. Jack got RSV at two weeks old when we didn’t even leave the house and had very few people near him. Sit on that one for awhile!
Know Symptoms and How It’s Spread
If there’s a pandemic of some sort, it’s good to know what the early symptoms are. With most illnesses, the earlier it’s caught, the better it can be treated.
Not all illnesses are spread the same way. With Ebola, it was spread by bodily fluids. With the Coronavirus, it is spread by respiratory droplets.
Be aware of symptoms for illnesses that are spreading so you can seek treatment as soon as possible if you are getting them.
Hopefully some of these tips will help prepare for you for the unexpected. I hope that none of us will ever have to deal with something as terrible as a pandemic, but, as I’ve already said, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.