How to Prepare Your Home for the Coronavirus

man washing hands with soap and water in a sink

The recent outbreak of the coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19, has many wondering what they can do to prepare for the virus to hit their community and, potentially, their household. Luckily, there are measures you can take to prepare your home to help prevent this new illness.

Stock Up on Essentials

The first way to prepare your home for the coronavirus is to stock up on essential items. These include functional necessities like paper towels, tissues, toilet paper, laundry detergent, cough medicine, and fever reducers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If you have young children, stock up on diapers, wipes, formula, and baby food.

Also have food such as chicken broth and crackers on hand, which are good to eat when sick. Stock up on non-perishable food—enough to last a couple weeks if the need arises.

Canned goods are a good option to rely on here, as you can find many with a long shelf life that are also packed with vitamins. Finally, stock up on drinks with electrolytes such as Gatorade or Pedialyte to consume if sickness strikes.

Also have any prescriptions you take regularly refilled so that you have a supply of them to last you at least a few weeks.

In most places, food shortages are not likely. What this preparation allows you to do is avoid going out in public if someone in your home gets sick, or if there is a large outbreak in your community. This will reduce the chance of you spreading your germs or acquiring germs from someone else.

various canned, jarred, and dried food goods

Have the Right Cleaning Supplies

COVID-19 spreads like the flu—through respiratory droplets. That means when someone coughs or sneezes, they can pass the germs to another person. The germ can also dwell on surfaces such as counters, door knobs, light switches, and so on. For that reason, it’s important to have the right cleaning supplies on hand.

Stock up on anti-bacterial wipes and sprays so you can frequently clean high-touch areas of your home. Also have soap readily available for frequent hand washing. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends washing hands often and vigorously for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom and prior to eating. Hand sanitizer that's at least 60 percent alcohol based is another helpful item to have on hand.

Know What You Don’t Need

While many Americans are rushing out to buy face masks in the wake of this outbreak, you don’t necessarily need to load up on them. Face masks are effective for people who have an illness to wear, as it helps to keep their germs from spreading. However, if you’re healthy, there’s no real reason to wear a mask—it won’t help keep germs out as well as you want.

Prepare for Isolation

If you or a loved one gets sick, be prepared for some self-imposed isolation to avoid spreading your germs. Set up the various rooms in your home to accommodate the need for isolation by stocking each with hand sanitizer, a garbage pail, tissues, medicine, water bottles, and other electrolyte packed beverages.

Staying away from others is the best way to contain your germs and prohibit the spread of illness when it strikes. You’ll even want to avoid petting your dog when you’re sick, as it’s possible to give the coronavirus to your pooch.

woman applying antiseptic gel onto her hand

Make Good Hand Hygiene a Habit

To reduce the chance of COVID-19 spreading by 30 to 50 percent, practice good hand hygiene. Just like when it comes to reducing the spread of the flu, washing your hands often and correctly is the most effective way to stop germs in their tracks. The CDC recommends washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap. Be sure to wash the top and bottom of your hands as well as in between fingers.

To guarantee that you’re washing your hands long enough, quickly sing the song “Happy Birthday” twice in your head—that equates to about 20 seconds. As soon as you or other family members walk in the door each day, wash hands, change clothes, and take shoes off to reduce the spread of germs.

While it’s a scary prospect to deal with this new and rapidly spreading virus, there are definitely measures you can take to ready yourself as well as your home.