5 Things Parents Should Do to Prepare for Coronavirus

Does your family have an emergency plan? Do these 5 things now to be prepared for coronavirus.

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COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus, has been dominating the news in recent days. Just this week, the Centers for Disease Control warned Americans that while the risk of coronavirus in the US is still low, people should be taking precautions against the possibility of major disruptions to every day life.

It's scary stuff. And when I get scared, I do what I do best: make a plan and get organized.

But first, we need to remember not to panic.

Preparing for a possible spread of coronavirus is very similar to how we prepare for any other type of emergency event.  In a previous career, I worked extensively on making disaster preparedness plans for communities and educating people on making plans of their own.

Now as a mom, I'm putting that experience to work as we prepare for the possibility of a coronavirus emergency. And I have a preparedness plan that you can follow too.

What Parents Should Do to Prepare for Coronavirus

First things first. I am not a doctor and I can't give you advice on how to know if you are infected and what to do if you think you or your family may have been exposed. Please contact a medical professional if you are concerned, and look to reputable sources like the CDC for updates specific to the coronavirus.

What I can do is give you common sense, panic-free ways to prepare for the possibility of disruptions to your daily life in the wake of the predictions on coronavirus. This is advice that is applicable to many types of emergency situations and being prepared is always a good idea.

1. Wash Your Hands

It's one of the simplest yet most effective things that you can do to protect your family from germs, including coronavirus. Make sure that you spend time with your kids discussing the importance of hand washing with soap and water. Ensure that every bathroom in your home is equipped with soap in easy reach of kids. You may want to invest in disposable hand towels in each bath as well.

Make it a habit to wash your hands as soon as you come home, after every trip to the bathroom, when you sneeze or cough, and before meals.

You should also keep hand sanitizer in your purse and car for those times when soap and water are not available.

2. Teach (and Practice) Healthy Habits

Be sure that your family knows how to prevent germs from spreading by covering coughs/sneezes with a tissue when possible, or to do a "vampire cough" into your elbow if you do not have a tissue handy.  Encourage kids to avoid touching their eyes, noses, and mouths as much as possible, and to do their best to avoid those who are actively coughing or sneezing.

Help kids learn about healthy habits with these fun kids' books about germs.

Make sure that you also have a regular cleaning routine, and that you are cleaning high risk spots in your home like bathrooms, doorknobs, and light switches regularly with disinfecting household cleaners.

We try to avoid chemical disinfectants in our home so I was super excited to discover the Force of Nature cleaning system. It is an EPA registered disinfectant that uses the science of electrolyzed water to create a safe, effective cleaner that you can use around kids and pets.

And, because Force of Nature has demonstrated effectiveness against Norovirus, a virus similar to 2019 Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on hard, nonporous surfaces, it can be used against 2019-n-CoV when used in accordance with directions on hard, nonporous surfaces. Click here to read more about how it works.

It's amazing and costs a lot less than buying different products for different uses.

Click here to get 50% off and get free shipping on a Force of Nature starter kit with the code SOCOOL50.

3. Stock Up Your Medicine Cabinet

You don't need to run to the pharmacy and hoard every possible medication. However, you should make sure that your bathroom cabinets are organized and that you have a 2-week supply of medicines and first aid products.

Need help? Click here for my free printable bathroom cabinet label and inventory set.

You'll want to have basic medicines like ibuprofen, cough medicine and pain relievers. You should also be sure that you have a good thermometer, cool packs for fevers and tissues. 

Be sure to have a 2-week supply of any recurrent prescription medication as well.

4. Make a Child Care Plan

If your child's school closed due to an illness outbreak, what would you do? This is the time to work out an emergency child care plan. Network with relatives and friends to determine who would be available to help care for your children in the event of a school closure. If you're able, offer to talk with your close friends and relatives to assist in their child care needs.

You also want to consider speaking with your employer about telework options, and confirm your company's leave policies before you need to use them.

Is school already closed? Click here to get my free printable schedule for kids at home during a shutdown.

5. Stock Your Pantry

As is always recommended when there is a potential weather emergency, this is a good time to make sure that you have food and basic supplies for approximately 2 weeks. Stock up on non-perishables like pasta, canned goods, peanut butter, and snack items. 

You can also buy meat in bulk, break it into meal size servings, and freeze. Or to make life really easy, order a bundle of pre-portioned frozen meats from Perdue Farms. I picked up their organic chicken bundle recently because it is a steal for almost 70 servings of organic chicken that I can use for all sorts of meals. See it, along with lots of other bundles, here.

Bread, cheese, and certain fruits and vegetables are also great to freeze for later use. Check out this great list of foods that freeze well.

What about masks?

Should you stock up on masks? The CDC says no, unless you are directed to by a health care provider or are providing care to someone who has been infected. Washing your hands regularly is still your best line of defense.

No one knows what will happen with the coronavirus. However, we do know that the key to preparing for any possible emergency is by making a plan without panic. All of these things will help you to be organized so that you can focus on what matters most: caring for your family.

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