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As moms and moms-to-be we want to be prepared as we possibly can for the coronavirus pandemic but the question is where to start?
This concise guide covers all the essentials to get stocked up on in the event you and your family are quarantined at home for two weeks or more.
- Infection Control Items
- Baby Goods
- Food Store List
- Medicines, Vitamins & Home Remedies
- Other Items
- How to ensure you have clean water
- Other Considerations
When I started researching what I’d need to survive a viral outbreak it didn’t take me long to realize how expensive it could get. My funds weren’t going to stretch to costly breathing respirators and six months worth of food stocks.
So what I did was work out the basic requirements for three of us to survive a 1-2 month quarantine within a budget of around $200 – $300.
Your budget may be smaller and that’s fine.
Just focus your purchases on food staples, sanitation products and toilet tissue. Whatever you buy won’t be wasted because all of these items can be stored and used at a later date if you don’t end up needing them now.
Food can be rotated into your everyday usage to make sure it gets eaten before the use by dates, cleaning products will be used. Nothing will be going to waste.
1. Infection Control
First things first. In the event of a pandemic keeping yourself and your family free from infection is the top priority. Ideally you want to protect yourselves by staying at home and having as little contact with other people as possible.
On top of that, the following items are must haves.
Infection Control Items
- Face Masks
- Eye Protection/Goggles
- Hand Soap
- Single Use Tissues
- Antibacterial Hand Gel
- Antibacterial Wipes
- Disposable Gloves
- Toilet Tissue <———– (Don’t Forget This!)
There are many types of masks at many different price points so knowing which to buy can get quite confusing, plus there are big issues around availability. It may be a case of buying what you can at this point.
These are the types of mask in order of how protective they are.
Full or Half Mask Respirator
Disposable Medical Masks
Disposable Dust Masks
A full or half face respirator mask is the most effective protection against viruses, can be reused, and they can be bought for as little as $25. I have a half face mask like this one as a back up to my disposable masks.
After that, the best ones to buy are N95 or N99 respirator masks.
BUT they are increasingly hard to find at the moment. And if you can find them, they can be incredibly expensive.
These types of masks benefit from a tight fit over the mouth and nose and can provide some decent protection from viruses. The N99 have smaller breathing holes than the N95 making them a better choice, but they’re more expensive.
At the time of writing a 10 pack of disposable N99 masks will cost over $100 and a reusable one around $50 with filters.
N95 masks are around half the cost, but worldwide stocks are very low. If you decide to buy on Amazon, make sure to check where the product is sold from (ideally the US and not China) and how long the company has been selling. There are a lot of people starting to sell masks for exorbitant prices and they often say that they are shipping from within the US when they aren’t.
Personally, I have a pack of 20 x N95 masks that I bought some weeks ago. Check your local hardwear stores as Amazon and ebay are almost sold out.
Another popular choice due to their convenience and low cost are disposable medical grade masks. If you can get a few boxes of medical face masks then do so as soon as you can.
Disposable dusk masks are the cheapest option and they are still relatively easy to find. They will do the important job of stopping you touching your mouth and nose and transferring infection but they may not offer the best protection.
Fortunately children seem to be the least affected by the coronavirus (SARS CoV-2) but it’s still a good idea to protect them and prevent them from infecting others who may not be able to cope so well with the disease.
You can buy children’s face masks which is a good idea because they are smaller sized to fit snugly over their mouths and noses.
Viruses are so tiny they can easily enter your body through the eye and it is known that the Coronavirus can enter this way. Swimming goggles or wrap around glasses will provide good protection if you have to go out during a quarantine. Also, avoid rubbing or touching your eyes unless you know your hands are clean.
Your hands are the most likely areas of your body to get contaminated so keeping them as clean as you can is imperative. Wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 30 seconds when you enter your home, before and after cooking and before and after using the toilet.
If you’re out wear disposable gloves and take a hand sanitizer with you as well.
Hand sanitizer is a must have in my book. Purell brand is good but a bit on the expensive side, so I bought a six pack of Amazon’s own brand hand sanitizer.. It does exactly the same as more expensive brands but for half the price.
*EDIT* If you are unable to find hand sanitizer it’s very easy to make your own. Buy rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel. Mix 3 parts aloe gel with one part rubbing alcohol and that’s it. If you want to you can add a few drops of tea tree essential oil.
I recommend getting a few boxes of disposable gloves as part of your pandemic survival kit as well. Disposable gloves are good value and will help you keep your hands clean when out and about. Just make sure you don’t touch your face with them and dispose of them just before you enter your home.
Disinfecting Your Home
Germs and viruses are easily carried into the home on clothing and shoes. The coronovirus could potentially live up to 5 days on surfaces, so home hygiene is incredibly important.
Use bleach, rubbing alcohol or disinfectant at least once a day on the areas that people touch frequently such as door handles, doors, light switches, mobile phones, window handles and surfaces.
I use disinfectant wipes to give surfaces such as door handles a quick clean when I get home. These own brand disinfectant wipes from Amazon are cheap and do the job just fine.
As was previously mentioned, viruses are often brought into the home on clothing.
Wash your clothes on at least a 60 Celsius degree wash to kill viruses. Add extra washing soda or disinfectant to your wash for extra germ killing power (not bleach).
When you do your preparedness shopping (which I suggest you do TODAY or at the very earliest opportunity) make sure you add laundry detergent to your list.
If you have to go out during a pandemic make sure you have a decontamination routine for when you return.
Have a set of clothes and coat that you only use for outside wear.
Get changed into home clothing outside of the home if at all possible e.g. in a garage or backyard.
Keep a bucket containing water and disinfectant by your front door to disinfect the soles of your shoes, or use disposable overshoes that can be thrown away when you return home.
Antibacterial spray can also be useful on clothing and soft furnishings.
Toilet Tissue (Don’t Forget This!)
One item you must remember to stock up on is toilet paper. Get as much as you have space to store. I bought 50 extra rolls on top of my normal 24 rolls. I like these Charmin Family Mega Rolls because they’re soft and last a really long time.
2. Stock Up on Baby Goods
You are going to need enough of the things your baby needs on a day-to-day basis to last at a very minimum of 2 weeks in case you are quarantined. If you have the money I would suggest stocking up for 4-6 weeks or even longer if you can.
3. Food Lists
A pandemic will go on for a more than a few weeks, which means you will not want to go out shopping and potentially infect yourself even if food is available from the supermarkets. There could also be food shortages later down the line if transportation and supply chains are affected.
Not just that, you and your family could be quarantined, so stocking up on long life foods is one of the most essential parts of being prepared.
What Food to Buy?
When it comes to food stocks, my advice is to keep it simple. Buy things you like to eat, but also think about how long items will last (use by dates), your budget (i4-8 weeks food can cost A LOT if you aren’t careful) and how much storage space you have.
You can buy enough to feed a family of 4 for 6-8 weeks for around $100 if you stock up on staples and minimize the amount of processed food you buy. The following list is separated into essential foods and extras. If you have the funds, the extras will make your food more interesting and just generally more pleasant to eat.
Avoid the Panic Buyers
You can take your chances with the people panic buying in the supermarkets and stores, or you can save yourself a lot of stress and buy online.
I bought nearly all of my preps from Amazon just for convenience but I’m sure you have your favorite online stores where you can buy what you need.
Survival Food Essentials (2 Months Supply for 4 People)
20 kg Pasta
20 kg Rice
40 x Ramen Noodles
Mac n Cheese
Large Bag Oatmeal
5 kg Garbanzos (Chickpeas)
5 kg Kidney Beans
5 kg Lentils
40 x Canned Fruits
40 x Canned Vegetables
30 x Canned Tomatoes
1 kg Beef or Chicken Base
1 kg Peanut Butter
2 L Cooking Oil
Long life Milk
Canned Meat (Corned Beef, Ham, Spam)
Canned Fish (Tuna, Sardines or Mackerel)
Jams, Jelly & Preserves
Long Life Juices
Large bags of rice and pasta are cheap, last a long time and will provide your carbohydrates for energy. Ramen are another prepper staple. I like these Maruchan Chicken Ramen Noodles. They’re cheap and tasty.
Beans (legumes) are another good value food and will provide proteins as well as a lot of essential nutrients.
Canned fruits and veggies will provide essential vitamins and minerals.
Our bodies can make most of the fats we need, but others such as DHA need to be taken in through our diet. Extra virgin olive oil, canned sardines and coconut milk can provide these.
Salt is another essential requirement for our bodies to function properly. It also helps bland food taste better which is an important consideration.
My essential food list contains all the nutrition you will need, but if you decide to create your own list it’s really important to think about the nutrition contained within the foods you’re buying (macros and the vitamin and mineral content) and the calorie density. Otherwise you could find yourself depleted of essential nutrients and feeling constantly hungry.
4. First Aid, Medicines & Home Remedies
IMPORTANT: If you’re currently pregnant or taking any medication please check with your healthcare provider about medicines, vitamins and remedies that are safe for you to use.
There are a few considerations when it comes to medicines and first aid preparations.
Firstly, in a pandemic situation it’s really important if you take regular medication to try to build up a stock so that you don’t have to make trips to the pharmacy.
Secondly, remember to buy extra over the counter medicines such as *Tylenol, an expectorant cough medicine, anti-diarrhea tablets, anti-histamine, antiseptic cream and hydrogen peroxide just in case you become unwell with something other than coronavirus.
*Tylenol reduces fever but a fever is the body’s way of killing bacteria and viruses in the body and ramping up immune function. Using Tylenol or other antipyretics can hinder this process.
On top of your regular medicines and home remedies a good first aid kit is essential as is a thermometer if you don’t have one already.
Other supplies I include in my healthcare kit are home remedies such as:
- Colloidal Silver (this stuff is amazing for so many ailments)
- Antibacterial and Antiviral Essential Oils (Oregano, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Thyme, Clove and Rosemary)
- Electrolyte Powder or Tablets
- Vitamins and Minerals – VItamin D3, VItamin C, Zinc and Echinacea are all great for building immunity.
One of my favorites is Dr Dunner’s Elderberry, Echinacea and Vitamic C Syrup which contains the natural form of Vitamin C.
For Vitamin D3, which is by far the most important vitamin to make sure you’re topped up with, it’s best to take around 5,000 iu per day and ideally alongside vitamin K2. This is the one I buy.
This study, reported in The Harvard Gazzette, “confirmed that vitamin D supplementation can help protect against acute respiratory infections.”
5. Other Shopping
Aside from food, baby goods and cleaning products there are a few other things that you’ll need to be stocked up on. Some have already been mentioned but I will list them again here.
Games and Children’s Activities
Washing Up Liquid
Other Household Cleaning Products
6. Clean Drinking Water
In the initial stages of a pandemic water should run as normal and will be less of a concern. The problem arises if the situation goes on a long time and workers become sick. At that point the army will step in to run essential services, but it’s always reassuring to know how you are going to get clean drinking water if you need to.
Most of us don’t have natural, clean water sources available to us, such as a spring or well and neither do we have fancy rainwater collection systems in place so it’s good to have a back up plan or two.
The first is to stock up on bottled water. Around 50-100 liters is enough to keep you going for a little while. But it won’t last long so another solution will be needed.
Fortunately there are a few cheap and effective items that solve the clean drinking water problem. There are a number of straw like water filters on the market but my favorite is the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System. It’s good value at around $30-$40 and is good for a massive 100,000 liters of water.
The other filter I have is the Life Straw. It’s a bit cheaper than the Sawyer, but it only filters 4,000 liters of water. Definitely useful, but it ‘s worth spending a little extra for the extra capacity.
These devices will allow you to safely drink water from streams, lakes, and even puddles, without having to worry about bacteria, parasites and viruses.
As an additional backup, (or if the Sawyer is not within your budget), I recommend having water purification tablets in your stash as well.
The other main things to ensure you have to meet your water needs are some kind of water containers. Buckets with lids are the most economical, or you can go for 5 gallon water containers. 4-10 will be enough.
The WaterBOB bathtub water storage container is another handy item. It enables you to store 100 gallons of water in your bathtub.
7. Other Considerations – Waste, Fuel and Cash
What to do with your waste in the event that your toilet doesn’t flush is something to think about. A decent size bucket or two will be needed. If you have a garden you might need to dig a compost toilet.
Lastly, when preparing for the coronavirus pandemic make sure you have a full tank of petrol and cash with you. In the rare but possible event of the electricity grid failing, cash cards and ATM’s will not work and neither will petrol pumps. You don’t want to be caught short and limit your choices because of a lack of forethought.
However the spread of the coronavirus pans out please do what you can now to prepare and above all, stay calm. As a mom or mom-to-be your babies will need you.