Latest News

Preparing for a Pandemic

March 19, 2020 | Support, Uncategorised

For us in New Zealand, it seems that the threat of coronavirus (COVID-19) has suddenly become very real. It’s easy to be caught off guard and unprepared – the pantry not quite full enough to last more than a few days. Unpreparedness is a problem when self-isolation or quarantine may be needed to protect your health or the health of others.

What should we be doing now, to prepare for natural disasters or a global pandemic? Here are four simple steps.


1. Plan, don’t panic

To-do list
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Setting a good strategy is the first and most crucial step to successfully navigating coronavirus or any other pandemic.

Start by talking with the people you live with and discuss how coronavirus might affect you and your way of life. Consider the implications of self-isolation on work, food, and support.

Take a look in the pantry. Think through the food you’d need if you were to be quarantined for two weeks. Here’s a healthy and straightforward 14-day meal plan that uses freezable meats, pantry staples, and frozen veggies. Using a meal plan is a great way to guard against panic buying while ensuring that you get everything you need.

Consider your medications: do you have enough medicines to last you for two to three weeks? If you are taking immunosuppressive disease-modifying therapies (DMTs), contact your neurologist to discuss any alterations to your medications. You can find more information on drugs here.

If you need to work from home, look through your diary and think through the resources you’ll need to be able to do your job. Do you have the files and computer access you might require?

Write it all down, create a to-do list and plan your groceries. Here’s a helpful list of items you might need – use it to as you formulate your plan.


2. Get some food in the pantry

When it comes to food, it’s tempting to panic and purchase more than you need. Overstocking your supermarket trolley isn’t helpful for anyone, so remember to keep calm and only buy what you need. New Zealand supermarkets are working hard to keep their stock levels high, so there isn’t much risk of them running out of food.

If you don’t want to head into the supermarket, consider purchasing your food online and have it delivered. Buying online is an excellent option if you live in or near a main-centre in New Zealand. Here are some options:

PAK’nSAVE and New World both offer a click-and-collect option that can minimise your exposure to the supermarket.


3. Set yourself up for good hygiene practices

Make sure you have access to a good supply of:

  • Handsoap
  • Hand sanitizer (but don’t go crazy with this!)
  • Hand moisturiser (to deal with dry skin from all the hand-washing)
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Tissues

Follow the Ministry of Health hygiene guidelines to keep you and others safe.


4. Keep informed

Keep an eye out for the latest Ministry of Health announcements and recommendations. Here are some helpful links:

If you think you’re developing symptoms of COVID-19 you can:

  • Phone the Coronavirus Health Information Line 0800 358 5453
  • Phone your GP for an appointment. Please phone ahead to make an appointment.


Feature photo by nrd on Unsplash