A super fun thing about the human body is how fragile it is; a wide variety of teeny tiny things can bring us to our knees! There are so many ways we could experience an epidemic or pandemic that we can’t name all of the potential sources, especially since new diseases can emerge and/or transmit from animals to humans. The one thing we know for sure about future pandemics is that they will be contagious.
Your pandemic preparedness kit should pack a one-two punch to reduce your chances of infection. The first line of defense is hygiene and the second line of defense is isolation. It’s good to keep some supplies on hand that will allow you to kill bacteria and viruses, soothe common symptoms, and effectively isolate sick members of the family (or your entire family) as needed:
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- Disinfectant spray and wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Hand soap (not antibacterial soap, please and thank you)
- Paper towels
- HEPA air purifier for each room
- Ultra-filtration water system
- Steam inhaler or nebulizer
- Easy read thermometer
- Extra towels
- OTC pain killers/fever reducers, cold medicines, antibacterial creams
- Cooling facial spray
- Ice packs or cooling packs
- Bucket or emesis bags
- Disposable masks
- Face shields
- Nitrile gloves
- Disposable HazMat suits or paper gowns
- Gauze and bandages of all sizes
- Smoothies, Ensure, and Pedialyte
Antibacterial soaps can kill your good bacteria, habituate bad bacteria to antibiotics, and allow the survivors to build antibiotic resistance. For household use, regular old soap is the best choice. It will break the bonds and wash bacteria away without increasing your risk of a MRSA outbreak.
Avoid products with these ingredients: Triclosan, triclocarban, benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, and chloroxylenol. If your soap has a Drug Facts label on it, pick a different one.
It’s very possible that your family will need to isolate at home, just as we did during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortages due to panic buying and supply chain interruption are likely. To make sheltering at home easier, keep some staples on hand at all times:
- Extra toilet paper, bath products, trash bags, and paper towels
- A week’s supply of non-perishable food for your whole family (don’t forget the juice and
- Backups for your daily prescription medications, if possible
- Electric kettle (in case a boil order is issued)
- Activity books for kids
- Any other shelf-stable items you restock regularly to keep your family happy
Your material preparation for a pandemic is just the baseline. The more important preparation is understanding how diseases travel, determining trustworthy sources of information, and knowing how to implement the tools you have to reduce your chances of infection.