There is so much in the news every day regarding the international outbreak of Coronavirus or COVID-19. We are all asking ourselves, what can I do to protect my family and myself from Coronavirus? What should I buy to prepare for Coronavirus? Should I send the kids to school? Should we take that vacation? Should we cancel the family reunion/birthday party/event? Should we stockpile? We talked to top New York Pediatrician Doctor Barbara Coven and Suburbs 101 contributor and Dermatologist Doctor Whitney Bowe. They give us advice on how to prepare for the Coronavirus outbreak.
Coronavirus: Should We Stockpile?
If you’ve been following the Coronavirus outbreak news, you’ve probably seen images of empty shelves at Costco and news on people stockpiling essentials. Is that even necessary? We asked Doctor Barbara Coven if she can give us some advice. She said, “In terms of stocking your household, here are a few tips. The CDC recommends all households have an emergency/disaster stock that would be sufficient for up to 2 weeks. Have the fever-reducing medications that you and your children are comfortable with, generally ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen as well as a supply of soap, tissues, toilet paper, diapers, feminine products, and pediatric/adult oral rehydration electrolyte solutions such as Pedialyte and Gatorade. Routine household cleaners should be sufficient to clean and disinfect surfaces as are your regular laundry supplies.”
Doctor Coven also adds, “Due to the assumed decrease in the production of medical supplies from China, it is a good idea to try to obtain a 3 month supply of medically necessary prescriptions for the treatment of acute allergic reactions, asthma, heart disease, etc.”
What about food? Doctor Barbara Coven advises stocking the following items, “Non-perishable food items, dried, canned, boxed or frozen foods should be sufficient for the 14 days. Those items with long storage life, that require little cooking or preparation are good choices. These include but are not limited to soups, broths, fruits, fruit juices, beans, dried meats, canned fish (tuna, salmon) vegetables, powdered milk or milk alternatives (boxed almond, coconut, soy milk), nuts and nut butters, dried fruits, trail mix, dry cereals, and energy or granola bars.”
Should We Buy Gloves and Masks?
Doctor Barbara Coven said, “Gloves, gowns and masks are only needed for the ill patient and those directly caring for patients and NOT recommended for general use. No need to stockpile these. First aid kits are great.”
How To Prepare for Quarantine
Here are some advice from Doctor Coven on how to prepare if you are quarantined, she said, “If you or your family members are quarantined, it would be helpful to have more home art supplies, books, board games, and home exercise equipment. Quarantine restricts you to your home, but the yard or porch should still be acceptable for outdoor activities for you and your children.”
She also said, “You should consider planning for “sick” and “well” rooms and designated bathrooms if available, in order to separate ill family members.”
Doctor Coven also suggests that people “Create an emergency contact list and connect with your neighbors and local health organizations in case you need assistance.”
Should You Travel?
According to Doctor Barbara Coven, “Travel advisories should be reviewed regularly, and probably best to eliminate non-essential travel for now. Airlines and hotels have been cooperative with these last-minute changes.”
We took a survey of local Westchester and Fairfield County families, here is what they are saying about whether or not they are planning to go away for Spring break. Click here to read.
Should We Restrict Daily Activities?
According to Doctor Barbara Coven, “At this time, we are recommending work and school as usual. Eliminating gym activities where there is very close contact, like wrestling, boxing, etc, should be considered. The individual sports activities like swimming, tennis, weights, and running should still be ok.” And she adds, “Probably NOT the best time for your children to have that sleepover or large birthday party!”
Wash Your Hands
According to Doctor Whitney Bowe, “The best way to protect yourself from Coronovirus is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water and try to avoid getting close to anyone who is experiencing potential symptoms like coughing or sneezing.”
She also adds, “Studies show that antibacterial soap is no more effective than plain soap at preventing the spread of pathogenic bugs, but the chemicals in antibacterial soaps can potentially mess with your hormones (endocrine disruption) and might even lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria or superbugs. Plain soap and water is key. Hand sanitizers should also be a last resort if you can’t find soap and running water. Don’t just rely on a hand sanitizer if you can easily get to a bathroom with soap and running water.”
Prevention is Key
According to Doctor Barbara Coven, “The best offense is a good defense. Prevention is always key. Frequent handwashing with soap for 20 seconds, respiratory and household hygiene, good nutrition, and adequate sleep are all protective. Keep ill children and adults at home when sick until they are fever-free for 24 hours AND not coughing to limit the spread of disease. Remember, in children, the COVID-19 appears more like the common cold or flu AND, it’s still not too late to get that flu vaccine!”
Another prevention tip from Doctor Whitney Bowe, “I recommend trying to kiss your children on the forehead or cheek, rather than directly on the lips, if you are experiencing any upper respiratory symptoms. Better safe than sorry!”
We asked Doctor Barbara Coven what is the most important thing we can teach our children at this time? She said, “Stay Calm and Wash Your Hands Well and Often!”
About Doctor Barbara Coven
Dr. Barbara Coven has practiced pediatric and adolescent medicine in Westchester County and Fairfield County for over 25 years and has been with Westmed Medical Group since its inception. She has been recognized as a Top Doctor in Pediatrics in the New York Metro area by the U.S. News and World Report’s Castle Connolly Guide for over two decades.
About Doctor Whitney Bowe
Dr. Whitney Bowe is one of the most in-demand dermatologists in the country. Her work has earned the attention of top media outlets, netting her invitations to lend her expertise on programs like Good Morning America, The Rachael Ray Show, The Doctors, and Dr. Oz, and publications like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, ALLURE and INSTYLE. Dr. Bowe was named an Exceptional Woman in Science 2019 by Castle Connolly and has received a TOP DOCTOR recognition from Castle Connolly year after year. She is also a best selling author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin, which was recently released in paperback form as Dirty Looks.
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Suburbs 101 is an online lifestyle guide for the New York Suburbs of Westchester County, Long Island, Fairfield County and Northern New Jersey. Get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to live in the New York suburbs through our interviews with local suburbanites and features on Food, Fashion, Home, Travel, and Local Events. Be sure to Follow Us on Instagram, Like Us on Facebook and subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter.