There is a lot of hype about ebola right now. There is also a lot of confusion. Regardless of what ‘they’ say, it is just common sense to be prepared to keep the family at home for a few days, should a case be identified in your area, or when the flu goes around later in the year. Here are 3 simple things you can do to prepare your family to stay away from public contact.
Stock up on Groceries
Head out now and get the ingredients and supplies for your family’s favorite meals and snacks. If you want to stay home for awhile, you certainly do not want to venture out to the grocery store unnecessarily. This might be a fun time for hot dogs or a pot of chili outside over a bonfire.
Or perhaps cooking and baking together is a favorite family activity at your house. In that case, stock up on supplies for serious cooking. And remember, there is no rule that says you can only have a big turkey dinner on a holiday. If you would rather spend this precious time with family than doing dishes, stock up on paper products – and do not forget the toilet paper!
This is also a great time to make all of the Christmas cookies and freeze them. It will take pressure off of that busy holiday season. Make meals in a jar, either for preparation or as gifts. You can also bake pies and cakes to load up the freezer. Use them as gifts for friends and neighbors and you will be ahead of the Christmas game!
Build Your Family’s Health
Begin a good multi-vitamin/mineral regimen to boost the immune system. Begin cooking from scratch to reduce the amount of preservatives in your food. Create a family exercise plan – starting by just playing outside! Have your medicine cabinet stocked with everything you need to fight off colds and flu from home – the last place you want to go to avoid illness is the doctor’s office!
When you finish that Thanksgiving turkey, boil the carcass to make some healthy, soothing broth. Freeze it and then you can pull it out if someone at home gets sick. This could give the immune system more of a boost than chicken bouillon. Stock up on gatorade, or pedialyte, or whatever your family members want when they are sick. That way, if someone in your family gets a normal virus during your time at home, you will have the products on hand to comfort them.
Get Supplies for Family Activities
This could be a great time to practice family emergency preparedness. Turn off the electricity for an evening and make a list of everything you wish you had. Regroup, re-stock, and turn the power off for 24 hours! How would you fare? Since you have a captive audience, this is also a good time to review defensive hygiene techniques – handwashing, keeping your hands off of your face, etc.
Have you always wanted to learn how to make candles? Or soap? Or how to knit? Purchase some supplies now, and then when your family is hiding out for a bit, you can attack your new challenge. Make it a family activity. Make Christmas gifts. Collect a little inventory that you can sell online or when you venture out into the world again. Ask family members what they would like to do, and then prepare accordingly.
Create a little stash of normal household products so you don’t have to go out: toilet paper, diapers, wipes, dish and laundry soap, batteries for toys. You are taking the time to prepare your family to stay home for several days – think it through so you will be as comfortable as possible.
Collect some special toys and games that you will only pull out if you decide to quarantine your family for a time. This will give bored children, who are without their normal routine, some new fun things to focus on. (Buy the batteries, too.) You might want to get some DVD’s or computer games that the family has not seen yet.
Keep Educational Activies on Hand
Prepare to keep the children’s education going if they have to be away from school. Stay informed about what topics your children are studying and always have library books and movies on hand. Also be sure to have age appropriate art supplies on hand. A brand new box of crayons and brand new coloring books are guaranteed fun for the littles. Some new workbooks or activity books that you can pick up at the local Walmart can keep bored brains active. Educational DVDs are also good, and don’t forget the internet.
You can always get creative, too. If you have a sewing machine, stock up on a little material and some patterns for home ec. Collect some scrap wood and tools, or an old lawn mower that needs repair, and voila: Shop class! This could be a good time to begin a nature journal (or any other kind of journal, for that matter.) Write a novel with contributions from the whole family. Write letters (the old-fashioned kind) to friends and relatives. (Buy stamps a head of time!) Begin a family genealogy project. Find math lessons while you are cooking, baking, and helping Dad with that honey-do list.
Ultimately, remember not to stress out. Even if there were an ebola case near you or if the flu breaks out early this year – or if you get snowed in later in the season – you aren’t all going to be stuck at home forever. But being prepared can ease a whole lot of concerns both now and if something were to happen. Or, when nothing happens, you’ll have freezer meals and plenty of fun stuff on hand!