With the coronavirus pandemic not seeming to go away anytime soon, it’s clear that we need to step up our protection game if we want ourselves and our loved ones to be safe. We can get vaccinated, invest more in high-quality face masks (given that we have new COVID-19 strains to worry about, limit our time in crowded places, wash our hands frequently, follow distancing rules and other preventive measures recommended by the CDC.
Unfortunately, even if we follow all these rules to the letter, there’s still a chance to contract the coronavirus, especially with the new strains spreading at a much higher rate than the original virus.
In view of this complicated and unpredictable situation, it’s smart to try to be prepared for whatever lies ahead. We’re not talking about stocking up on piles of toilet paper rolls, but we do recommend having enough supplies of the following items you’ll most definitely need if you test positive for COVID-19.
Your doctor’s phone number
It’s important to be able to reach your M.D. as fast as possible in case of an emergency. “Your doctor knows your medical history and can give you the best advice,” says family medicine physician Dr. Amit Mehta, medical director of community medicine for Geisinger in Centre County.
Testing positive for coronavirus is definitely in this category. Therefore, if you don’t already know your doctor’s number, call his office and ask the office’s nurse or physician’s assistant and ask for advice on who’s the best person to contact and how to contact them in case you or someone in your family comes down with coronavirus.
An extra refill on prescriptions
While you’re at it, also ask about any medications that you might need to restock within the next period of time. Depending on your Rx needs and the coronavirus positivity rate in your area, you might need an extra refill of those medications before the scheduled date for the next refill.
If you test positive for COVID-19 it will be difficult for you to get those medications, what with being in isolation and all.
The address of the closest testing facility
Since we’ve mentioned the positivity rate, the best way to know if you’re going to add to the numbers and really have coronavirus is to get a PCR test. You can search the online website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for a testing facility in your area.
If there’s nothing available near you, you can also opt for a private testing company, by typing “rapid coronavirus testing sites in my area” in your Google browser. Just know that a rapid test provided by a private company usually comes at a certain cost. Another fast method would be to buy an online testing kit from Costco or ICYMI, test yourself at home and send your saliva sample to a certified lab afterwards.
An abnormal temperature is one of the most obvious signs of an infection. Fever indicates that your immune system, specifically your white blood cells are responding to foreign invaders. it is also common in the symptomatic stage of COVID-19.
To know for sure if your temperature is within optimum parameters, it’s best to have a thermometer on hand. ‘Normal’ human body temperature is around 98.6 F, but it may vary depending on age, gender, medical condition. You can also use it to check on the internal temperature of other members of your household, but make sure you clean it properly in-between uses.
Another very common symptom of COVID-19 is dry cough. Therefore, if you come down with coronavirus, and even before this happens, experts suggest stocking up on cough drops. These can help you keep your mouth and throat moist and reduce the discomfort and pain caused by the virus.
According to Ryan Singerman, DO, PPG – Family Medicine, any store brand, sugar-free cough drops would do the trick.
According to EatingWell dietitians, one of the most efficient methods to alleviate your coronavirus symptoms is to eat soup. Because it’s hot and steamy, soup can relieve congestion and make you overcome the illness better.
But if you contract the virus, you will most likely not feel up to cooking and preparing any soup or broth while experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Therefore, it’s best that you are prepared ahead of time. So, start cooking up a big batch of soup, divide it into single servings and put them in the freezer for when necessity arises.
“Bland foods like broths good choices,” says Dr. Mehta. “But one of the best foods you can eat is chicken noodle soup, or a vegan noodle and broth soup. It’s nourishing, easy to make and easy to digest.”
When fighting viruses like the cold or COVID-19, hydration is very important. “If you’re at home treating COVID-19 symptoms, remember to stay hydrated,” reminds Dr. Mehta says. “Drink at least 64 to 70 ounces of water every day.” Tea can also help you stay hydrated, not to mention, it is a warm drink that can also reduce symptoms of congestion.
Tea eases your sore throat from coughing but is also keeps your airways open, helps you breathe easier and keeps you hydrated even if you don’t have to fight any virus. It’s just good for your health.
Disinfectant sprays and wipes
If you come down with COVID-19, you’ll have to isolate yourself from the rest of the family members for two weeks. Unfortunately, complete isolation is not always possible, not when you have to share a bathroom, for example. That’s why experts recommend disinfecting high-touch surfaces, as well as any other surfaces you or an infected member of your household might touch, as frequently as possible.
For this reason, you can use disinfected sprays and wipes, approved by the EPA. Clorox and Lysol wipes are known to be quite efficient against viruses and bacteria. However, you can find a wide variety of other disinfecting products online and have them delivered to you or buy them at your local store, provided you haven’t been tested positive for COVID-19 yet. You might find some useful products here: Coronavirus Pandemic Safety Kit: We Made the List for You (Updated!).
It’s no coincidence that “Wash your hands” turned into the mantra of the coronavirus epidemic. The virus can stick on your hands and spread onto other surfaces as you touch them. Not to mention one of the most common gestures people make (or used to make prior to the pandemic) is touching their faces with their hands. This allows the virus to enter your body through your mouth, nose or even eyes.
Need we say more about the importance of washing your hands? Water and soap are some of the most efficient weapons against the spread of the virus, even more effective than some hand sanitizers, believe it or not. All you have to do is wash your hands as thoroughly and as often as possible. Even more so if you’ve contracted COVID-19 and want to protect the other members of your family living with you.
You might also be interested in learning How to Keep Your Skin Healthy in case of excessive washing.