The other day when I went to the nearby grocery store, the hand sanitizer racks were empty. Upon querying one of the staff, I came to know that they are re-stocking. Something similar was found to be with toilet papers and face masks. It was a scary feeling, maybe the world was supposed to end in 2020 and not in 2012, as rumored according to the Mayan calendar.
Stores without toilet paper looked unreal. This pandemic revealed how under-prepared we were in such critical times. Covid-19 brought the world to a complete stop. It is giving us all a lesson we should carry forth. The lesson of how well prepared our health systems should be during a pandemic, where, lockdowns will be a new reality. Stocking of medical supplies will become imperative.
Yes, the pandemic was teaching us what we forgot to gear up for while paying our bills and working throughout the day and night. We forgot that health should get prime importance, and having personal health management kits are worth paying for- above paying for that streaming app subscription.
Pandemic impact and the ripple effect
The spread of the virus has been rapid, almost grew uncontrollably. While countries have closed their border to restrict the further spread of the virus, masses at large have struggled to stock food and medical supplies.
The frontline workers have seen a tough time handling pools of patients. Operating hours shot up, and medical centers made efforts to align required equipment to handle increasing patient load. Most countries have struggled hard despite, having highly advanced health apparatus in place.
As soon as the Covid 19 became global, we were left on our own with instructions of hand sanitizing and social distancing. It was unfortunate to see that during these most crucial times, many tall claims collapsed. The protocols to follow during a pandemic were shared as the pressure of Covid numbers grew. Full body sanitization, face shields, and protective gears were brought much later, as the virus kept growing strong. The impact has been severe, and beyond perception.
Stocking up medical supplies
Hospitals and medical facilities were over-burdened, so stocking up medical supplies that were more than the first-aid kits was mandatory. Since pandemics don’t come with a warning, preparedness goes a long way. And lockdowns required us to stay indoors. I stocked these supplies before and during the pandemic to be safe at home.
Primary medical stocking supplies —
- Hand sanitizers: The most sought-after product during the pandemic, hand sanitizers were not easy to procure. Stores made frantic efforts to keep the shelves filled with alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Since, at the least sanitizers with 60% alcohols were required to effectively kill the microbes, procuring a good amount of sanitizers was first on the must-do list.
- Surface cleaners, liquids: The coronavirus could survive for 12-14 hours. Hence, buying good quality alcohol-based surface cleaners was also a priority. I also ensured that all other types of cleaning liquids like car cleaners- kitchen and bath cleaners are stocked at home.
- Facemasks: Masking face has become a new normal. Covering the lower half of the face for personal and social safety is the need of the hour. Therefore, stocking the required number of facemasks (better if reusable) is highly advised.
- Disposable or reusable gloves: We are touching so many things every minute. Laptop, kitchen counter, refrigerator, glass, cushions, and whatnot. When we go out, the number of things we touch multiplies. Having the stock of disposable gloves is necessary- if the gloves are sustainable and can be reused, then it will add to the health of the planet too.
Secondary medical stocking supplies –
- Soaps: Soaps are easily available in every store. Also, the supply of soap is quite stable and they are less harsh on hands due to the absence of alcohol in their formation. Soaps were good companions to take a break from alcohol-based products.
- Protective gears: Frontline workers like doctors, nurses, and support staff have worn layers of protective gears to fight against the pandemic. It was a good step to stock protective gear like clothing, goggles, face shield, & headcover.
- Medicines for fever, cough, and headache: Being unsure of what next, stocking over the counter medicines for fever, cough, and headache will surely help. Keeping these medicines handy is beneficial, especially when the total lockdowns can last for weeks.
- Ointments and pain spray: Ointments for muscle sprains or pains should not be missed. What if I sprain my ankle while running to grab hold of the sanitizer? Thus, keeping a good stock of such essentials is necessary.
- Bandages and wraps: Keeping bandages for cuts and wraps for compression of sprained muscles during the pandemic has some benefits. Sprains and twists happen without warning (just like the pandemic). Stocking bandages and compression wraps for quick use is wise, far better than seeing doctors in precarious times.
Things to avoid
When everyone is impacted and we can expect a shortage of supplies, so the first thing to avoid was panic buying. Restocking of commodities normally happens every week, hence thinking that the world will end without the toilet paper or sanitizers was unwise, so I preferred to wait. Meanwhile, I tried contacting multiple local dealers and traveled a little far for a stock load of sanitizer.
Paying less heed to the norms like social distancing, while advising others to stay away from me, was quite impractical. Hence, I almost calculated the steps for standing away from people and followed social distancing, religiously.
Holding on for some time at the billing counter was rewarding too. And, avoiding to touch every other product at the display outlet was an effort to be safe during the pandemic. I ensured to clean the surface of each product after buying to avoid the risk of contraction. Wiped clean all commodities and sanitized my hands, afterward to ensure that I did my bit to be safe and keep others safe around me.
The story so far
Even natural calamities like tornadoes and cyclones come with a warning. They destruct and leave. However, this pandemic launched a vicious attack on us, without any warning, unleashing a colossal impact. Virulent diseases have occurred in the past, as well, for example, the Spanish flue of 1918s, when millions succumbed to it.
On similar patterns, the Covid-19 has impacted the people at large. Scores have come under its impact across the world, no country is spared. There are citywide lockdowns and halting of business activities for weeks to control the active transmission.
Government departments and frontline workers are working, day and night to reduce the impact. Pandemic such as this has prompted us to contemplate future implications. We see, that we are not prepared enough to handle pandemics.
Being careful and prepared
Being in the year 2020, our health systems are functioning on traditional lines. The doctor to patient ratio requires to be increased and so does the protocols for people, arriving in health facilities every day.
The more we prepare, the more our coming generations will stay safe. Pandemic has brought in protocols such as social distancing and hygiene in focus. Things, which are taught to preschoolers, but not followed when they become adults.
A significant observation during these times, when we all are running to stock essentials to stay indoors under lockdowns. While stocking the medical supplies and other commodities, I ponder upon how we should be using our common sense more often.