by Maria Sassian
Health officials in the U.S. have advised businesses, schools and communities to prepare for a possible outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus. On Tuesday, February 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said a wider spread of the virus in the U.S. can be expected, but the agency is uncertain of the severity of the threat.
The disruption to everyday life could be severe.
“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the head of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC.
Being prepared for a pandemic should be a part of every household’s emergency plan. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Ready.gov website offers the following tips:
Before a Pandemic
- Store a two-week supply of water and food.
- Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
- Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
- Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference. Get help accessing electronic health records.
- Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
During a Pandemic
- Limit spread of germs and prevent infection.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.