Sheltering in Place: Making a Supply Kit
By: Gabriela Murza, MS
Professional Practice Extension Assistant Professor, Health and Wellness
Utah State University Extension – Utah County
The current directive includes self-isolating for 14 days if diagnosed with or showing symptoms of COVID-19. If you find yourself or your family needing to shelter in place because of illness or directives, you need to be prepared for at least that amount of time.
If you must stay indoors, keep the items below on hand. Note that this virus is not affecting the water supply, power, or phone lines (as hurricanes and floods would do), thus organizations have modified these disaster preparedness suggestions for this particular situation. Visit these websites for additional information and resources: Department of Homeland Security, https://www.ready.gov/ and Centers for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov.
- Water: Make sure you have enough for at least 14 days. If you do not have access to potable water, FEMA suggests storing three gallons of water per person per day. This amount covers one gallon for drinking, one for washing dishes, and one for hygienic purposes (bathing, brushing teeth, washing face). This is unnecessary if you have potable water, but you may still want to have bottled water on hand. Recycle or throw out used water bottles so as not to spread germs.
- Food: Ensure you have enough food for at least 14 days. Since the virus does not affect power, get an assortment of perishable and non-perishable items, including fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains and dairy. Try to get a variety of items or foods that your family will eat. After all, if confined to your home for a week or more, you may tire of the same thing. Find meal preparation ideas on USU Extension’s website at https://extension.usu.edu/createbetterhealth/.
- First Aid Kit: Obtain a small first-aid kit to handle minor injuries. Include gauze, Band-Aids, sanitizer, sterile wipes, and a thermometer. Don’t underestimate the power of soap either! Before you need to visit a doctor, contact the office to understand the protocol for handling illness and emergencies. For example, some healthcare facilities have implemented a tele-health option to connect patients with doctors.
- Cleaning Supplies: To help prevent germs from spreading in your home, have sanitizing wipes available. You can even make your own sanitizing solution to use in a spray bottle by mixing 1 tablespoon of unscented bleach per gallon of water or 1 teaspoon per liter of water. Use the sanitizer on hard surfaces, including countertops, utensils, and appliances, but DO NOT spray on skin.
- Laundry detergent: If you are sick, wash linens and clothing in hot water using color-safe detergent at least once a week to prevent the spread of germs.
- Medications: Check your medicine cabinet to see if you’re running low on prescriptions and standard medications. If you need any necessary prescriptions, reach out to your doctor to request a supplemental supply while sheltering in place.