PREPARING FOR COVID-19

With the virus now being delcared a pandemic, here are some ways for you to prepare your family ahead of time......



Being prepared

Although China remains the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak, more countries are reporting cases. Some countries may not have the capacity to detect or contain the disease. This means global efforts to stop the spread of the disease may not be enough to prevent a pandemic (global outbreak).


In order to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, everyone has a role to play. It takes more than governments and action from the health sector to protect the health and safety of individuals. Each of us can help our country be prepared in the event of an emergency by understanding how coronavirus spreads and how to prevent illness.


For individuals

Individuals should continue to think ahead about the actions that they can take to stay healthy and prevent the spread of any illness, especially respiratory infections.

Now and always during cold and flu season, stay home if you are sick. Encourage those you know are sick to stay home until they no longer have symptoms.


Since respiratory viruses, such as the one that causes COVID-19, are spread through contact, change how you greet one another. Instead of a handshake, a kiss or a hug, a friendly wave or elbow bump is less likely to expose you to respiratory viruses.

Practise frequent hand hygiene and coughing and sneezing etiquette. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as toys and door handles.


These are the most important ways that you can protect yourself and your family from respiratory illness, including COVID-19.


Make a Plan


If COVID-19 becomes common in your community, you will want to have thought about how to change your behaviours and routines to reduce the risk of infection.


Your plan should include how you can change your regular habits to reduce your exposure to crowded places.


For example, you may:

do your grocery shopping at off-peak hours

commute by public transit outside of the busy rush hour

opt to exercise outdoors instead of in an indoor fitness class


Your plan should also include what you will do if you become sick. If you are a caregiver of children or other dependents, you will want to have thought ahead to engage backup caregivers.


You should also think about what you will do if a member of your family becomes sick and needs care. Talk to your employer about working from home if you are needed to care for a family member at home.


If you, yourself, become ill, stay home until you are no longer showing symptoms. Employers should not require a sick leave note as that will put added pressure on limited health care services.


Your plan should include shopping for supplies that you should have on hand at all times. This will ensure you do not need to leave your home while you are sick or busy caring for an ill family member.



Fill Your Prescriptions

Refill your prescriptions now so that you do not have to go to a busy pharmacy if you do become sick. Consider seeing your health care provider to renew your prescriptions ahead of time.


Stock Up On Essentials But Avoid Panic Buying

At this time, it makes sense to fill your cupboards with non-perishable food items, so that you do not need to go shopping if you become sick.


It is easier on the supply chain if people gradually build up their household stores instead of making large-scale purchases all at once. To do this, you can add a few extra items to your grocery cart every time you shop. Good options are easy-to-prepare foods like:

dried pasta and sauceprepared canned soupscanned vegetables and beans

It is also a good idea to have extra stores of:


pet food

toilet paper

facial tissue

feminine hygiene products

diapers (if you have children who use them)


The reason for stocking up on these items is not necessarily because you will need to self-isolate. Having these supplies on hand will ensure you do not need to leave your home at the peak of the outbreak or if you become ill.

How To Care For Those Who Are Ill

If you or a member of your family become ill with COVID-19, there are precautions that should be taken in the home. Your health care provider will advise you if hospital care is more appropriate. Refer to the guidance for health professionals when caring for someone with COVID-19 in a hospital setting.


To prepare for this potential situation, you should have on hand:

-soap

-facial tissue

-paper towels

-alcohol-based hand sanitizer

-household cleaning products

-regular detergents for washing dishes and doing laundry

-fever-reducing medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen

(this includes products for children if you are a parent or caregiver)

-plastic garbage bags for containing soiled tissues and other waste

-household bleach for creating a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to disinfect surfaces

-communicate with Family, Friends & Neighbors - Let your family, friends and neighbours know that you are making plans to prepare for COVID-19. Share your plan with them, as this might motivate them to make their own. Talk to them about a buddy system in which you agree to check in on each other and run essential errands if you become sick.


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