How to Prepare for Coronavirus: What You Need—and What You Don’t
The latest recommendations on the essentials you should stock up on and important steps to take now—besides washing your hands—to stay safe.
Photo credit: Alexander Raths/Shutterstock.com
Mar 16, 2020 • 3 min read
The new coronavirus (known technically as SARS-CoV-2) has swept the globe in just three months, affecting nearly every continent. As of March 16 in the U.S. alone, there are currently 4,600 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 85 deaths attributed to the outbreak, and the numbers seem to increase every day. While you may not have panicked about the virus at first, it’s not unreasonable to feel jittery now—especially if you have an underlying health condition, like heart disease, diabetes, or asthma, which puts you at higher risk for complications. It’s important to stay informed, but no, you don’t need to stock your pantry with a year’s worth of rice and canned soup.
Here’s how you and your family can be best prepared during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Stock Up, But Don’t Go Overboard
As the outbreak spreads, you’ll want to practice social distancing and stay home more often than not, even if there’s no mandated order from the government. This is especially true for anyone who is at higher risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19, such elderly individuals, those who are immunocompromised, or anyone with an underlying health issue like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or lung disease. But that doesn’t mean you need to make a run for all the toilet paper at the supermarket.
In case you or someone close to you gets sick and your family has to self-quarantine for a couple of weeks, yes, you’ll want to have a few extra rolls as well as a container or two of disinfectant and alcohol-based hand sanitizer stocked at home. But more importantly, check with your doctor now to see if you can get refills of your prescriptions ahead of time. You can also fill medications through Blink Health and have them shipped to your door for free, saving you the trip to the pharmacy. You also may be able to switch your fill to a 90-day supply. Call us at 1 (844) 312-5905 for any assistance with your prescription delivery needs.
What you don’t need? Masks, unless you are sick and have to go out in public (say, to the doctor’s office) or are caring for someone with a suspected COVID-19 infection. Healthy individuals shouldn’t wear face masks, according to the CDC, as it creates a shortage for health care workers who really need them.
For more specific guidelines, follow these pandemic measures from the Department of Homeland Security: Make sure to have a two-week supply of food and water. Periodically check your prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home, plus adequate (and non-expired) over-the-counter medicines, such as pain relievers or fluids with electrolytes, that you may need to feel better. For high-risk individuals, it’s also a good idea to get a physical copy of your health records.
Don’t Fall for Fake News
We’ve seen a surge in false claims and fake remedies circulating on social media. Know that no drugs or vaccines have been approved to treat coronavirus, and any hope of one being ready for public use is still at least a year away. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued warnings to seven companies advertising fraudulent products or drugs that claimed to treat or cure coronavirus.
Practice Good Hygiene
This can’t be stressed enough, as it’s the most effective way to prevent person-to-person spread of the virus: Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, cover your mouth with a tissue or elbow when you sneeze or cough, stay home if you're sick, and keep a distance of at least six feet from others who are sick. Routinely wipe down frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, desks, light switches, faucet handles, and mobile phones, with disinfectant cleaner.
While the rising coronavirus stats are scary, healthy individuals who practice these measures will continue to stay at low risk.
This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
Blink Health is not insurance. The discount prescription drug provider is Blink Health Administration, LLC, 1407 Broadway, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10012, (844) 366–2211, www.blinkhealth.com
Here’s what you need to know about the scary, headline-making virus—and why you shouldn’t rush out to buy a face mask.
Betty Wong Ortiz
Here’s what to consider before making the switch—and when it makes more sense to stick with your local pharmacy.
The CDC reports that an unusual strain of the influenza B virus is hitting children and teens particularly hard. Protect your family with these smart steps.