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Right smack dab in the middle of a pandemic might seem like a strange time to prepare for one.

But bear with me here. Today I’m going to provide you with plenty of information that will help you deal with the current coronavirus. As well as pandemics we are almost certain to face in the future.

Before, during and after precautions and activities are crucial to surviving a pandemic. Leaving even one of them out of the mix can be costly.

Pandemics often limit our ability to move about freely. Including going to stores to purchase food and other items. Preparation is essential. But so is knowing what to do during and following the crisis.

Before a pandemic

Ideally, preparing in advance for a pandemic is better than scrambling around after a pandemic starts. But it’s never too late to prepare. Especially when we know the coronavirus is going to be around for a while.

Here are a few of the items you should stock up on as soon as possible:

  • Drinking water. Try to stockpile as much as you can, depending on how much room you have. Keep it in a cool, dark place such as a basement.
  • Survival food. There’s no perfect amount to store. But if you have none, start with three days’ worth. Then grow your supply to a week, a month, three months and longer.
  • Medications. Many of us rely on prescription meds. Tell your doctor you’re concerned about the future and you’d like to stay at least three months ahead on your prescriptions. Also, keep a good supply of over-the-counter medications handy. Such as cold medicines, pain relievers and vitamins.
  • Personal protective equipment. This means having plenty of soap, disinfecting wipes and facemasks available. Use the wipes to clean often-touched surfaces. Including doorknobs, light switches, cellphones, remotes, keyboards, etc. Keep other cleaning supplies in an easy-to-reach place.
  • First-aid kit. The last thing you want to do is run to the doctor every time you have a minor physical ailment. Build or purchase a fully-stocked first-aid kit. Including ointments, cold packs, bandages, tape, scissors, etc.

In addition, it would be a good idea to have a plan in place in case a member of your household gets sick. This would include having a designated room for that person, hopefully with an adjoining bathroom.

During a pandemic

In the throes of a pandemic, as we are now, it’s important to remain calm and be patient. Think logically and react appropriately.

Anxiety and panic will only make matters worse. Try to keep your thoughts positive. Don’t spend too much time engrossed in the news, which is dominated by negative information.

Here are some specific guidelines to follow. You’ve heard them before, but we can all use a refresher course.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds. Some people like to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while they’re doing this rather than counting the seconds. Do a thorough job each time, washing between your fingers, the backs of your hands and under your nails. Water temperature is not as important as the act of scrubbing. Use an alcohol-based sanitizing gel if no soap is available.
  • Limit your contact with people outside your home. Even if they appear to be healthy, they may be infected but aren’t displaying any symptoms yet. Don’t shake hands with them or hug them.
  • Stay away from people you know are sick. They should be in their own home, but that’s not always the case. If you have to be around people who are ill, try to keep your distance. Then wash your hands and clothes as soon as you return home.
  • Wear a mask covering your nose and mouth when out in public places.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes, especially before washing your hands. Germs spread very quickly this way.
  • When you cough or sneeze, use a tissue and dispose of it properly and quickly. Coughs and sneezes are two of the main ways viruses spread easily.
  • Get enough sleep to keep yourself strong. And drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, avoiding processed foods and too much sugar.
  • Don’t share food, drinks and personal items with others.
  • Get plenty of exercise. Aim for about 30 minutes per day when possible.
  • Avoid large gatherings. If you do have to be in a group of people, practice physical distancing of at least six feet.
  • Keep frequently-touched surfaces in your home clean and disinfected. Pay special attention to surfaces on which food is prepared.
  • If you feel sick, stay home. Resting at home is the best thing for you. And it’s certainly the best for other people who you might have otherwise come into contact with.

After a pandemic

This is the relatively “easy” part. But it’s also important. Once a pandemic has been declared over, it’s time to regroup and start preparing for the next one.

Continue to practice the good hygiene you engaged in during the pandemic. Such as frequent hand washing, covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and staying home when you’re sick.

Follow the guidelines your community has set regarding gathering in groups. Regardless of whether it’s at a place of business, school, theater, house of worship or community-based organization location.

Re-evaluate your family emergency plan. There were bound to be some things that worked well and others that didn’t, so adjust accordingly.

Discuss your community’s reaction to the pandemic with other community members. This would include lessons learned and ways to be better prepared in the future.

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