If history has taught us one thing, it’s that nasty viruses have a tendency to show up at the worst times. What do you need to protect your family against the next pandemic?
1. Non–Perishable Food and Water
Make sure you have plenty of food stocked up at home so you don’t have to go outside during the worst of the pandemic. At the very least, you want enough non-perishable food to last your family for two weeks. Many preppers extend that to three months, six months or even a full year, depending on the amount of storage space and funds available.
Cover the basics without going overboard. Most medications have expiration dates, so you’ll need to update from time to time. Here are the most important medications to stock for emergencies:
Prescription drugs you have to take (try to get a six-month supply if possible)
Over-the-counter pain relievers
OTC anti-diarrheal meds
OTC allergy meds (if someone in the family has allergies)
Antifungal and antibacterial creams (clotrimazole, hydrocortisone, bacitracin, etc.)
Antibiotic prescription medications (ciprofloxacin, cephalexin and metronidazole) can help with infections, but it’s best to get a doctor’s advice. Antibiotics won’t help with viral outbreaks.
3. Antiseptic Alcohol
If there’s one thing you can never have too much of for pandemics, it’s antiseptic alcohol. It can help you disinfect virtually any surface, from impermeable clothing to car doors. Have some spray bottles on hand to make disinfecting easy.
4. Protective Gear
Prepping for a pandemic realistically means accepting that you will probably have to leave the house eventually, such as to gather additional supplies, pay bills or seek medical treatment. To keep yourself and your family safe from the effects of viruses, stocking up on protective equipment should be a major priority:
N95 and N100 masks: These masks offer solid protection again virus particles. They will be your bread and butter during many viral outbreaks, so you want to have plenty.
Face shields: For a solid layer of protection against respiratory illnesses, wear a curved face shield over a mask. They can prevent almost 100% of droplets from reaching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Surgical gloves: Some viruses are transmitted primarily through cuts or absorbed through bare skin. That’s why it’s smart to have a good supply of surgical gloves on hand in your size, just in case something like Ebola ends up in the United States.
Cartridge respirators and powered air-purifying respirators: The benefit of gas masks and other cartridge respirators is that they can filter out smaller particles. PAPR masks are the ultimate in protection, but you have to buy one that fits you and use the right type of cartridge for each situation.
Hazmat suits/protective suits: Hazmat suits cover your clothing with an impermeable layer to keep viruses away from your skin. Disposable versions are cheaper and easier to replace while reusable ones are thicker and more durable.
The main difficulty in prepping for the next pandemic is that there’s no way to know what type of virus it will be. Diseases are transmitted in different ways, some via droplets and others through tiny cuts. Covering all the bases possible can make a huge difference.