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Preparing for a pandemic doesn’t include stocking up on toilet paper

Many store shelves in Arizona, and across the nation, have been cleared of things like toilet paper and cleaning supplies as worries about coronavirus grow.

PHOENIX — Many store shelves in Arizona, and across the nation, have been cleared of things like toilet paper and cleaning supplies as worries about coronavirus grow.

But none of those items are in the Department of Homeland Security’s list of things people should have in preparation for a pandemic. 

The department says people should:

  • Store a two-week supply of food and water.
  • Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
  • Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
  • Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference. Get help accessing electronic health records.
  • Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.

Some of those things, like having a two-week supply of food and water, are what the Red Cross says people should have for any emergency situation, not just coronavirus.

The department says people can do other things to limit the risk of coronavirus infection such as:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
  • Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

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