Even if you own your dream home, you run a high risk of cabin fever if you need to self-quarantine for two weeks. A good way to think about prepping for that possibility, said former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, is “if you had to be quarantined for 14 days at home,” how would you cope?
The most important part—and this goes for everyone, not just if you end up stuck at home: keep your anxiety in check. Assess whatever extreme fears you might have about COVID-19: Is everyone going to die? No, they aren’t. Will the world spiral out of control? No, it won’t.
To support your own mental and emotional health:
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep.
- Make time to unwind, and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories about COVID-19. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do some other activities you enjoy to return to your normal life.
- Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships.
- Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking.
Make a Plan
We know that COVID-19 is prevalent in western Washington, so now’s the time to prepare. If you become symptomatic, having a plan at least takes the uncertainty out of your next steps. As part of those preparations, you should:
- Make copies of all your health records and keep them in an accessible location.
- If you’re able to do so, prepare to work from home. Set up a home office, assemble whatever supplies you’ll need, and communicate with your employer about how to access systems, files, and other necessities remotely.
- Arrange for childcare if schools or daycares close. Can someone in your family work from home and care for children simultaneously?
- Investigate options for food/meal delivery and other essentials if it becomes unsafe for you to leave your home to run errands.
- Designate a room in your house as a quarantine room. If someone in your family gets sick, you’ll want to be able to isolate them as much as possible to minimize transmission to the rest of your household.
- Share your plan with everyone in your household, as well as with neighbors, friends, and nearby family members.
Food and Water
It’s always a good idea do have a supply of nonperishable food available. How much, though, depends on who you ask. The CDC recommends at least a three-day supply for general emergency preparedness, while the U.S. Department of Homeland Security advises a two-week supply. Harvard University increases that recommendation to a two-week to thirty-day supply of emergency provisions. If you have access to a food/meal delivery service, you can get away with a smaller stockpile, but otherwise, we’d recommend squirreling at least away enough food that you and your family won’t have to break a two-week self-quarantine in order to resupply.
Water service will almost certainly continue, but for general emergency preparedness, the CDC recommends having at least three gallons of water per person or pet in your household. In a crisis, your hot water heater can act as a large reservoir of clean water.
You should keep a three-month supply of all important medications on hand, especially medications for diabetes and high blood pressure. The biggest concern regarding medicine is disruption to the supply chain. If an entire drug manufacturing region gets quarantined for a month and is unable to produce medication, that could create a global shortage.
Stock up on basic over-the-counter flu remedies, as well. If you’re trapped inside with COVID-19, you might feel awful for a few days. You’ll want pain relievers and other medication to alleviate the symptoms.
Don’t forget about pets! Make sure you have enough pet food, treats, kitty litter, medicine, and other necessary pet supplies on hand, too.
It’s a good idea to equip your home with extra toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and other consumables, as well. You don’t need to buy all the disinfectants right now (looking at you, last week’s panic-shoppers), but slowly stocking up makes sense in quantities that don’t deplete the available stock for everyone else. You’ll use all these items at some point anyway, so the only downside of having a surplus is the loss of storage space.
Is your household taking other precautions? Please share your suggestions on our Facebook page so others can learn from them. We’re in this together.