In times like this it’s hard to think more than just about one minute ahead, but we also know that preparation is the key to making sure that we all get through this. As a doctor, I have seen firsthand the difference in people who are prepared and who are panicked.
The key to getting through this time and getting stronger is to prepare for situations you can prepare for now, and then let go of worry about what you can’t know or prepare.
Preparation is a great skill to work on with your kids as well. Having them be involved with prep can make this situation less scary for them and provides great opportunities to ask questions and keep communication open. Remember, this isn’t just a challenging time for us, it’s also challenging for kids, and they may not fully understand why this is all happening. Preparing is a great tool to teach resilience to your kids – it’s a skill they can carry with them to adulthood.
Are you as ready as you can be for the Coronavirus or COVID-19 as it affects your family?
I put together some tips to PREPARE and not PANIC for the days and weeks ahead.
- Make sure you have enough groceries for a week or two on hand so you can minimize trips to the store. When you hear about COVID-19 numbers “peaking” in your area, that means the most risky time to be out is in the 2-3 weeks just before and after that peak. Anything you can do to stay out of stores during that time will help.
- Research delivery services in the event you can’t get out of the house or need to quarantine.
- Make a list of chores and responsibilities and who in the house could learn to do them – so that if someone isn’t well and you’re caring for them (or sick yourself) everyone is better prepared.
- Reach out to friends and family – stay connected.
- Think of folks that are always far away and include them in your dinner, tea on the porch, movie night (have you tried Netflix Party??) or crying jag.
- Learn the signs of depression and anxiety, and have honest check ins with yourself if you are feeling them. Let someone you trust know when you need a boost or support.
- Stay active while you practice social distancing. There are free workouts, outdoors is always free – but please wear a mask if you might encounter anyone else!
- Drink lots of water and stay hydrated.
- Eat healthy foods.
- Know the symptoms and have a plan in place if you or anyone in your household falls ill
- Remember that only a child may have a person with them in the hospital or emergency room, adults will need to go in alone. So make a list of medicines and medical conditions and allergies to bring in case you’re not well enough to remember or talk easily
- If your insurance covers telehealth, register for the system now while you feel fine. Putting in your information can be frustrating or time consuming (even when you’re well!) so do this now just in case!
Here are some meds I recommend keeping on hand:
- acetaminophen (also known by it’s most common brand name Tylenol) for pain or fever
- remember to talk to a health care provider for guidance about whether you should knock down the fever or let it be
- Current recommendations say to avoid ibuprofen or naproxen or aspirin (also known by brand names Motrin, Advil, Aleve)
- Cough, congestion remedies for adults are reasonable to try – most cold remedies are not useful in kids (and dangerous under the age of 4) – please reach out to your healthcare provider for more guidance
- Mentholated rub has been shown to help some folks with cough and chest tightness manage the symptoms
- Fluids! Tea, soup, juice, water (avoid carbonation and caffeine when trying to keep someone hydrated)
- If you lost your job, visit your state and local sites for help applying for unemployment benefits.
- Research alternate employment (list of sites hiring, check local warehouses/grocery stores, Census is hiring)
- Contact your billers before they are past due and look for relief if you find yourself suddenly without an income, there are some protections in place and being proactive helps to protect your credit.
I have also been compiling a list of resources for families and businesses on my website. If you have any questions, please hit reply to this email or reach out on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. I also have a few parenting courses that can help you talk with your kids about tough topics and change behaviors (that may be more challenging while everyone is out of school).
So prepare what you can and then try to let go of a little of the rest of your worry. Finding moments of distraction and maybe even actual fun can make these days go more easily. I wish for you an easy time, peace at home and in your heart, and good health for you and everyone you love.