10 Items You Should Have on Hand If You Come Down with COVID-19
With daily positive COVID case counts hovering over 750,000 per day across America (as of January 18, 2022), thanks to the delta and omicron variants, it's clear we're still very much in this pandemic. We can all do our best to stay safe by wearing face masks, staying home as much as possible, washing hands frequently, keeping distance and following the other preventive measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Still, even with all those steps, there's still a chance to catch the virus since COVID-19 spreads so easily from person to person—including through 20% of people who experience zero symptoms, yet are still contagious.
So with that in mind, it's wise to plan ahead in case you do happen to contract the virus. We're not suggesting you go wild and order 200 rolls of toilet paper, however. Gather what you might need of the following essential COVID items to last you for three weeks and you should be good to go for any potential quarantine needs.
10 Items to Have on Hand in Case You (or Someone You Live with) Test Positive for Coronavirus
1. Your Doctor's Phone Number
Always an asset to have nearby, take note of your M.D.'s number. If you have time, call the office's nurse or physician's assistant to check in and ask if they have any guidance about the best person to contact in case any coronavirus symptoms arise.
2. A Bonus Refill on Prescriptions
While you're speaking with someone who works with your doc, inquire about any Rx needs that might require refills within the next month or two. Depending on the medicine and your local pandemic positivity rate, he or she might suggest snagging an extra supply ahead of time.
3. The Location of Your Nearest Testing Facility, Plus Some At-Home Test Kits
Speaking of positivity rate, the best way to keep tabs on if you are positive or not is to get tested. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has an online portal to find a community-based testing location near you. You may also be able to schedule a rapid test through private companies (just Google "rapid coronavirus testing sites near me")—just note that these often charge a fee. And ICYMI, Costco now sells coronavirus test kits online that you can take at home and use to send a saliva sample into a lab.
At-home testing kits are also available to buy over-the-counter. With these tests, you swab the inside of your nose and are able to tell if you're positive or negative within 10 to 15 minutes.
Given the massive amount of new cases, it can sometimes be hard to find a test—both through testing sites and at-home tests. If you think you have COVID but can't get find a test, the best plan of action is to act as if you are positive and stay home.
4. A Thermometer
One of the most common symptoms of any infection is a high temperature; a signal your white blood cells are attacking foreign invaders. Use a thermometer to monitor your internal temperature and the temperature of everyone in your household if someone falls ill. (Bonus points if you snag a different thermometer per person! Either way, be sure to clean the thermometer between each use.)
Buy it: $6.99, amazon.com
5. Cough Drops
Coughing is another frequently reported reaction to the virus, so invest in a bag or two of cough drops to calm that and potentially aid an ailing throat.
Buy it: $4.29 for 90 drops, Amazon.com
6. Disinfectant Sprays
True, it's best for infected individuals to quarantine away from family members. That might not always be completely possible (see: a shared bathroom), so keep the windows open if possible, disinfect high-touch surfaces daily and disinfect any surface after the infected individual may have come into contact with it. Here are the best cleaning products to fight coronavirus, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Many aren't available online for delivery, but depending on your geographic location, you can order several of these online to pick up at your local store.
Buy it: $4.97, HomeDepot.com
7. Disinfectant Wipes
Clorox and Lysol wipes have also been proven to combat bacteria and viruses. Did you know you can even use these on most phones? Here's how. We've also got a recipe for how to make your own sanitizing solution at home when in a pinch.
According to EatingWell staff dietitians, one of the best things to eat if you have coronavirus is soup. Stir together a big batch of a healthy soup recipe to freeze in single servings or buy low-sodium store-bought options to feed your body while it's hard at work attempting to recover.
Tea is not only great for hydration, but its warm temperature can help ease congestion—a symptom some coronavirus-positive individuals report. (Tea also packs ample health benefits even when you're feeling 100%!)
Buy it: $17.88 for 108 bags, Amazon.com
10. Hand Soap
One of the most popular refrains from these past few pandemic-ridden years: Wash your hands! Good old soap and water is even more effective than hand sanitizer in most cases—as long as you wash your hands properly and often enough.