By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
Many states are slowly beginning to reopen. However, for most people, quarantine, social distancing, and wearing masks in public are now part of our daily routines. There’s also the fact that if you get sick, whether that’s with Covid-19 or with something else not immediately life-threatening, you’ll more than likely be caring for yourself at home. I’ve compiled a list of self-care ideas, tips, tricks, and hacks to help ensure that you still get great in-home care.
Before we dive into how to build an emergency kit for the home, let’s talk about whether or not you need to go to the hospital. Isn’t Covid-19 life-threatening? Actually, it can be, but only if you’re particularly at risk, according to Johns Hopkins. So, when should you seek medical care? Only do so if you experience the following emergency warning signs:
Don’t have any of those symptoms? That’s great. It means you, like most of us, just need to focus on staying home, limiting contact with others, and practicing common sense. Oh, and we need to make sure that we’ve all got the right supplies.
Keeping your home clean and yourself and your family safe will require the right home cleaning and isolation supplies. Make sure you’ve got the following on hand:
If you find that you must leave home—grocery shopping, for instance—make sure to wear a mask at all times. Wear it properly, too. For instance, it should be worn over both the nose and the mouth. Leaving either uncovered makes the entire mask pointless.
If you wear gloves, and I recommend that you do, don’t toss them on the ground or leave them in your shopping cart for others to dispose of. Properly dispose of your gloves. Ideally, put them in a trash can outside of your home so you don’t have to carry them inside.
Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your vehicle. That way, you can open the door and sanitize your hands before touching anything else, like the steering wheel or the radio. Of course, you may not be able to find any hand sanitizer. In that case, you can make do-it-yourself sanitizer at home.
Practice good hygiene and hand-washing, even while at home. Use the nail brush to clean under your fingernails, as the virus can easily hide there.
While you will need to use medication to treat symptoms if you develop Covid-19, you must also be prepared for a host of other conditions. Seasonal allergies, the flu, the common cold—these are just a few of the threats that you’ll probably need to combat. My recommendation is to stock the following items in your medicine cabinet and replenish as needed:
When stocking your at-home care kit, consider your cough drops. Sugar-coated lozenges that don’t do much should be tossed. Go for medicated drops that soothe your throat and open up your airways.
Keep a decent stock of OTC cold medications, too. However, understand that a lot of these will raise your blood pressure. If you have hypertension, you’ll need a medication specifically developed not to increase your blood pressure.
The nasal spray will help soothe your nasal passages. Also, you might choose tissues with aloe in them. You can also alternate between acetaminophen and ibuprofen to handle fever and pain.
It’s tempting to stock up on all the essentials, particularly when grocery stores are experiencing shortages of some items. However, it’s better to go into this with a strategy that supports self-care while also helping ensure there is enough to go around. My recommendations for food and drink include the following:
Vitamin supplements can give your body the boost it needs to fight off invaders. Pay attention to quality, though, and buy from a reputable brand. Also, make sure you keep vitamin C supplements handy. You can go with a drink mix, but my recommendation is tablets since they don’t need water.
For electrolyte drinks, avoid sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade. While they do have the electrolytes you need when sick, they’re also packed with sugar. That’s never a good thing.
If you’re experiencing gastrointestinal problems, skip any beverages with artificial sweeteners. They can worsen your symptoms. You should also add in pectin-rich foods like bananas and apples. Other foods to keep around include avocados and nutrient-dense options that pack a punch.
Creating your Covid-19 kit doesn’t require all that much. A few specific self-care ideas will go a long way toward helping you stay well during the quarantine. Your kit should include medications, supplies like masks and gloves, cleaning supplies, food, and more.
Also, remember that others are trying to care for themselves and their loved ones, too. So, buy only what you need. Resist the urge to stockpile. We’re all in this together, after all.