How to Prepare for the Coronavirus

You probably can’t escape the news about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and maybe you’re concerned about it. As the virus is being confirmed in multiple places around the world, you may be wondering what will happen when it gets to your community. While a potential pandemic is scary, try to remember that if there are no confirmed cases in your area, you probably don’t have to worry about coronavirus at all. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that everyone takes simple, basic steps to prepare for the coronavirus so fewer people get sick. It is particularly important that you take responsibility for yourself and your health and do not pass it on to others. After all, you know yourself best and it’s about your health.

Prevent the virus from spreading

With soap and water.

It’s that simple, but washing your hands is the best way to protect yourself from getting sick. Wet your hands under warm running water, then apply a mild soap to your palms. Rub your hands together for 20 seconds, then rinse the soap off under warm running water. Alcohol-based disinfectants can also help prevent the virus. Use them in addition to washing your hands, but not as a substitute.

Respect social distancing by staying at home as much as possible.

The virus is much more likely to spread in groups and large gatherings of people. For this reason, you help others and yourself when you stay at home. Only leave the house if you can’t avoid it, otherwise enjoy your time at home. If you belong to the risk group and have a family member who goes to work at home, you have to be doubly careful and avoid contact with this person to protect yourself. Remember that young and healthy people can also be affected and spread the virus even if they don’t have symptoms. Find out what behavioral measures exist in the places where you are. There are many ways to enjoy life at home. Do fun things, play games, read a book, play in the yard, or watch a movie.

Keep a distance of at least 1.80 meters from the next person when you leave the house for shopping or for other reasons.

This is a precautionary measure in case someone is a carrier of the virus and is contagious. It is possible to spread the COVID-19 virus without showing any symptoms yourself, so keep your distance whenever possible.

Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Typically, like any other flu, you catch coronavirus infection by breathing in droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze, or by touching your face if you have droplets on your hands. Don’t touch your face unless you’ve just washed your hands. Otherwise, you can unintentionally introduce germs into your body. Use tissues to wipe your nose or cover your mouth when you cough, as your hands may get dirty.

Avoid shaking hands with other people, whether they look sick or not.

Unfortunately, people infected with the coronavirus can spread the disease even if they don’t show any symptoms. To be safe, do not shake hands until the threat of the coronavirus has passed. Instead, politely decline a handshake and explain that you’re trying to avoid the coronavirus. You could say, “Nice to see you, too. Normally I would shake your hand, but the CDC recommends avoiding shaking hands until the coronavirus threat has passed.”

Keep your distance from people who are coughing and sneezing.

While they probably don’t have the coronavirus, it’s best to be safe if you notice someone showing signs of a respiratory illness. Calmly and respectfully walk away from the coughing, sneezing person. When you speak to the person, be so kind as to apologize. You could say, “I just noticed that you’re coughing. I hope you feel better soon, but I’ll move a little further away so I don’t accidentally breathe in your germs.”

Tip: Although the coronavirus originated in China, it is not linked to Asian people. Unfortunately, people of Asian descent experience unsavory racial discrimination and aggressive behavior from others. The virus has spread around the world and anyone can catch or transmit it, so treat everyone with kindness and fairness.

Disinfect surfaces before touching them, both in public and at home.

The CDC recommends keeping your home, workplace, and public areas as clean as possible. Spray disinfectant on hard surfaces or wipe them with a sanitary towel. Spray soft surfaces with a suitable disinfectant spray whenever possible. For example, spray Lysol on countertops, railings, or doorknobs. Alternatively, use bleach-soaked wipes to clean these hard surfaces. Lysol also works on soft surfaces. If you prefer natural cleaning products, white vinegar can be a great option.

Wear a face mask when required.

When you’re sick, the mask catches the droplets from your coughs and sneezes so others can’t get infected. Don’t wear a mask if you have breathing problems. It has not yet been proven whether wearing masks is more helpful or more counterproductive.

Tip: Surgical masks that you can buy in stores do not offer any protection against the coronavirus COVID-19. Only well-fitting N95 masks offer protection against the virus and these are only available in limited numbers. It is important that N95 masks are reserved for medical staff treating patients with the coronavirus.

Stock up on your home for an emergency

Stock your pantry and freezer with food for two to four weeks.

You must stay home if you get sick or there is an outbreak of the coronavirus in your community. Going to the supermarket or ordering food will be impossible. Prepare now by purchasing additional non-perishable groceries and storing them in your pantry. Also, stock the freezer with perishable foods that you can thaw as needed. Buy additional canned foods like tuna and packaged goods that have a long shelf life. Collect frozen food, but also freeze meat, bread, and other perishable foods that can be thawed. If you drink milk, stock up on powdered milk for the pantry since you may not be able to go to the store for a while.

did you know If there is an outbreak of the coronavirus in your community, the CDC recommends that everyone stay home and avoid socializing with other people. This is called social distancing, which helps prevent the disease from spreading.

Buy extras like extra toilet paper, soap, and cleaning products.

You may need to stay home for several weeks if someone in your household becomes ill or there is an outbreak in your community. If this happens, buy household items that you use regularly so you don’t run out. If possible, buy supplies for a month so you are prepared. Here are some things you might want to buy: Tissues Dish soap Hand soap Paper towels Toilet paper Laundry detergent Cleaning supplies Sanitary napkins or tampons Toiletries Diapers Pet supplies

Tip: Make sure you have plenty of tissues in case you get sick. Using tissues when coughing, blowing your nose, or sneezing will help prevent the disease from spreading to others.

Get over-the-counter supplies used for a respiratory condition.

While there is no treatment for the virus itself, you can treat the common symptoms of a respiratory infection. Buy a packet each of laxatives, acetaminophen, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen in case you get sick. You could also buy cough drops or cough syrup to help control the cough. If you have a large household, you may want to purchase additional packets of medication in case more than one person becomes ill. Ask your doctor how many packets they recommend buying.

Make sure you have at least 30 days’ supply of any medication you take.

If you take medication every day, talk to your doctor and pharmacy to have more medication at home until the coronavirus threat passes. You may not get supplies if there is an outbreak in a community or if you become ill yourself. If possible, keep a 30-day supply on hand to be on the safe side. You may need to visit the pharmacy every week or two to partially replenish your supply. So you always have a supply ready for 30 days. Discuss your options with your doctor and pharmacy to find out what they recommend for your needs.

Prepare for school and workplace closures

Plan for childcare in case schools and daycares have to close.

When the coronavirus hits your community, schools and daycares are likely to close or start early layoffs. This can be really stressful if you are a working parent as you have to find care for your child. Find out childcare options. Try to make arrangements in advance so you’re prepared. For example, you could ask a relative to look after your children when schools and daycares close. Alternatively, you could ask your boss if you can work from home or take time off if this happens.

Talk to your boss about possible home office options.

While you don’t need to worry, you may not be able to go to work if there is an outbreak of the coronavirus in your community. Shops and other organizations may close to stop the virus from spreading further. To prepare yourself, ask your boss if you can work remotely in the event of an outbreak. Discuss the tasks you could perform, what responsibilities you have, and how many hours you can work. You could say, “I’ve seen the CDC recommend that working people stay home if there is an outbreak of the coronavirus here. If that happens, I hope I can work from home. Can we talk about that? ” Working from home is not an option for everyone. However, it’s good to be prepared for this alternative if you can complete some or all of your chores at home.

Research the charities in your area if your income is gone.

You may be really worried about how you’re going to support your family if you can’t work from home. Fortunately, there are organizations that can help. Local food banks can help you stock up on supplies, while nonprofits like the Red Cross or The Salvation Army could help with other financial needs. Make a list of places you can get help from in your community. Local faith organizations may also be able to offer help to those in need. Try not to worry. We are all going through this experience together and the community will likely come together to help those in need.

Stay informed and calm at the same time

Check the latest updates on the coronavirus just once a day.

The CDC and WHO release updates every day and staying informed is important so you can protect yourself. However, don’t let the fear of the coronavirus creep into your mind. Read the news only once a day instead of constantly looking for new information. You can catch WHO live updates here: Remember, you probably don’t have to worry about the virus at all, so it’s best that you just keep calm.

Tip: Because people are scared, misinformation spreads all over the internet. To avoid unnecessary panic, only get information from trusted sources. Also, verify everything you read by checking the CDC or WHO website if these are sources you trust.

Create a family plan for a coronavirus outbreak for peace of mind.

You may worry that your family will get sick. Also, you may have children who have questions about the virus. To make everyone feel prepared and in control, call a family reunion to discuss plans if the virus spreads. Here are some things you could discuss: Assure each family member that there will be enough food and other items. Tell your children that they are well taken care of. Discuss your ideas for spending time at home during an outbreak. Give each member of the family an emergency contact list. Designate a sick room in the house in case someone is sick.

Make healthy lifestyle choices to boost your immune system.

The coronavirus is not treated with drugs, so a strong immune system is your best defense. Fortunately, you can boost your immune system by leading a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your doctor to find out what they recommend for your specific needs. You could try this: Eat fresh fruit and vegetables with every meal. Exercise 30 minutes five days a week. Take multivitamin products when recommended by your doctor. Get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Relieve stress. Do not smoke. Find out whether a flu vaccination makes sense for you.

Call your doctor if you’re concerned that you have symptoms.

While you probably won’t get the coronavirus, it’s important to take the symptoms seriously. If you have symptoms such as fever, cough, and trouble breathing, contact your doctor to find out if you may have coronavirus. In the meantime, stay home to limit the spread of germs. Your doctor may test you for the coronavirus to confirm a possible diagnosis. Do not go to the clinic without first telling the staff that you think you have the coronavirus. They will likely keep you isolated from other patients in a single room. Alternatively, they may recommend that you stay at home or in your car. If you really do have the coronavirus, you can treat yourself at home. If your doctor thinks you’re at risk for complications, they may want to oversee your care.

Check travel warnings before you travel, but try not to worry.

You probably don’t have to worry about anything while traveling. Most regions are not affected by the coronavirus. However, it’s best to check travel warnings and updates from the WHO before you travel, just to be safe. If you’re concerned, you may be able to cancel your trip and get some or all of the money back. Check with the company you booked your trip with to see if there are any options.


Try not to panic. Facing a potential pandemic is scary, but you probably don’t need to worry. Treat everyone kindly. Don’t assume someone has the coronavirus because they’re Asian. Keep in mind that the virus has spread to many countries, so it affects different populations. Also, don’t assume that everyone who coughs has the coronavirus.


If you think you might be ill, don’t leave the house except to go to the doctor. You may be contagious and it is important to protect others.


About the Author

Daniel Carter

Daniel Carter is a senior writer and editor at CouponKirin. His work has been featured by The Associated Press, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, and Reuters. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. When he’s not writing about money, Carter enjoys traveling around the world.