Here’s What You Actually Need To Buy To Prepare For Coronavirus

Over the counter medications display in a store...

HELEN, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES – 2019/03/29: Over the counter medications display in a store. (Photo … [+] by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

LightRocket via Getty Images

Topline: Toilet paper and water bottles are flying off shelves as worried shoppers panic-buy supplies, preparing for a potential quarantine, working from home for an extended period or staying with children in the event schools close down—but Dr. Rodney Rohde, the chair of Texas State University’s Clinical Laboratory Science program, told Forbes people shouldn’t hoard more supplies than necessary because it deprives health workers and at-risk populations of necessities.

  • How much you need to buy depends on how at-risk you are of infection, with with older people and those with heart disease, lung problems or diabetes at high risk, according to the CDC.
  • Between two weeks and a month’s worth of prescription drugs. Some insurance companies limit how much medicine patients can get, but doctors can submit a waiver to extend prescriptions. 
  • Over-the-counter medicine to help with aches, pains and other flu-like symptoms, including pain-relievers and fever-reducers such as Tylenol and Advil.
  • Tissues, a working thermometer, nasal spray, electrolyte-rich fluids such as Gatorade or other products that help during a flu-like sickness.
  • Soap to wash hands for at least 20 seconds, which the CDC says is important for reducing the disease’s spread.
  • Enough toiletries and other household necessities to last two weeks, such as toothpaste, diapers, laundry detergent, pet food and cleaning supplies.
  • Vulnerable populations should have at least two weeks of non-perishable food, such as canned goods, frozen meals, granola bars, dried fruits and powdered milk—but Rohde said the general public shouldn’t worry about stocking up on that much food yet. 

Added Context: Rohde cautioned against consumers buying health supplies that are needed by frontline health workers, including face masks and gloves, and noted that items like sleeping bags, bottled water, batteries, and flashlights make for a great natural disaster emergency kit, plumbing and electricity typically aren’t impacted by disease.

Key background: Older people and those respiratory issues should be staying home as much as possible and be prepared to do so for a period time, the CDC recommends. While the agency does not specify how long at-risk people should expect to stay home, quarantines last 14 days at minimum. At the same time, large companies are encouraging employees to work from home for the rest of the month, indicating that large swaths of people will be spending more time at home.

News peg: More than 600 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the U.S. and 22 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins. Public health experts expect the number of cases to rise as more testing becomes widely available.

Continue reading at Forbes