What To Buy As Fall And Winter Set In – 2020
When the pandemic hit in March, it was impossible to find disinfectant wipes, toilet paper, yeast for bread making, and even jigsaw puzzles. With the possible surge in COVID-19 cases in mind, experts, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, advise Americans to “hunker down to get through this Fall and Winter.”
Resist the urge to panic shop and stock up gradually on items you need in your daily life instead.
A two week supply of shelf-stable foods, medications, and other essential items will help give you a sense of control and safety. Make sure you have an ample supply of some of your comfort foods like chocolate. Consumer psychologists say that having a sense of normalcy and control in our daily lives will help you continue to feel safe and prepared.
Recommended pantry staples include:
- Dried beans, lentils, peas
- Protein bars, granola bars, or fruit bars
- Canned soups, fruit, and vegetables
- Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate
- Powdered drink mixes
- Nuts and dried fruits
- Beef jerky
- Instant soup mixes
- Baking essentials
- Dried Milk
- Evaporated or condensed milk
- Trail mix
- Comfort food (cookies, candy bars, chocolate)
- Oils (olive, vegetable, coconut)
- Pancake mix
- Holiday Meal items (cranberry sauce, wild rice, stuffing, etc.)
- Chicken, beef, and vegetable bouillon cubes
- Liquid seasonings (soy, vinegar, Sriracha, steak sauce, ketchup)
- Packaged foods (macaroni and cheese, instant mashed potatoes)
- Canned meats (tuna, chicken, spam, crab)
- Formula or baby food
- Pet Food
While it may be difficult to find Clorox or Lysol wipes, the EPA recently approved a cleaning favorite, Pinesol, as an effective cleaning agent for COVID-19. Pick up one cleaning/disinfecting item each time you shop and you won’t be contributing to the overall shortage if one happens. Look for the following:
- Hand soap and sanitizer
- Bleach or Pinesol
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Electrolyte fluids (Gatorade or Pedialyte)
- Plastic gloves
- Swiffer wet floor cloths
- Baby wipes
- Dishwasher and laundry soap (see our post on why using a dishwasher is better than handwashing here)
Home air purifiers can filter out airborne particles that could contain Covid-19. “ HEPA filters in particular can capture 99.97% of tiny airborne particles. AHEM (the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) has a database of vetted air cleaners.
In spite of popular belief, live house plants do not clean the air in your home. A study in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology debunked the myth by analyzing 12 studies on the subject over the past 30 years. The are stress relievers and beautiful to see, however.
Studies show that virus droplets fall to the ground faster in humid air. You don’t have to saturate your air for this to happen, but since most heated air in a home is dryer air, a humidifier will help reduce the amount of time droplets can be inhaled.
Be prepared to treat at home
A 2006 survey conducted by the CDC showed that almost half of health care workers admitted they would stay home during a pandemic, and 28% believed it would be acceptable to abandon their workplace during a pandemic to protect themselves and their families.
If 10% of health care professionals opt to stay home and another 10% fall ill themselves, a 20% reduction in the medical labor force would mean some patients could not see a doctor at all.
Medication could also be hard to get if the pandemic worsens, so experts advise you stock up on the following over-the-counter medicines:
- Pain relievers
- Allergy pills
- Cough and cold medicines
- Stomach and diarrhea treatments
- Vitamins (C and D are recommended for boosting your immune system)
You should also have a well-stocked first-aid kit and know how to administer emergency first aid like stopping traumatic bleeding and administering CPR.
Hospitals may be overcrowded and an ambulance may be unavailable, so you should be prepared to deal with these emergencies yourself.
The more the better, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You can still purchase an N95 respirator on Amazon here. If these become hard to get, cloth masks are still effective.
A June 2020 Lancet meta-analysis of 172 studies found that mask-wearing can significantly reduce virus transmission. Evidence also suggests you might get less sick if you contract the virus while wearing a mask. A July 2020 systematic review in the Journal of General Internal Medicine states that because cloth masks filter out most of the virus, wearers inhale a smaller viral load, which makes subsequent illness less severe or even leads to asymptomatic cases. You can read our post on mask cleaning recommendations here.
Designate a sick room
If someone in your household falls sick with the virus, the CDC recommends designating a room and bathroom used solely by the infected family member. Start thinking now of what space will work best, preferably one with a door that will close or can be sealed off with a shower curtain or other plastic barrier.
If a family member falls ill, all household members should wear a mask indoors. A May 2020 study published in BMJ Global Health looked at households in Beijing where one family member got sick with COVID-19. Families who wore masks indoors as a precaution before a household member showed infection symptoms reduced transmission by 79%.
To effectively seal off a room without a door, you will need the following:
- Shower curtain or plastic sheeting
- Duct tape or heavy-duty painter’s tape
If you do not have an extra bathroom, make sure you turn on an exhaust fan and not enter the bathroom for at least 30 minutes after the infected family member has used it. Wipe down all surfaces and spray Lysol spray if you have it. Wear your mask and plastic gloves at all times.
With careful preparation, a resurgence in the Covid-19 pandemic will be more easily managed and less stressful for you and your entire family.
Sources: makeit, cdc.org, Anna Shvets from Pexels, Pixabay, amazon.com