It's natural to want to go out and buy everything in a time like this, but some of those things aren't necessary to have. In fact, some items can cause more harm than good, and don't exactly do what they advertise. Here's a list of things not to stock up on, and some that might be a good idea to keep around.
There's no proof toilet paper will do anything to prevent the spread of the virus, so it's confusing as to why people are panic-buying it. Steven Taylor, the author of The Psychology of Pandemics, was able to shine a bit of light on the reason why.
During a pandemic, people will offend resort to extremes. With no clear directions from government officials, people are following suit to what other people are doing- thus buying a lot of toilet paper.
“People become anxious ahead of the actual infection,” Taylor says. “They haven’t thought about the bigger picture, like what are the consequences of stockpiling toilet paper.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends buying a two-week supply of food, so a bit of meal prepping would definitely come in handy. Think about your favorite meals, and what you could realistically see yourself consuming in that two-week period.
This way, it ensures you'll eat the food you purchased, and you'll save some money.
Even though the CDC did not recommend them for public use, that didn't stop people from buying them in large quantities. It's recommended to use cloth masks when out and about, as they'll strict how far the virus is able to travel.
By purchasing cloth masks instead, this leaves the N95 masks for those who really need them - the medical professionals working in proximity in hospitals with those exposed to the virus.
Not all hand sanitizers will be effective in trying to stay healthy. The CDC recommends getting hand sanitizers with an spirit content level between 60% and 90%.
Using hand sanitizers are a great method to remove the virus, but hand washing is the best decision.
“Viruses are most effectively killed and removed from hands with soap and water,” says Neha Nanda, a medical director of infection prevention.
However, sanitizers are still a great option while on-the-go.
Back in March 2020, the French minister of health, Olivier Véran, recommend for people with COVID-19 to swap out Ibuprofen with Tylenol. Some studies have stated Ibuprofen makes COVID-19 worse, but Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, professor of medicine at UCLA, disagrees.
Dr. Klausner says "we know very little" about the relationship between COVID-19 and Ibuprofen, so until there is more information, it's still okay for patients to use Ibuprofen.
Buying food for two weeks can be draining, so a lot of people opt to buy non-perishable foods. The World Health Organization advises to do the opposite; A study in Nutrients magazine found fresh foods have nutrients that are needed to strengthen our immune systems.
There are perishable foods that last quite a while. TODAY suggests buying foods like those, such as oranges, garlic, bread, eggs, potatoes, bananas, cheese and onions.
Just like with the face masks, medical professionals need these more than the public. These gloves aren't meant for everyday activities, and will rip, says senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Amesh Adalja.
Gloves can also collect germs as easily as hands. Washing your hands is a better and safer option, because wearing gloves without washing them consistently doesn't matter much according to family doctor William Sawyer.
Although people are buying supplements and vitamins to increase their immune systems, they actually don't make a difference. According to Harvard microbiologist Michael Starnbach, "There's no evidence they help in fighting [the] disease."
The FDA also doesn't recommend these for immune health, since many of them are unregulated. Dr. Starnbach says the supplements might overactivate the immune system, will could do more harm than good as this might result in an auto-immune disorder.
At the end of February, hand sanitizer sales had spiked 313%. To save some money, some people turned to making their own hand sanitizers, which might not be the best idea. The World Health Organization recommends sanitizers have an spirit content level of 96%, which isn't found in most store-bought drinks.
The other issue comes from making the sanitizers- improper mixing could lead to potential skin and health issues.
Regular household cleaning supplies work just as well as fancy-name brand ones, according to John Swartzberg, an expert on infectious diseases.
The biggest difference between regular and expensive products isn't the ingredient list, but how they are used. Associate Health Editor at Consumer Reports Catherine Roberts says to focus on high-touch areas. Places such as stair rails, sink handles and doorknobs are the most likely high-contact areas, and should be cleaned thoroughly.
A study in Time magazine showed antibiotics sales increased 65% in March 2020, but these won't have the desired effect. The Worth Health Organization stated antibiotics kill bacteria not viruses, making them useless in defending the body against COVID-19.
That doesn't mean COVID-19 patients aren't taking antibiotics. Doctors prescribe these for patients who have a secondary bacterial infection due to the virus weakening their bodies.
Seattle's Children Hospital has also discovered taking unprescribed antibiotics can cause side effects, making them both harmful and unhelpful.
The particles that make up COVID-19 are too small, and can easily pass through a lot of store-bought air alters. Some air filters may advertise their product as being able to suck up the virus, but assistant professor of microbiology Dr. Erin Sorrel says it's not true.
Even if the filter was able to do this miraculous task, it would take a minimum of 15 minutes to trap the microbes. By that time, people would already be exposed to and catch the virus.
Although some water purifiers claim they can filter out the virus, that's not true. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stated there is no evidence of COVID-19 living in tap water.
The CDC has also said most conventional water systems can effectively eradicate any potential traces of the virus by themselves.
By all means, purchase a water purifier if better-tasting water is necessary. But don't feel the need to stock up on them.
Of course, a pandemic is considered to be an emergency. However, there's no official end date for one. Pandemics can go on for months, even years. So, try not to use that emergency fund, especially if becoming jobless is a strong reality.
According to certitifed financial planner David Carlson, an emergency fund with six motnhs' worth of living expenses is a good place to start. There's never a bad time to start an emergency savings account, and Carlson says even saving as little as $500 will help in the long run.
With airplane ticket prices at an all-time low, it's very tempting to purchase one and hop on a plane. The European Union and the CDC strongly advise against this, encouraging only essential travel. Going on these trips might seem like a fun and exciting idea, but they come with several risks; there's a high chance of being exposed to COVID-19, or the return flight being canceled.
Luckily, CNN reported several travel companies and hotels are willing to refund and reschedule trips if this were to happen.
Due to CDC guidelines and social distancing rules, many big events had to be cancelled altogether, or rescheduled at some point in the future. It's understandable people would be rushing to rebook their event, waiting might be the best option.
A lot of wedding venues are facing this issue, as they have had to rebook their events scheduled in March and April. Those events will take priority, so booking a date as soon as September might be an issue.
It's been advertised "immune-boosting" foods are key to fighting COVID-19, but they can't do it alone. Professor of Immunology Charles Bangham reported the immune system is made of bodily systems and several organs. So, it's going to take more than just healthy foods to fight off the virus.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, a consistently healthy diet, exercise routine, and strong sleeping schedule are the key ingredients to keep the immune system healthy.
Essential oils may claim to prevent COVID-19, but there's no proof in that statement. The FDA and Federal Trade Commission filled joint letters against several essential oil companies.
The FDA has stated "there currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure [COVID-19],” so the best option is to save that money.
When a vaccine and or treatment is discovered, it will be endorsed by the government.
It's highly unlikely the U.S. would have an issue with their water supply due to COVID-19, but it might not be a bad idea to have a personal water supply.
Dr. Manisha Juthami from Yale School of Medicine says although “we are fortunate to live in a country where most of the tap water is drinkable,” people living in an area are recommended to keep a generous supply if something were to happen.
Having multiple copies of medical records are highly recommended in the event of having to remain indoors for a period of time. These records can be electronic or paper, and will help if a medical emergency were to happen.
This way, any medical professionals would be able to get the necessary information to provide proper care if the patient were to fall unconscious.
It's a very difficult change having to stay inside for long periods of time, and it's vital to remember the effects this can have on a person's mental health.
Watching T.V. is a good distraction, but it can get to be too boring at times. Having multiple forms of entertainment, such as books or board games, is recommended.
Accidents, unfortunately, happen a lot, and it's always best to be prepared. That's why it's best to have a first-aid kit ready to go if anything happens that doesn't need immediate medical attention. Having one nearby will come in handy, especially for pesky things such as cuts, burns, headaches, and allergies.
First-aid kits can be purchased at the store, or you can make one with supplies personalized to you and your family's needs.
Another important factor to consider when buying supplies is to consider the needs of pets. Like their owners, they need food as well. So, it's not a bad idea to buy some extra food for them.
It's also not a bad idea to buy them some new treats and toys to help them stay busy during this time either. Also, whenever the moment presents itself, take them for a walk or play their favorite game with them.