2020 has been a challenging year, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing physical, emotional, and financial stress for many. Regardless of whether you get sick, life during a pandemic is difficult from every angle.
Struggles right now may abound, but fortunately, there are plenty of practical steps that you and your family can take to stay safe and be prepared, even in the midst of a pandemic.
Everything You Need To Handle A Pandemic Well
This post serves as a primer for pandemic preparedness, your go-to guide to the supplies you need and habits to make for your family’s health and safety. We’ll cover some of the most essential resources that you need handy to respond to the impact of a pandemic on your life, as well as how to protect yourself and others by forming good habits.
The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Very Real
While some have continued to downplay the severity of the COVID 19 pandemic over the course of this year, it is a real threat that affects everyone, regardless of your perceived level of vulnerability to getting sick. It is often all too easy to dismiss an issue that does not seem to directly impact you or the people you love. However, in the case of COVID-19, the risks of carelessness are too big to ignore.
To respond to the severity of the pandemic, many areas have made certain practices mandatory to decrease the spread of the virus. The most notable of these practices are mask-wearing and social distancing. Wearing a high-quality mask can prevent the spread of respiratory droplets from the wearer as they talk, eat, cough, or sneeze. The primary cause of the virus’s spread is these respiratory droplets, and wearing a mask can help to prevent someone who is sick from spreading the virus to others.
In addition to mask-wearing, social distancing has been shown to have a positive effect on the impact of the virus. Social distancing is typically practiced by staying at least six feet apart from others when out in public and avoiding social gatherings in private when possible. In certain areas where the population is denser or where cases of COVID-19 are higher, social distancing practices may be more strictly enforced.
These practices and others like them are key components in the plan of action to work against the spread of the pandemic. But what can you and your family do to take part, and how can you stay prepared? Keep reading to find out.
Pandemic Preparedness Item 1: Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is one of the most important items to keep on standby in the midst of a pandemic. It can also help to reduce the number of germs on your hands at any time. Hand sanitizer is made with germ-killing alcohol, which works to kill sickness-causing germs on your hands in a high enough concentration.
Having a bottle of hand sanitizer handy that is small and portable enough to take with you anywhere is always extremely helpful, especially when you do not have access to soap and running water.
A good rule of thumb is to use hand sanitizer regularly when you are out in public, especially after coming into contact with a surface that is frequently touched by others. These surfaces include door handles, shopping carts, and sinks in public bathrooms, as well as any countertop, table, or other high-touch surface in a public area.
In most circumstances, the best method of getting your hands clean is using soap and water. However, when you need to go out for work, school, groceries, or other necessities, hand sanitizer acts as a great plan B when you can’t guarantee that you will have access to soap and water. Look for a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. Any less than this is not strong enough to be effective in killing the germs on your hands.
Pandemic Preparedness Item 2: Gloves
Protective gloves can be a huge help in many circumstances during a pandemic, especially when you know you may be coming into contact with lots of high-touch surfaces. Gloves can protect your hands from exposure to germs, all the while preventing the spread of germs from your hands to others’ hands and other surfaces.
Disposable protective gloves can be worn when going out in public to prevent the transmission of germs, providing you with extra peace of mind when you need to make necessary trips out and potentially come into contact with others. Because viruses can spread through contact with others and with germy surfaces, you can do your part to contribute to slowing the spread of sickness by wearing gloves when possible.
Pandemic Preparedness Item 3: N95-Style Masks
One of the easiest ways to get sick or spread sickness to someone else is through respiratory droplets. It may be a bit nasty to think about, but when you breathe and talk, and especially when you cough or sneeze, you are potentially spreading germs to those around you. These little droplets can pass to others and cause them to get sick. This also means that you can catch germs from others in the same way.
Masks can make a major difference in slowing down the spread of germs via respiratory droplets. Wearing a mask helps to prevent you from potentially spreading germs to others when you are near them or from them doing the same to you.
Some of the best masks available are N95-style respirators. These masks are extremely effective at blocking out bacteria and viruses. We included N95-style masks in our emergency preparedness kits to make sure that you have maximum protection from getting sick and can protect others as effectively as possible.
It is always extremely helpful to take good care of your masks, washing them when possible (unless they are disposable), ideally after each time they are worn. It is also best to avoid touching your mask while wearing it. If you do touch your mask, it is a good time to use hand sanitizer. Whenever you go out in public, put on a clean mask and carry hand sanitizer with you to protect yourself and others, and to prevent the spread of germs.
Practicing Social Distancing And Other Healthy Habits
Getting sick is an unavoidable part of life. Everyone ends up with a cold or the flu at one point or another. For most, the possibility of getting sick is not a thought that fills them with crippling levels of anxiety. However, in the midst of a pandemic, stress, and anxiety about getting sick can be at an all-time high for many people.
It is normal to feel overwhelmed when something stressful is going on, especially something that has a major impact on your life. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused plenty of stress and anxiety in multiple aspects of life, putting a financial and emotional strain on many people on top of the stressors of the virus itself. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to deal with the stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic.
Practicing social distancing and keeping up with your hygienic habits can help to keep COVID-19-related anxiety at bay. In addition, to prevent feeling lonely, one of the best practices to keep up is using technology to stay in touch with friends and family, even from far away. You can use Zoom or Facetime to have daily conversations with the people you love, staying connected even during a time when social distancing is necessary.
The pandemic does not need to rule your life or fill your mind with stress and anxiety. Working hard to keep yourself and others healthy helps you maintain your peace of mind. It can take time to adjust to the effects of the pandemic on your life, but the more effort you put into enriching your life and the lives of others in the ways you still can, the better you will feel.
Staying stocked up on emergency supplies is always worth the extra effort and investment, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Remember to keep hand sanitizer handy at all times, using it diligently whenever you cannot wash your hands with soap and water.
In addition, make sure to wear a mask whenever you go out in public to prevent the spread of germs to others or germs being passed to you. Whenever you are feeling worried about the pandemic, these habits can ease your anxiety and help you feel on top of things as much as possible.
If you have additional questions, send them our way!