If you ask ten different people what they think you need in order to survive the current pandemic I’ll bet you’ll get ten different answers. However, you’ll also probably hear some similarities in those conversations. Below is a list of several essential items that you should keep on hand. We’ve also included some thing to help you deal with the mental and emotional toll this pandemic is bound to take as well. This is a stressful time. We know how difficult it can be to manage those types of emotions.
Obviously you’ll need food. During any type of crisis, pandemic, or survival situation you should have about three weeks of food on hand at all times. There really is no need for any more than that. All you need to do is plan ahead and be sure to grocery shop before your items run too low. Once you’ve noticed that you’ve depleted your items about three quarters of the way through start to plan your next grocery trip.
A situation like this is a great time to purchase dry goods. Pastas, rice, popcorn, and dried beans are a few great essentials. These types of groceries last a long time so you won’t have to keep checking the expiration date.
You’ll still want to have produce on hand as well. Fruits and vegetables are necessary in any diet. If you can freeze some of your items I’d recommend doing that for any extras you may have. Blueberries, squash, corn, strawberries, and mango are all examples of produce that are easily frozen and then thawed again when you’re ready to eat. You should also probably have milk and eggs in your fridge but just be mindful of that expiration date. In case you didn’t know, oat and almond milk, as well as lactaid milk, have a longer shelf life. These may be viable options as well.
You definitely don’t need to stockpile water bottles. In fact, this is not a good idea due to all the plastic you’ll be wasting. Instead, purchase a water purifier. They can be found online or in most stores. Keep this in your fridge and refill as needed. You might also want to purchase a water filter straw just in case. Your water supply probably wont be impacted during a situation like this but it’s always a good idea to be prepared just in case. Again, no need to buy cases of water bottles. A water purifier will do just fine.
First Aid Kit
We talk a lot about the necessity of having a basic first aid kit during any survival situation, including a pandemic. As you already know most hospitals are overrun right now. Nurses, doctors, and other medical staff are focused on treating this life threatening virus that is taking over our cities. With this being said, if you have any “minor” injury – such as a sprain, a cut, or a bruised bone, you may want to look for alternatives. Going to a hospital, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic is probably not a good idea, especially if you don’t have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) to help protect you from other infected people that may be there.
Due to all of these factors, it’s a pretty smart idea to have some basic first aid supplies on hand so you can take care of yourself if needed. Some specific items to keep in a first aid kit are band-aids, gauze, antibiotic ointment, tweezers, bandages, and gloves. You should stock you kit with any additional items you see fit. You can make your own first aid kit as well as purchase one that is already assembled for you.
In addition to having a first aid kit you’ll also need to brush up on your first aid skills. Although this isn’t technically gear, it is something you should definitely have before attempting to use the items in your first aid kit. Some skills that might be helpful to have are how to properly clean a wound, how to dress a wound, how to make a splint or a sling, or how to give CPR. Here is a more detailed list of essential first aid skills.
In any survival scenario you need to be prepared for numerous situations. During the current pandemic you might find yourself needing medical attention that can be given at home. Of course, if you do have a serious injury you should always call paramedics or visit the local hospital.
As previously stated, there is no need to stockpile any items. However, you should have a supply for several weeks, especially for personal items. For example, medications are one thing that you definitely shouldn’t wait until the last minute to get from your pharmacy. Don’t wait until you only have one pill left to call in your script. Plan ahead. Due to the current situation you might find yourself waiting longer than normal for your prescription to be refilled. Prescriptions have limits on how often you can fill them, as dictated by your insurance, and for this reason you will not be able to refill more than one at a time. Ask your pharmacist what date you are able to refill your prescription and be sure to call it in the soonest available time.
For those of you with children you should have a small supply of baby needs. Baby wipes and diapers are among the necessities. If you wait until the very last diaper, or pack of wipes, before heading out to the nearest store you may find yourself in a tough situation. Unfortunately, there are many people who are stockpiling. Although they may feel a sense of assurance when doing this they are really hurting many others by hoarding items. If you find that these basic needs, such as wipes or diapers, are not available in your area you will definitely be in a challenging situation. However, if you have planned ahead and have started shopping several days before your supply runs out then you have time to visit multiple locations if needed.
Other personal items you should be sure to buy before they run out at home are toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, shampoo, and toilet paper. Again, we are not telling you to go out and buy a years worth of items. You only need a few weeks worth of supplies. The most important thing to remember is to plan ahead. Don’t start your shopping when your tube of toothpaste, or shampoo bottle, is empty.
If you’ve been to your nearest store in the past several weeks you are aware at how scarce these items are right now. Soap, hand sanitizer, bleach, and other cleaning supplies are just not available. This is mainly due to the fact that there are people out there hoarding these items. There is simply no need to buy 78 jugs of bleach or 42 bottles of hand soap. Have a supply of one or two extras and be sure that when you are running low you head to the stores to find more.
It is important to be able to have access to cleaning supplies during a pandemic. Most of us have stepped up our cleaning routines and are being hyper aware of hand washing and disinfecting. I can understand the need for more than the usual amount of cleaning supplies. Again, have a small stash and just be sure to plan ahead for your next shopping trip.
So far we’ve been discussing items you need for basic survival. Food, water, and first aid are definitely all necessities. We often find ourselves focusing on just this aspect of survival. However, physically surviving is only half of the picture. During this pandemic many of us are emotionally struggling as well. This is a scary time and it is normal to feel anxious and overwhelmed. The majority of us are stuck at home and are unable to go out to distract ourselves from the current state of the world. In times of stress it’s common to head to the gym or a shopping center to try to alleviate some of that tension. Since this is just not possible listed below are items that may help with this side of survival as well. These items may help you to feel safe, calm, and secure during a time of unrest.
Several years ago many people started looking for weighted blankets as a way to help destress. Research has shown that weighted blankets help to release oxytocin in the brain because the sensations mimic those of deep touch pressure therapy. The most common use is to sleep with the blanket. You can also try wrapping yourself up in it any time you are feeling particularly overwhelmed. Weighted blankets come in various weights. You will have to decide for yourself how much pressure will work best for you. The general rule of thumb is that your weighted blanket should be about ten percent of your body weight plus a pound of two. Again, whatever is most comfortable for you is what you should go with.
You may think this is pretty insignificant. But the more comfortable we are the less stressed we feel. Restrictive clothing can lead to anxiety because we transfer those feelings of restriction to our emotional state as well. Haven’t you ever taken off your work clothes after a long day and instantly felt better and more relaxed? Try wearing your favorite pajamas on a day when you are experiencing high anxiety levels. You might even want to splurge and buy a bathrobe you can relax in.
Help Your Community
Okay so we know this isn’t a tactile good, and it’s definitely not gear, but it is equally important. During a crisis like this where literally everyone is impacted it’s so important to remember to come together as a community. Of course we don’t literally mean come together – 6 feet people!
There are so many ways to give back in your community. Options range from making masks and donating to those in need to sharing supplies you may have as a surplus. If you do have extra supplies there are many groups and organizations that will take your extras and donate it to those in need.
In Austin, Texas, a group called The Kindness Experiment is taking donations for any and all essentials. This includes food, drink, personal items, cleaning supplies, paper goods etc. If you can donate at least 1 item then you are free to choose an item from their inventory that you may need. Essentially it is a group to safely swap items with people in your area in order to get things you need that just aren’t in stock at the grocery stores.
This may be another avenue to find necessities if the grocery stores are out of stock. Many neighborhoods and cities are coming up with groups like this to support each other. Try browsing some of your social media apps to find one near you!
Whether you decide to focus on mental survival, physical survival, or both, the gear you choose is important. Having a plan and being prepared does you good in any survival situation, especially a pandemic. Taking care of yourself is a top priority during this pandemic. With this being said be sure to check your cupboards and your fridge and make sure you are planning your grocery trips before you’re left with nothing. You should also find a way to help release some tension and anxiety during this time as to help your mental and emotional state as well.