Tips, Tricks & Items You'll Want for Your Household During the Coronavirus Pandemic
As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, finding time to take stock of everything from your kitchen cabinets to your mental health can be difficult, but, amid everything, it's essential that you do so.
If you're practicing social distancing — or even self-quarantining and self-isolating — there are some must-haves you'll want on hand while dealing with the new coronavirus outbreak. With this in mind, we've rounded up tips, tricks and items that will help you feel a little less stressed, a little more informed — and a lot more prepared.
Make a Game Plan & Put Your Community’s Health Above Your Desire for Fun
In addition to reviewing any sick-time policies or healthcare benefits that may pertain to you and your family, it’s great to channel your inner Leslie Knope and craft a game plan that works for your circumstances. As is the case with the novel coronavirus, public institutions — such as schools — may shutter for a few weeks, so it’s important to look into alternative forms of childcare.
An At-Home Workspace That Feels Separate
While actually lying down and getting some rest is highly recommended if you’re ill, some folks have jobs that allow them the flexibility of working from home, which can be a great solution when it comes to avoiding a germ-filled office. However, many remote workers find it difficult to separate work from their personal life — after all, they’re literally taking their work home.
An Electric Kettle
If you’re living alone (or up at odd hours), one of the worst parts of being sick is actually making the items you need to feel better. When your energy is at its lowest, even making a cup of tea can seem oh-so-draining. And, of course, a watched pot — er, tea kettle — never boils.
Evaluate Your Sick Leave & Insurance Policies
As COVID-19 concern continues to grow, we recommend looking into your healthcare options ahead of time. Brush up on your employer’s paid sick leave and sick-time policies. If your job affords you the opportunity to work from home, you should do so, especially amid the shelter-in-place mandates many local governments are enacting.
According to an Insider Data survey from early March 2020 that interviewed 1,051 adults in the U.S., 22% of people surveyed said they began stockpiling food in preparation for potential self-quarantines. However, you don’t need a basement or a bunker to be sufficiently prepared. If you’ve been exposed to a COVID-19 carrier, you must self-quarantine for 14 days — meaning you just need enough goods to last you two weeks.
Electrolyte Supplements, in Moderation
While sports drinks like Gatorade are often touted as being a great way to combat dehydration and replace electrolytes, Texas A&M professor John D. Bowman, MS Pharm, disagrees. "The basic deficiency in [these] beverages... for illness-related dehydration is that there is too much sugar," Bowman told Vital Record, "and not enough salt (sodium) or potassium."
Don’t Share Personal Items
This may seem like a no-brainer, but we’re all guilty of sharing every-day items like beverages, ChapStick and hand towels with friends and family. Now would also be a great time to remind your kids that while "sharing is caring," they should avoid doing so during the pandemic.
When it comes to being down and out, fluids are a great way to combat the dehydration fever causes. Plus, water is great for flushing toxins out of your system. The only problem? Keeping track of your intake while you’re down for the count.
A Space Heater
Drafty bedroom? No problem. The Hot + Cool Jet Focus AM09 Fan Heater from Dyson has your back. In the winter, this little beauty will heat your whole room in a matter of minutes. In the summer, the noiseless machine will keep you cool.
It’s always a good idea to have some disposable gloves on hand. If someone in your household is under the weather, products like the MedPride Powder-Free Nitrile Exam Gloves allow you to clean items they’ve used, worry-free.
A “Sick Room”
This one might seem a tad archaic, at least in name. However, if you’re fortunate enough to have a little extra space at home, designating one bedroom as the "sick room" can be a beneficial practice.
Standard surgical masks don’t do much when it comes to combating viruses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) masks "help stop droplets from being spread by the person wearing them… They are not designed to protect against breathing in the very small particle aerosols that may contain viruses."
First Aid Kit
Having a first aid kit on hand is always a good practice. While each bundle of supplies varies a bit from kit to kit, the All-Purpose First Aid Kit by First Aid Only is a great option.
Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, stores started selling out of cleaning and sanitation products left and right. Like other viruses, COVID-19 is spread through droplets. If a carrier coughs or sneezes, virus-containing particles can travel through the air, up to three feet in distance. (Though experts recommend keeping six feet between yourself and others.)
A Low-Maintenance Plant or Two
Greenery can do wonders for your mental health, as can the smell of fresh-cut flowers. While flora may seem like a frivolous pandemic purchase, we believe it’s important to make your home as comfortable as possible. Sometimes, a little mind over matter goes a long way.
Avoid Large Gatherings
If anything, the COVID-19 outbreak has shone a light on just how quickly viruses can spread, especially new strains with no pre-existing protections. After international incidents in China and Italy proved close contact was spreading the novel coronavirus at a rapid rate, cities across the U.S., from San Francisco to Boston, took action.
A Hot Water Bottle
Sure, a hot water bottle may seem like something from the past, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This tried-and-true method for relieving aches, pains and sore muscles can also come in handy if you’re dealing with COVID-19 symptoms.
If you’ve ever seen Nia Vardalos’ 2002 classic My Big Fat Greek Wedding, then you know that Windex is more than just a cleaning spray — it’s the stuff of miracles. On a serious note, having cleaning products handy during the pandemic can help you maintain a sterile, germ-free home.
Hand Sanitizer & Wipes
If you haven’t already stocked up on hand sanitizer, you may be hard-pressed to find it on shelves. Ohio-based Gojo Industries, the makers of Purell, told Today that they have "dramatically increased production" in response to growing concerns over the new coronavirus.
Water Bottle with a Straw
If a hydration bladder isn’t quite your speed, a water bottle can be a great way to keep track of how often you’re hydrating. The virus can leave you feeling rundown and dehydrated — so much so that even the thought of sitting up in bed feels daunting.
If you’re feeling well enough to drag yourself from the bed to the couch for a quick change of scenery, a heated blanket can help make the journey (and destination) more bearable. As expected, the Sunbeam Heated Blanket is cozy, and it also comes with great extra features.
As we’ve established, there’s no better way to hydrate than clear liquids, namely water and broth, but sometimes you need a little something extra. Although it may seem silly at first glance, having Ozera’s Popsicle Molds on hand is a game-changer.
Games, Games & More Games
While you and your household are practicing social distancing, it’s important to take care of your mental health as well. To stop your family from going stir crazy, break up all those Netflix marathons with some good ol’ fashioned fun.
Being cooped up inside can lead to a lot of sore throats and dry noses, especially during this last stretch of pre-spring cold. To combat this, try using a humidifier, especially one like the BAYKA Cool Mist Humidifier, which, as the name implies, produces a calming mist.
If you’re prone to motion sickness or travel sickness, you may already be well aware of the wonders of ginger. If you aren’t, it’s time to get acquainted. Ginger is known for settling the stomach, and while it may not completely prevent nausea, it can at least help you feel well enough to keep some liquids down and plain food down.
A Sleep Mask & Earplugs
Day or night, COVID-19 discriminate. At a moment’s notice, you might just find yourself itching for some shut-eye. Unfortunately, sometimes all the black-out curtains and soothing candles in the world can’t quite get you to Snoozeville.
Try the B.R.A.T. Diet
No, the B.R.A.T. diet has nothing to do with making the perfect supper for picky children. It actually refers to a doctor-approved diet that’s perfect for those battling flu and other upset stomach-related illnesses.
A Pressure Cooker
Just like making tea, fixing yourself something to eat when you’re sick can be a real burden. If you’re coming down with something, you simply won’t have the energy, or patience, to stand upright in your kitchen for long periods of time. That’s why everyone should have a pressure cooker in their kitchen cupboard.
Like investing in plants, stocking up on candles during the pandemic may be far from your mind. However, just like that greenery, a relaxing scent can do wonders for your mental health and help you feel more well-rested.
Take a Break from the News & Reach Out to Your Doctor (Not WebMD)
Nothing can send someone into a panic spiral faster than WebMD, which, for all its benefits, can cause us all to self-diagnose a little too much. If the COVID-19 outbreak has taught us anything, it’s that it is best to remain cautious and vigilant — yet calm. A panic doesn’t help anyone and can take a serious toll on your health.