The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is now in over 50 countries, including the United States. In the U.S., people are buying key items to keep their households safe - disinfecting wipes and other cleaning items are flying off the shelves, hand sanitizer is becoming harder to find and face masks haven’t been available for weeks.
Some of the low inventory is due to COVID-19 breaking out in other countries months before it came to the U. S., disrupting production and supply lines and creating a higher than normal demand for some items. For example, items like masks and disposable respirators have up to a 3-month backorder.
But, never fear! Since quantities of these items are limited, here are some do-it-yourself ideas to help you stay healthy during this time.
WikiHow teaches everyday individuals how to make hand sanitizer out of isopropyl alcohol or grain alcohol. You can make it a fun teambuilding, friend or family project and try out different scents, colors or consistencies. Most items you may already have or should be readily available. Within half an hour you have a new and useful creation that can help keep hands disinfected when soap and water are not available.
There are a lot of recipes to make your own disinfecting wipes. However, Living on a Dime provides a recipe for homemade Clorox disinfecting wipes. It an alternative mix that contains both dish soap and rubbing alcohol, producing a mixture that can combat viruses better.
The Surgeon General and CDC have been asking healthy people to stop purchasing masks. They say wearing masks will not prevent the virus from entering your system. In fact, COVID-19 rarely enters through the lungs. Research shows it predominantly enters through the eyes, nose or mouth via contaminated hands. That is why washing your hands is so important.
The virus is “enveloped” in a fatty membrane. The best way to kill the virus is to dissolve the membrane, weakening the virus. Washing hands thoroughly and often with warm water and soap is the best way to do this.
“The best way to protect yourself really, truly, honestly is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water. Coronavirus is an ‘enveloped’ virus, which means that it has an outer membrane. Washing your hands with soap and water can ‘dissolve’ the membrane and kill the virus.”
-Karen Fleming, PhD, a professor in biophysics at Johns Hopkins University
However, if you become sick, wearing a mask while you recover at home is important to help keep others in your household from getting infected. Since masks are nowhere to be found, the next best thing is to make one yourself. The National Institute of Heath published directions on making a mask from a cotton t-shirt.
The cotton t-shirt mask was rated with a 67% reduction in particle filtration. The CDC recommends N95 masks when dealing with coronaviruses, meaning they have a 95% efficiency in the filtration of airborne particles. However, while the t-shirt mask is not as effective as an N95 respirator, this DIY mask may help you reduce your chances of spreading the infection to others if you become sick.
If you feel under the weather, you should be prepared to self-quarantine in your home for up to 14 days, the World Health Organization’s recommended quarantine period .
Now, while you are well and your family is strong, it’s smart to do a little extra planning. The Department of Homeland Security has created a disaster kit checklist as a good basepoint. You can use their list to create your own customized list of items that you will need or use often.
Adding a few extra jugs of water, some pasta, rice and soups to your cabinet makes sense. However, there is no need to buy out entire stores. You’re only stockpiling for a couple of weeks, maybe a month, not years. Also remember cleaning supplies and items you like to have on hand if you’re sick, like ginger ale, crackers, tissues, cough drops and over the counter medications.
Then, if you start feeling ill, whether it’s a cold, the flu or something more serious, you can be ready to self-quarantine at home. You’ll have plenty of supplies and hopefully recuperate quickly.
Since early January, Flagship has reported on the COVID-19 coronavirus and presented ways companies and airports can prepare and protect their occupants. You can access Flagship’s dedicated coronavirus information hub, which includes past articles, videos, printable materials, updates from the CDC and the World Health Organization.