Many people around the world have put their lives on hold while the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to spread. The virus has impacted just about every aspect of life, including workplaces, schools, sporting events, and entertainment. As the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO), continually update the public, many are panic buying. Items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and a variety of other grocery items have all but vanished from shelves. While some items have practical value during this time, hoarding of certain items has caused a problem for more people. Before you look for items to stock up on, we put together a “do’s and don’ts” list.
The Issue With Our Tissue
If you’ve been to a grocery store lately, hopefully, it was not for toilet paper. What was once just a quarrel between a few people in Australia over toilet paper has turned into a nationwide phenomenon. Reports of empty store shelves across the country have everyone confused and asking the same question, “why toilet paper?” Unfortunately, there seems to be no real explanation for America’s sudden toilet paper obsession.
However, some experts point to people wanting to feel prepared for an emergency, in this case, a pandemic. No matter the reason, panic buying toilet paper will not protect anyone from the coronavirus. Instead, it creates a shortage where people who need it cannot find it, such as the elderly or those who were already running low. As a result, many stores are limiting essential items per customer and some stores are letting the elderly and immunocompromised into stores first.
One of the most vital items to stock up on for families is prescription medications. If you or a loved one depends on a certain medication, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how to get an additional supply. The CDC website has a link to the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program, which assists those in a federally declared disaster area. The program allows for uninsured people to receive up to a 30 day supply of medication, vaccination, and more. Outside of prescriptions, people should have a supply of fever reducers, cold & flu suppressants and other over the counter medication. Thankfully, most over the counter medications are still effective at alleviating coronavirus symptoms.
As you may expect, store shelves are being emptied of many canned food items, nonperishables, and perishables alike. For those still looking to stock up a bit, here are some of the best items according to CNN:
- Beans, legumes: rich in nutrients, and a great source of plant protein.
- Canned Fish: tuna, salmon are great sources of nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids.
- Nut Butters: good source of protein, and pairs well with other items. Anyone with a nut allergy could use sun-butter, a sunflower substitute.
- Grains: whole-wheat pasta, bean pasta, quinoa or brown rice.
- Steel Cut Oats and Cereal: a great source of nutrients and you only need some additional ingredients to make it extra tasty.
- Canned Fruits and Vegetables: Canned fruits and vegetables hold their natural nutrients and flavors while maintaining a great shelf life
- Dried Foods: Any dried foods and popcorn are great, healthy snacks.
Before you go to your local store to panic buy items, consider what you need and what you don’t. Items such as toilet paper and hand wipes are necessary but hoarding them hurts many. In general, hoarding items helps only the hoarders and puts people who need these items at risk as they search stores. Instead, stock up on medications and items that can last as we navigate this pandemic.
Stay safe and stay healthy.