Coronavirus Resources

How to Prepare for a Pandemic

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On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the novel coronavirus is now recognized as a pandemic.

Until this point, it was considered an epidemic, or an increase in the number of cases of a particular disease, which is above what would be expected in that particular area and population. A pandemic is an epidemic that has spread worldwide, affecting a large number of people.

Since coronavirus has been classified as a pandemic, there are a few things that you can do to prepare. First, remain calm. Preparing (not panicking) is a way to ease your mind knowing that you have what you and your family need to help protect yourselves.

First, Develop a Family Plan for Coronavirus Pandemic

Talk to your immediate family members about your family plan for the pandemic, especially during a quarantine period. Discuss who will check in with one another and the plan for young or older family members, or those with special health care needs. Talk through how you will gather your supplies and help care for each another, too.

Household Preparation for Coronavirus Pandemic

Here is your list of what you can do to better prepare your household for coronavirus pandemic.

Stock Up on a Two-Week Supply of Food and Water

It’s a good measure to prepare for two weeks’ worth of food and water to cover every member of your household, and any additional family members who may come stay with you. For infants, prepare with enough infant formula and any other supplies. Think about your pets’ needs, too. Be sure to have plenty of food and water for them as well.

Inventory Your Prescription Medications

If you are taking any prescription medications on a regular basis, check your stock and refills. If you think you may be running low on any of them, call your doctor’s office or pharmacy to ensure you have enough to get you through at least a couple of weeks.

Have Enough Nonprescription Drugs and Health Supplies

Have enough over-the-counter home remedies on hand for everyone in your household. Have functioning thermometers for children and adults as well as a stethoscope.

Some items to gather include pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes (like sports drinks) and vitamins. If you have children in your home, prepare with age-appropriate over-the-counter medications, and call your child’s pediatrician or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns.

Have Copies of Your Health Records

If you do become ill, it will be important for your medical team to have quick access to your medical records, especially if you have chronic medical conditions. It can be helpful to have a copy of your medical records (and others’ in your home) as a precaution. You can get printed copies or maintain up-to-date electronic versions if available.

Your Prevention Supplies Shopping List

You’ll want to be well stocked with several prevention supplies that can help you maintain healthy hand hygiene, as well as help reduce the spread of illness to your family members and community.

Here’s the quick shopping list:

Antibacterial Soap

Frequent hand-washing is one of the best things you can do to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.

Pay particular attention to washing your hands in these cases:

  • After you blow your nose, sneeze or cough
  • After using the restroom
  • Before you eat
  • If your hands are visibly dirty

If you need a quick refresher on how to wash your hands most effectively, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed these useful hand-washing instructions and resources.

Hand Sanitizer

Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when you don’t have immediate access to soap and water. Keep hand sanitizer with you at work, in your car and in other convenient places where you can use it throughout your day.


If you have a cough or need to sneeze, cover your mouth and nose and then wash your hands. Carry around tissues if needed to cover your sneeze and cough and dispose of them in a garbage can immediately. Wash your hands afterward, too.

If you don’t have tissues available, you can cough or sneeze into the crease of your arm near your elbow. This will help prevent droplets that may contain coronavirus (or other illnesses) from entering the air around you.

Disinfecting Wipes

Plan for enough supplies to frequently clean and disinfect the surfaces in your home, especially frequently touched ones like doorknobs, handles, restrooms and countertops. If visibly soiled, wipe clean with soap and water first, then follow up with a disinfectant.

Here to See You Through This

As your partner in whole health, it’s our goal to help you feel empowered to protect your and your loved one’s health throughout coronavirus pandemic. Stay up to date with the latest information by visiting our Coronavirus Resource Hub.

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