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Prepare Your Family & Home for Coronavirus

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As local officials track the cases of coronavirus in our communities, if you have not already, you should take steps to prepare in case normal activities are disrupted.

“It’s a good idea to be prepared in case you need to be home for a few days,” said Adam Brady, MD, from Samaritan Infectious Disease. “Treat this as you would any other emergency scenario, like an ice storm or a flood, and have a few basics on hand to last you about two weeks.”

Dr. Brady notes that there’s no need for mass stockpiling — having supplies on hand is most useful in the event you become ill and can’t leave home, or to limit your time in crowds if the virus is present in the community.

What to Have on Hand

Two-week supply of prescription medications
Over-the-counter fever reducer like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
Anti-diarrheal medication. Coronavirus symptoms don’t usually include diarrhea, but this is a good medication to keep in your emergency kit since diarrhea can be very dehydrating and lead to other medical problems.
Pantry staples: canned food, rice, dried pasta and beans 
Foods for if you feel sick: soup, crackers, rehydration fluids like Pedialyte or Gatorade 
Household and laundry cleaning supplies. Look for a surface cleaner that contains bleach or alcohol to kill viruses.
Hand soap. This does not need to be antibacterial soap.
Hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
Personal care items like soap, contact solution, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, etc.

Make a Plan For Work & School

If the virus becomes common in the community, consider ways you can reduce your risk of exposure. Talk to your workplace about sick-leave policies and whether you can telecommute. You should also try to limit your time in crowds, like waiting in line at the store.

Schools in Oregon have been closed for the rest of the month. Consider your plans for how to care for children who may be home from school or daycare in case you need to be at work.

Ways to Reduce Your Risk

“The coronavirus travels in droplets in the air and can live on surfaces, and then enters your body through your nose, mouth and eyes,” said Dr. Brady. “Be aware of who you’re around and what you’re touching.”

Ways you can avoid being infected by coronavirus and other illnesses include:
Wash, wash, wash your hands. It cannot be overstated — this is perhaps the most important thing you can do, especially before eating or touching your face. Wash your hands as soon as you come in the door when you get home.
Maintain a distance from others of about three feet, or six feet if they seem sick.
Clean high-traffic surfaces regularly, such as your phone, doorknobs and bathroom faucets.
Be mindful of common surface areas in public: ATM pin pads, pens, touch screens in the self-checkout line at the grocery store, shopping cart handles, bathroom doors, etc. Wash or sanitize your hands after using these items.
If you’re sick, stay home.

What To Do if Someone Gets Sick

If you or a family member gets sick, stay at home. The most common symptoms of coronavirus are:
Fever above 100.4 F
Cough
Difficulty breathing

If you are having these symptoms and suspect there is a reason for you to have contracted coronavirus, such as recent travel in an area where coronavirus has been prevalent or contact with another person with coronavirus, please contact your health care provider. Before you visit a clinic, urgent care facility or hospital, please call first. You can also complete an E-Visit through your Samaritan Health Services MyChart account.

Does a Face Mask Help?

For people who are not sick, you do not need to wear a face mask. 

“Face masks are most effective when the people who are already sick wear one, or if you are in close contact and caring for someone who is sick,” said Dr. Brady. “At this point hand washing is really the most effective tool you have to stay healthy.”

For information on the CDC on how you can protect and prepare your family, click here.

Get local updates on coronavirus with the Oregon Health Authority

Stay informed about operations at Samaritan Health Services at samhealth.org/Coronavirus