Thousands of U.S. citizens are under quarantine due to coronavirus exposure.
They include people evacuated from Wuhan, China; passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship; and residents of a Washington state nursing home where four people recently died.
The Center for Disease Control has also advised anyone who recently traveled to China to self-quarantine at home.
As the number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. continues to rise, many Americans are preparing for the possibility of a quarantine.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, a top CDC official and director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, has warned of the possibility of the disease spreading across the U.S. and urged Americans to prepare for possible disruptions.
Which leads to the question: what should you have in your home emergency kit in case of a quarantine?
Here are some suggestions for your coronavirus shopping list.
It's recommended that you stock up with enough food to last your household for two weeks, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Your stockpile should mainly be comprised of canned foods that have a long storage life and need little or no cooking. Avoid stockpiling fresh fruits and vegetables, as these will likely spoil over the 14 days.
Some examples of foods to consider include
- Nonperishables (grains, rice, oats, pasta)
- Canned foods (beans, tomatoes, tuna, soup, fruits)
- Baby food
- Pet food
Don't forget to pack snacks and other comforting foods like coffee, chocolate, chips and crackers. Although not essential, these foods can make a big difference in your mental wellbeing during the quarantine.
The American Red Cross also recommends that you have at least 1 gallon of water per day for each person in the household.
If your water is untreated, you'll need to buy water filters or water purification tablets to make it safe to drink. You can also stock up in other hydrating liquids like Pedialyte and Gatorade.
The CDC recommends regular hand-washing as the best and easiest way to protect yourself from coronavirus.
When stockpiling your quarantine kit, make sure to include hand soap, sanitizers and disinfectants.
Other hygiene items to buy include:
- Toilet paper
- Feminine care products
- Laundry detergent
- Diapers (if you have a baby in the house)
- Cat litter
It's essential to have a ready supply of medicine and other health care products.
Aim to have at least a 30-day supply of your prescription medications, says infectious disease expert Marguerite Neill.
Since most prescription drugs come with quantity limits, you can ask your doctor or insurance provider to help you submit an exception form.
You should also have:
- A first aid kit to treat any injuries
- Safety goggles
- A thermometer
- Over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers, cough suppressants, vitamins and medicines to help you in case of vomiting or diarrhea.
You don’t want to become bored during your quarantine.
Consider having some board games, toys, books, magazines and other fun stuff to keep the family occupied.
Other essential items to have in the house include:
- Hand-cranked or battery-powered radio
- Copies of your health records and other personal documents
- Emergency blanket
- Plastic sheeting