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How to Prepare for Coronavirus

Pooja Salhotra
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Wash Ur Hands

Houston’s landmark “Be Someone” sign now reads “Wash Ur Hands.” (Photo: Joel Michalak)

If there’s one word you’re both tired of hearing yet simultaneously confused about, it’s probably coronavirus. As the respiratory virus continues to make its way across the globe, it’s hard not to feel some level of concern. That’s why we’ve scavenged the internet for the best resources and tips to help you and your family prepare should the virus reach Houston. 

Preventative measures: 

Wash your hands! It sounds simple, but we cannot emphasize this enough, as hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Be sure to follow the five steps outlined by the CDC (wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry) to make sure you are hand washing effectively.  You should also be sure to clean high-touch surfaces like your iPhone, plus countertops and doorknobs using a household cleaning spray according to the label instructions. And consider keeping the following items on hand:

  • Hand soap
  • First-aid kit 
  • Extra month’s supply of any prescription medications 
  • A few weeks' supply of nonperishable foods (e.g. cereals, grains, lentils, pasta) 
  • Household cleaners and disinfectants 
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Extra supply of pet food (if needed)
  • See this checklist from the CDC for other items to keep in an emergency kit

What not to do: 

  • Don’t panic. At this point, the risk of becoming infected in Houston is still low. And, most people who do contract the illness do not get seriously ill. The best thing you can do is to simply take the appropriate precautions. 
  • Don’t wear a mask unless you are sick. Wearing a mask may give you a false sense of security. Wearing a mask does little to prevent you from getting ill, and it may cause you to take fewer other, more important, precautions. Surgeon General Jerome Adams shared on Twitter: “Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!” “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!” Read more on this topic here.
  • Don’t go to work if you’re sick. 
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth without washing your hands first.  

Staying Up to Date: 

  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website has useful information on the virus as well as tips for communities, schools, businesses and health professionals.  
  • The New York Times has a daily newsletter with the latest developments and expert advice about prevention and treatment. Sign up here. 
  • The World Health Organization provides up-to-date information on existing outbreaks.  
  • The CDC offers specific information for business travelers and travel related industries here.  
  • For Houston specific updates, visit the Houston Emergency website here.
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