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Coronavirus (COVID-19): How Your Family Can Stay Prepared

How Can My Family Be Ready for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Preparing for coronavirus (COVID-19) means having what you need to stay home. Officials are asking people to only go out when absolutely needed so they don't get sick.

Try to keep your household supplied so you don't run out of essentials. If you need essential items:

  • Try to go to stores during off hours when they might not be as crowded.
  • Wash your hands before and after going out.
  • Follow the CDC's guide on wearing a cloth face covering (or a face mask, if you have one).
  • Use online shopping with delivery or pick-up where available to limit the time you are in stores. Experts say to wipe down delivery boxes or open them outside if possible, and then wash your hands.

What Should I Get to Be Ready for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

  • Food and water. Choose food that doesn't need to be in the refrigerator and can stay good on the shelf for a long time. Buy canned foods and juices, rice, dried beans, granola bars, peanut butter, and dry cereal. Remember baby foods if needed. If you have pets, stock up on what they need too.
  • Foods your family likes when sick. These include things like soup, crackers, and fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Household supplies. Don't forget toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste, hand soap, and dish soap.
  • Medicines. Make sure prescriptions are filled and on hand. Get over-the-counter (nonprescription) fever reducers. Your doctor will advise you on how to use them.
  • A thermometer. Depending on your child's age, you might need a digital thermometer, temporal artery thermometer, or electronic ear (tympanic) thermometer.

For more information about preparing for a pandemic, visit the Department of Homeland Security's website.

What Else Should I Know?

  • Most schools and childcare centers are still closed, so find ways to keep kids busy at home.
  • Be sure to safely store hand sanitizer and cleaning products out of reach of the kids.
  • Check your calendar for when routine doctor visits are due. Talk to your doctor about how to keep your kids' vaccines up to date.
  • As stay-at-home orders start to loosen, think about how your family will keep safe. Help your kids get used to masks. You can make face coverings together. Practice wearing them so kids feel more comfortable when they wear them or see loved ones wearing them.
Date reviewed: May 2020