Individual Preparedness for Disease Epidemics

Like many people, we at The CHP Group are closely following the developments of the COVID-19 disease epidemic in the United States and abroad. To assist our provider network in preparing and coping during this time of uncertainty we’ll be releasing helpful information in the coming week covering individual preparedness, workplace preparedness and mitigation strategies, COVID-19 symptom definition, and other related topics.

Individual Preparedness

While most of us likely have a preparedness kit for an earthquake or other natural disaster, we may be less prepared for a disease outbreak. While there are many similarities to preparation for a natural disaster, there are also key differences. The first key is not to panic; good preparation can be done simply and easily, following the recommendations from your local health authority and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The following preparedness list has been adapted from the CDC:

  • Create a household plan of action.
    • Talk with people who need to be included in the plan, including how you will care for high-risk individuals in your household
    • Plan for ways to care for individuals who are at greater risk for serious complications
    • Identify aid organizations that can offer information, health care, support, and services
    • Create an emergency contact list. Have at least one contact who lives outside the local area on this list.
  • Practice good preventive habits now
    • Remind everyone in your household of the importance of good preventive habits
    • Avoid close contact with sick persons
    • If you are sick, stay home
    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your bent elbow. Dispose of used tissues in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily – tables, doorknobs/handles, railings, telephones, light switches, etc.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water often using the 20-second rule – teach children how long 20 seconds is with handwashing songs or counting
    • Keep up a healthy routine – maintain the diet, exercise, and rest routines that you already have in place
    • If you don’t currently get plenty of rest, try to change that – sleep is essential for a healthy immune system
    • Determine how you can maintain a movement routine while practicing social distancing when it is called for – can you avoid the gym in favor of a local walking path?
    • Talk with your healthcare provider about any underlying health conditions that you have concerns about
  • Prepare your personal household supplies and spaces
    • Assess your household supplies that would be needed in case of illness or quarantine
    • Ensure you have an appropriate supply of any prescription medication
    • Purchase an appropriate amount of over-the-counter medicines and other items that you would need in case of illness that requires you to stay at home
    • Designate a room in your house that could be used by a sick person to keep them separate from other household members
  • If your employment is based outside the home, learn about potential changes that may happen at your workplace. Workplace preparedness and mitigation strategies will be the topic of our next blog post.
  • If you have children, learn about the emergency operations at their facility – either childcare or school – and their plans if a temporary dismissal of classes is required. If you have college age children encourage them to become familiar with their school’s plan for a COVID-19 outbreak.

Individual preparedness is important for the community as a whole. By implementing a household and preparing ahead, each of us will be better prepared as we face these times of uncertainty.

For more information on individual preparedness, visit the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/get-your-household-ready-for-COVID-19.html

For more information on COVID-19 visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html