How to Prepare for the Coronavirus Pandemic - Supplies List & Survival Tips
Surviving the Coronovirus Pandemic
Do you want to be prepared for the coronavirus pandemic but aren't sure where to start?
This concise guide will cover all the essentials you need to have ready including:
- How to keep germs at bay
- A shopping list of foods to stock up on
- Medicines to have at home
- How to ensure you have clean water in the event of water system failure
- Tools you should have to hand
- Other must have pieces of survival kit
When I started researching prepping for a viral outbreak it didn't take me long to realize how expensive it could get. My budget wasn't going to stretch to costly breathing respirators and six months of food stocks so what I did was get right down to the basic requirements to survive for 1-2 months within a budget of around $200.
Now that may sound a lot, but the health and safety of you and your family are paramount. All of these items can be stored and used when needed. Food can be rotated into your everyday usage to make sure it gets eaten before the use by dates. 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.
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 Paper <----------- (Don't Forget This!)
Which Type of Mask to Buy for Protection Against Coronavirus?
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 will be a case of buying what you can at this point.
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 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 are 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. Stocks are running extremely low worldwide.
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.
I've had some difficulty finding children's masks, but if you have children then ideally you will want to buy masks that 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. 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 santizer 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 for just $20. It does exactly the same as more expensive brands but for half the price.
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, 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 degree wash to kill viruses. Add extra washing soda or disinfectant to your wash for extra germ killing power.
If you have to go out during a pandemic make sure you have a decontamination routine for when you return.
Keep a bucket containing water and disinfectant by your front door and put your clothes in it as soon as you return home.
Use disposable overshoes that can be thrown away when you return home.
Antibacterial spray can also be useful on clothing and soft furnishings.
Toilet Paper (Don't Forget This!)
One item you must remember to stock up on is toilet paper. Get as much as you can afford and have space to store. I like these Charmin Family Mega Rolls because they last a really long time.
2. Food Lists
A pandemic is likely to 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.
So stocking up on long life foods is one of the most essential parts of preparedness.
What Food to Buy?
When it comes to food stocks, my advice is to keep it simple. You can buy enough to feed a family of 4 for 6-8 weeks for around $100. 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.
Survival Food Essentials (2 Months Supply for 4 People)
20 kg Pasta
20 kg Rice
60 x Ramen Noodles
5 kg Garbanzos (Chickpeas)
5 kg Kidney Beans
5 kg Lentils
50 x Canned Fruits
50 x Canned Vegetables
50 x Canned Tomatoes
1 kg Beef or Chicken Base
1 kg Peanut Butter
4 L Cooking Oil
2 L Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 kg Salt
Canned Meat (Corned Beef)
Canned Fish (Sardines or Mackerel)
Long life Milk
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.
When buying rice, brown rice is more filling than white rice, contains a lot more nutrients and will provide sustained energy.
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 like vitamin C. (These nutrients can also be obtained by foraging plants and herbs in the wild if you're brave enough to go outside and you know what to pick).
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 may find yourself depleted of essential nutrients and feeling constantly hungry.
3. First Aid, Medicines & Home Remedies
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, zinc cream and hydrogen peroxide.
*Tylenol reduces fever but a fever is the body's way of killing germs in the body and ramping up immune function. Using tylonol or other antipyretics can hinder this process.
Other supplies I include in my healthcare kit are home remedies such as:
- Colloidal Silver
- Vitamins and Minerals (from natural sources where possible). VItamin D3, VItamin C, Zinc and Echinacea are all great for building immunity.
- Antibacterial Essential Oils (Oregano, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Thyme, Clove and Rosemary)
For instance, I buy Dr Dunner's Elderberry, Echinacea and Vitamic C Syrup rather than synthetic ascorbic acid which is found in many Vitamin C supplements.
And on top of your regular medicines and home remedies a good first aid kit is essential.
4. Pandemic Survival Kit
So your food, health and sanitation products are covered for the short term but what if the situation drags on for many months? You might find you need other items that would come under the heading of survival kit.
A good survival kit will be useful in a wide variety of scenarios. Some of the items in the list have been mentioned in other parts of this guide, but I will put them here as well so that you have the whole list altogether.
Essential Survival Kit
- Sharp Knife
- Small Axe (for cutting wood)
- Fire Kit or Fire Stick
- Emergency Thermal Blankets
- Rain Ponchos
- Flashlight (Get a wind up one or make sure you have plenty of batteries)
- Duct Tape
- First Aid Kit
Survival Kit Extras
Depending on your finances and how prepared you want to be, you might decide you want to go beyond the basics. Here are some helpful extras.
- Wind Up Radio
- Solar Charger
If you're new to prepping, rather than buy everything separately you might want to buy a ready to go survival kit. These are a handy starting point to add things to and they're also good to grab in a hurry. The one below is really good value too.
5. 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.
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.
6. Shelter & Keeping Warm
Normally providing for your shelter needs would be at the top of any survival list. In this guide I'm assuming that most people will be holed up in their homes which is why I have listed it as the 6th category rather than the 1st.
You will most likely have a roof over your head, and hopefully, you will also have utilities. But with any emergency it's important to be prepared for a variety of scenarios.
Utilities could be affected in a pandemic, leaving you without heat, light or hot water. There's also the possibility that you might want the option of leaving your home if there are security issues.
Back Up Heat Source
If you rely on electricity to heat your home having a back up heating source is a good idea. Something like a gas heater is good, but make sure you also buy a carbon monoxide alarm.
Long term, installing a wood burner is the best option if possible.
If you live in a house rather than an apartment, having seasoned wood available could be very useful for keeping warm and cooking on (but this will have to be burned outside if you don't have a fireplace).
Remember you will need some way to light a fire so consider getting a fire starter like this magnesium stick.
If a pandemic hits and it's winter time, being able to keep warm is essential. Thermals, jumpers, thick socks, gloves, hats and scarves can keep you warm even if you have no heating.
Emergency blankets are cheap and are a must have addition to your kit.
Shelter On the Move
Sometimes during a pandemic or crisis situation things get dangerous and you may decide the best thing to do is leave. In this case you might need the following.
- A Tarpaulin or Tent
- Sleeping Bags
- Emergency Blankets
- Fire Kit
- Camp Cooking Stove & Gas
7. 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 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 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.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Susana Smith