Why Should I Keep My Family Ready for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

People who are infected with coronavirus or are around someone who has it need to stay home to prevent spreading the virus.

When someone in the house is sick with COVID-19, everyone in the house must stay home for 1 to 2 weeks, depending on symptoms and COVID-19 test results. This is called quarantine or isolation. Keeping your household ready can reduce stress in case that happens.

What Do We Need to Be Ready to Quarantine?

It's best to prepare before someone in your house gets sick. Here are some ways to stock up at home and be ready:

  • Food and water. Choose food that doesn't need to be in the refrigerator and can stay good on the shelf for a long time. Buy canned foods and juices, rice, dried beans, granola bars, peanut butter, and dry cereal. Get baby foods, if needed. If you have pets, stock up on what they need.
  • Foods your family likes when sick. These might include things like soup, crackers, and fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Household supplies. Don't forget toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, toothpaste, and dish soap.
  • Medicines. Make sure prescriptions are filled and on hand. Get over-the-counter (nonprescription) fever reducers. Your doctor can advise you on how to use them.
  • A thermometer. Depending on your child's age, you might need a digital thermometer, temporal artery thermometer, or electronic ear (tympanic) thermometer.
  • Cleaning supplies. If someone is sick, regularly wipe down things that get touched a lot (like doorknobs, cellphones, and handles).
  • Plenty of hand soap. Using soap and water to wash hands when staying home is best. You can use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren't available. Safely store hand sanitizer and cleaning products out of reach of the kids.
  • Masks. Masks are important for going out. But they can also help stop the spread of COVID-19 at home. Indoors, anyone over 2 years old who is sick should wear a mask when around others to prevent spreading the virus. Other household members should wear a mask when around the sick person.

    Children under 2 years old and people who have trouble breathing should not wear a mask.

For more information on quarantine and isolation, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

What Else Should I Know?

If you aren't quarantining and need essential items, keep these tips in mind:

  • Try to go to stores during off hours when they might not be as crowded.
  • Wash your hands before and after going out.
  • Wear a mask in public.
  • Use online shopping with delivery or pick-up where available to limit the time you are in stores. Experts say to wipe down delivery boxes or open them outside if possible, and then wash your hands.
Back to Articles


Related Articles

Coronavirus (COVID-19): What Do Quarantine and Isolation Mean?

Some people with COVID-19 might need to stay home and away from others for a set time. This is known as isolation or quarantine. Find out what this means.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to Quarantine or Isolate at Home

Someone with a positive coronavirus test is infected and is contagious. They will need to stay home to prevent the virus from spreading to others. Here's how to quarantine or isolate at home.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: What to Do if Your Child Is Sick

There's still much to learn about COVID-19. Still, parents wonder what to do if their child gets sick during the pandemic. Here's what doctors say to do if your child has coronavirus symptoms.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Kids and Masks

Wearing masks helps to slow the spread of COVID-19. Some toddlers and young children may feel uneasy about masks. Here's how to reassure your child.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Social Distancing With Children

More and more people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19. But for now, it is safest to keep social distancing when out in public. Here's what that means.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is making people sick with flu-like symptoms. Read this article to learn how to protect your family, and to know when to call your doctor.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Keeping Kids Busy

Families everywhere are staying home to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). These tips can help you make the best of your time together.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Home Care & Precautions

Anyone who is sick — even if they don't know for sure they have coronavirus (COVID-19) — should stay home unless they need medical care. This helps prevent the illness from spreading to others.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to Talk to Your Child

Your kids are hearing about coronavirus (COVID-19). To make sure they get reliable information, here's how to talk about it.

Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Your Questions Answered

We're learning more about coronavirus (COVID-19) every day. Here are answers to some questions you may have about symptoms, care, and protecting your family.

Read More

Understanding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Looking for information about coronavirus (COVID-19)? Our articles and videos explain what the virus is, ways to prevent it from spreading, what it means for school and learning, and much more.

Read More

Coronavirus: What Kids Can Do

Here are the 4 best ways everyone (including kids) can help stop coronavirus.

Read More

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.

Search our entire site.