How To Fight Coronavirus At Home

Last week, I broke down all the latest and most relevant information on Covid 19. This week I want to discuss how to handle this virus (or any virus) at home.

After I scheduled last week's blog, we went shopping for puppy food. It's normally busy at Costco where we get our puppy food, but today was different. It wasn't just busy, it was packed solid.

As we were going in, we saw people with carts full of bottled water and bleach. When we reached the entrance, a Costco employee was wiping down each cart. That was new.

While I was there I decided to stock up on some alcohol since I use it regularly for cleaning my granite counter tops and now for regular disinfection. They were out. My Costco is never out of stuff. It put me on the defensive that a common product had been snatched off the shelves and was now on back order.

Things were getting serious--and I live in a relatively outlying area. When I got home I scanned the headlines and learned that the first US case of Covid 19 had died. That had to be the reason for the panic run.

We're in good shape stock-wise. Since I don't live close to shopping I always keep a backup of stuff anyway. This got me to thinking about everyone else, people who are used to running down to the store whenever they needed something.

When a panic like this starts--and it makes no difference if it's Covid 19 or a natural disaster--panics are panics. People scramble to grab everything they can.

If you're not already prepared, here's my checklist in case of emergency.

If Covid 19 has been diagnosed in your immediate community, order online or shop for these items now. If you or your home has been placed under quarantine you're going to need to be self sufficient for at least 14 days.

For sanitation:
  • Alcohol 70% or higher
  • Bleach
  • Hydrogen Peroxide 4.25% or higher
  • Purell hand sanitizer
  • Soap
  • Toilet paper and tissues
  • Face masks: You'll be hard pressed to find the good ones anymore. Buy whatever you can find in case you are the one sick. You don't want to spread your germs. See my previous post about masks and disinfectants.
  • Safety glasses
  • Latex, nitrile or neoprene gloves
  • Fever Thermometer
  • Trash bags (Aside from its regular use, use it as clothing protector when caring for a sick person in your home.)
  • Make sure you have enough food for at least fourteen days, more if you think your area is prone to panic runs or your area is put under quarantine.
  • Buy comfort food. This includes sweets, or if you're diabetic, safe sweets.
  • Stock up on ready-to-eat meals like canned soups (or make your own). You'll want to have some comfort food that will be easy on the throat and stomach.
  • Juice, water, tea, and coffee
  • Baby food (if necessary)
  • Pet food (if necessary)
  • Honey and garlic
  • If you take medications, make sure all of your prescriptions have been refilled so you don't have to run out in the middle of an epidemic.
  • Stock up on cold and flu medicine. Covid 19 is a virus. All you can do is treat the symptoms. Like the common cold, there is no cure.
  • Throat lozenges
  • Humidifier
  • Aspirin, Ibuprofen
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Echinacea
  • Elderberry syrup or capsules (preventative for flu and colds)
Your immune system

Here's the thing about viruses. It won't fight fair, so while it might visit everyone in a room, it'll do the most harm to the elderly and those with weaker immune systems.
  • The best way to improve your immune system is to improve your health habits.
  • Get plenty of fresh air.
  • Exercise: Even a little walking will improve your cardiovascular system. Remember, Covid 19 attacks the lungs.
  • Vitamins: If you don't eat your vitamins with fresh fruit and vegetables, supplement them. Vitamins C, A, D3, and E are good for improving immunity.
If you're already infected
In a worst case scenario, I trust the CDC has already been in contact and is acting on your behalf.

If you only suspect infection with a virus (not necessarily Covid 19) it's time to amp your proactive measures.
  • Important:  Stay hydrated
  • Stay home from work. You'll just infect those who come in contact with you. Plus it'll lower your immunity even more.
  • Continue to take your vitamins, particularly Vitamins C and E.
  • Add Zinc and Selenium to your regimen
  • Take Turmeric
  • Eat more garlic in your food
  • Homemade chicken soup is a huge help for congestion.
  • Take hot showers.
  • Take a spoonful of honey for sore throat.
  • Sleep
Viruses are nasty buggers. They're bullies that gang up on the weak ones. All you can do is treat the symptoms.

Your Tribe
Aside from your family, your tribe can also include neighbors and friends.

Check on the elderly. Whether they're neighbors or your mom a thousand miles away, call, text, or physically check on the less mobile to make sure they're safe. If you suspect they're ill, make the call and get them examined.

If you are sick:
  • If you're the head cook and bottle washer and you fall victim, have enough supplies on hand so that whoever is taking care of you doesn't have to do anything other than clean or open a jar
  • Now is the time to make some freezer food like meatloaf, sausage and peppers, pizza, stews, and soups. If you're sick or too tired to cook after caring for others, pull out a pre-made  meal from the freezer.
  • Stay in bed (with the door closed) and stay hydrated. Do not prepare food for others while you're sick.
  • Stay away from family pets. Much as they are a comfort, you don't want to inadvertently pass the virus to their fur before they move on to the next family member.
  • One thing hubby mentioned to me is the central air and heat. Air is recirculated in most houses. We have an excellent filter on our systems, but it doesn't stop viruses. If possible don't run your whole house system if someone is sick.

    Depending on your central system, you can buy filters that trap viruses, but it'll need to be changed more often than your regular filter. Look for the model of the size you use that specifically says it's rated for viruses.

In the meantime, work hard to stay safe.
  • Wash your hands or disinfect every time you touch something in public use. This includes all buttons, menus, phones, toilet levers, door knobs, grocery carts--and even groceries. You don't know how many people touched those things before you.
  • Disinfect your home regularly, especially things that are touched often like remote controls, door knobs, light switches, counter tops, faucets, keyboards, mice, and all electronic equipment.
  • Avoid crowds, especially in confined spaces.
  • Avoid cruises and planes
  • Stay away from anyone who looks sick.
  • If you go out, disinfect your hands before you get back in the car.
  • Don't touch your mouth, nose, and eyes. 
Mental Health
Should you be forced into quarantine or you're just staying away from the crowds for a while, be prepared for finding ways to entertain yourself and your family. Boredom (especially when you're not sick) can be mind numbing, so if you're stuck at home, have a game plan for staying occupied.
  • Have some board games ready
  • Buy a deck of cards
  • Read, Write, Knit, or Garden
  • Finish that home project you've been putting off
  • Binge-watch your favorite shows.
  • If you have kids, use the downtime for teachable projects. Teach them to cook or clean properly. Give them jobs and responsibilities so they know they're part of the solution.
I was never prouder than when I found out my very young nieces jumped into action after their grandma had taken a fall. They got her off the floor, iced her injury, and checked her for cuts and swelling within minutes after her accident. Grandma was there taking care of them, but they ended up taking care of grandma.

Count on the kids and keep them informed. They're smarter than you know.

If your area has had few cases, or hasn't been hit with Covid 19 at all, it's up to each of us to stop the virus in its tracks. Giving it fewer chances to spread is a good way to start.

Don't overreact. Just be smart while you're out and about, and keep washing those hands.

Links I Like

Make your own hand sanitizer. Super easy.

Make your own bleach wipes.

When and How to Wash Your Hands.

What's it been like by you? I've gone out recently to three stores, and they were all completely out of hand sanitizer and wipes. People aren't taking chances either. No one gets near each other, and if someone coughs or sneezes, everyone looks up to see where it came from.


Anonymous said…
I am definitely the one giving those glances, ESPECIALLY when the person hasn’t covered their mouth! We’ve stocked up on things we normally use, including toilet paper because if we’re quarantined we will go through 2-3 times what we do normally with all of us being home. My work has also restricted us from traveling, attending events, and having meetings with more than 10 attendees.
Maria Zannini said…
Anonymous: I know! We all look like meerkats trying to figure out where the danger is. LOL!

We're in good shape ourselves. We bought the last of the 'luxury' foods yesterday and we plan to hunker down 2 weeks at a time. The CDC is asking seniors to stay away from crowds as much as possible. We don't need anything so we might as well stay home and work in the garden. Lots to do there.
Maria, I like your sane and balanced approach to this situation. If people would just calmly buy a few extra things on each normal shopping trip, rather than clear-the-shelves panic-buying, then everyone could get what they need. I have one more thing I need to pick up today--aluminum foil pans, for dropping off food to sick friends and neighbors if I am well.
Maria Zannini said…
Jean: What a great idea about aluminum pans. I love it.

Just recently I had to take my neighbor to the ER. Once she got back home, the first thing I did was bring her food. Sick people shouldn't and usually can't cook for themselves. Having some disposable pans makes life easier for everyone.
the author said…
Jean, that is a great idea. :)

So far things are remaining relatively calm here. Our markets have restocked most of the panic-bought items. Our neighbors are being sensible, and we're keeping an eye on the elderly ones who live alone. Our daughter's college has cancelled classes in favor of online alternatives. Because my guy and I are both in high-risk categories we are staying home unless we absolutely have to go out. Since my grandson's parents both work in the restaurant business we're a bit worried about them; his mom is a T1 diabetic.

Since I already work from home I'm one of the lucky ones. My guys and I have been focusing on extra projects around the house to keep busy, too, which I think helps with our mental well-being. This week we're going to shock the well, and then install a new water heater because the old one dates to 1997 and is starting to be temperamental.

Being prepared is important, but so is maintaining a healthy attitude. Yesterday I let all the bad news get to me; today I'm thinking about how I can be creative with meals and ways to make staying at home fun. Also started journaling again so I have a place to vent. :)

Mike Keyton said…
I hate board games.!
Mike Keyton said…
Seriously, great post, Maria. You might find this link useful, too. I hope it is accessible over there
Maria Zannini said…
Lynn: I try not to listen (or read) people who tend to bend things to a political angle. If they can't say something useful, I wish they'd just zip it.

I plan to get on my to-do list to stay busy. Time to get the garden started so there's plenty to do.
Maria Zannini said…
Mike: Thanks, Mike. Listening to it now.
Angela Brown said…
Panic-reaction struck the Central Texas area hard. A co-worker and I had already done a bit of shopping just to add to own respective homes and were glad for it since the next day and following, HEB, Wal-Mart, Dollar General, Family Dollar, even Buccee's ran out of disinfecting wipes, toilet paper, paper towels and bleach, and hand sanitizer.

I did a follow up shop for the non-essentials like toothpaste and mouthwash, both with other uses in a pinch, and found all the produce picked over.

My coworker went to the store yesterday to discover lines as the HEB's where they are limiting folks that can enter the building. They even did it at the liquor store where I went to grab a couple bottles of wine.

Just hoping we can all remember to treat each other has humans and get through this together.

Sending you and your loved ones a "Live long and prosper."
Maria Zannini said…
Angela: I'm shocked to hear that about Central Texas. I would've thought they'd be less affected than the Dallas area.

We've been pretty lucky north of Dallas. Shelves were empty but there was still plenty of fresh produce when I went there last. At our age and with our limitations we're staying put even if we have to go without some things. It's not worth getting infected.

We hope to live long, but that prosper part looks kind of dim. We've lost so much money there's a good chance we'll have to go back to work. :-(

Good luck, hon, and stay in touch.