How to Prepare for a Pandemic

band performing in plastic bubbles GIF
We can still have fun and be safe! Plastic bubbles for everyone!

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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Rule of Thumb

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:

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.

Person wearing PPE
Just a regular day at home.

About the Authors

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.

Writer, editor, and professional joker with an environmental science background. Like most trivia nerds, she's an ardent admirer of Only Connect competitors, but more at home on the QI field.