Adjusting to the Coronavirus.
Many subscribers have offered suggestions about preparations we can take to be ready to stay at home if the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rapidly spread in the U.S. We are not doctors or experts, but here are some precautions and provisioning ideas we like. They are not overly expensive and many of the items you might stockpile will be useful even if there is no health crisis.
Get up to date information on the virus.
Here is a description of the virus from an infectious disease doctor.
“This virus, like flu and many others, is probably spread by both droplets and fomites. Droplets are airborne particles emanating from infected individuals, mostly from coughs or sneezes, but possibly also from speaking. The radius of a cough or sneeze is about 6 feet. Fomites are the particles that are deposited on surfaces by infected persons. The virus likely persists on surfaces for a variable period of time and can be transferred from one person to another via that surface. An infected person touches a surface with contaminated hands, the virus persists and another person picks up the virus on her hands by contacting the surface, and then becomes infected by touching her own mouth or nose, transferring it to the respiratory tract. It can also spread by direct contact, e.g. handshakes.”
And here is the best advice we’ve gathered on how to stay healthy….
Don’t bring germs into your home.
- Avoid crowds if you have to go out.
- Try not to touch surfaces used by others – like the pen used to sign your name at the pharmacy and those elevator buttons. Use your elbows or backsides to open doors.
- Avoid sick people. Don’t worry about being polite, just smile and say that you are being extra careful this season.
- Leave shoes outside.
- Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20-30 seconds as soon as you enter. Use soap and water or a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. To make sure that you wash for a long time, sing happy birthday or the alphabet song – twice.
- Use a fingernail brush to aid hand washing, especially when you first come into the house. Fingernail Brush, five pieces. $7.59.
- Wipe down items coming into your home with disinfectant wipes with at least 60% alcohol.
- Wipe down your phone with antibacterial wipes when your bring it home.
- Face masks? I read that people who are sick should wear them to avoid spreading germs, but most experts do not suggest that healthy people wear them. They may not offer good protection and they might provide a false sense of security. NPR article on wearing masks.
Minimize possible exposure to any virus.
- A challenge of COVID-19 is that people can feel fine for up to two weeks before they get sick. They can transmit the virus in those two weeks. Keep your hands to yourself.
- It is estimated that most people touch their faces 23 times each hour. Don’t do it. Germs are transmitted from your hand to your face, and can get into your nose and eyes and infect you.
- Smile and send an air kiss or wave, don’t shake hands.
- Cough and sneeze into your crooked elbow like they do in kindergarten. This keeps germs from your hands.
- Wear a mask if you get sick to protect other people, and stay home.
- Wash your hands again before you prepare food or eat.
- Cut travel to a minimum and avoid crowds – especially inside.
- Avoid touching your face, nose or eyes.
- Use one-time gloves when you must touch public surfaces – like gasoline pumps and subway straps. Box of 100 gloves, $8.20.
Stock your pantry with cleaning products and clean surfaces in your home carefully.
- I read that experts think that most household cleansers — such as bleach wipes or alcohol — will kill the coronavirus. Even wiping down surfaces with soap and water should work. Cleaners with more than 60% alcohol may be the most effective.
- Disinfect doorknobs, switches, handles, computers, telephones, bedside tables, bathroom sinks, toilets, counters, toys and other surfaces that are commonly touched.
- Have a supply of staples like laundry detergent, toilet paper, Kleenex, cleanser, hand and dish soap so that you won’t have to go to the store.
Stock your medicine cabinet with essential medications.
- Make sure that you have a supply of your necessary prescription drugs.
- Have a fever reducer like aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Get whatever you would take for a cold or a cough – just in case.
- Some doctors suggest that Tamiflu might prevent coronavirus or reduce its impact. Ask your doctor if you should have a prescription to put some away, just in case you need it.
Boost your immune system.
- Stay hydrated.
- Minimize stress.
- Eat nutritious food and don’t overdo sugar.
Our pharmacist recommends this EZC Pak, Echinacea-Zinc-Vit C-Vit D. He describes it as ‘an herbal Z-Pack.’ Friends have used it in the past two weeks when they felt illness coming and it has stopped or reduced the ‘bug’. $21.99.
Keep your rooms humidified.
I have read that when your nose and sinuses are very dry, they develop small cracks which are more susceptible to germs than those in humid air.
Stock your kitchen so that you can avoid stores and crowds.
- Buy high energy, non-perishable foods like pasta, pasta sauce, chicken stock, oatmeal, nuts, dried fruit, canned tomatoes, granola, protein bars, nut butters and canned tuna.
- Stock up on dry grains like rice, faro, quinoa, and lentils.
- I like the nut milks and they have long expiration dates.
- ‘Sick day’ staples like crackers, chicken broth and hydrating drinks with electrolytes like Gatorade.
- Fill your fridge with eggs, fresh vegetables and fruit.
- Fill your freezer with protein. Bananas freeze well and you can freeze bread and some cheeses.
These ASE articles have information on immune health and best practices for health.