Keep your hands clean, and keep your distance from sick people
- Wet your hands with clean running water and then lather them with soap; don’t miss the backs of your hands, between your fingers or under your nails. Make sure to scrub for at least 20 seconds (or about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice) and dry them with a clean towel or let them air dry.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which should be rubbed in for about 20 seconds, can also work, but the gel must contain at least 60 percent alcohol.
Stock up on home supplies, medicine and resources
- Experts suggest stocking at least a 30-day supply of any needed prescriptions, and you should consider doing the same for household items like food staples, laundry detergent, and diapers, if you have small children.
- Remember, alcohol is a good disinfectant for coronaviruses so make sure to keep surfaces in your home clean. Throw out those tissues in a wastebasket after you blow your nose.
- The C.D.C. also recommends cleaning “high touch” surfaces, like phones and tablets.
Prepare your family, and communicate your plan
- Make sure every member of the family is up-to-date on any and all emergency plans.
- Be sure to be in communication with your child’s schoolon what types of plans are established for any sort of schedule change, including early dismissals or online instruction. And if you have elderly parents or relatives, or family members with any special health concerns, make sure you have a plan for caring for them if they get sick.
- There’s also some reassurance that could be had by creating a family emergency checklist, which could answer basic questions about evacuations, resources and supplies — especially if you have any preconditions or illnesses. The C.D.C. provides a checklist here.
With children, keep calm and carry on — and get the flu shot
- Protect your child by taking the same precautionsyou would during cold and flu season: encourage frequent hand washing, move away from people who are coughing or sneezing and get the flu shot.
- Experts recommend getting the flu vaccine, noting that vaccinating children is the best protection for older people against bacterial pneumonia.
- Right now, there’s no reason for parents to worry, the experts say, and the good news is that coronavirus cases in children have been very rare.
- When talking to your children about an outbreak, make sure you first assess their knowledge of the virus and that you process your own anxiety. It’s important that you don’t dismiss their fears and speak to them at an age-appropriate level.
- So keep calm, and if there’s an outbreak in your community, practice what’s known as “social distancing,” which means more TV bingeing at home and fewer trips to the park.