How To Protect Your Family From The Coronavirus

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I’d like to preface this discussion by saying that I am NOT a conspiracy theorist. I am not focusing on the coronavirus specifically, but I do take the situation we are witnessing as an example of why we prepare. I’m not attempting to create a sense of fear in anyone, but I would like to share what we are doing to prepare for the coronavirus and analyzing its threat to us.

You’ll find that almost all the advice I am giving is in-line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I am sharing practical ways that you can prepare and protect your family from the coronavirus or any other viral outbreak that may occur in the future. 

Before I go into details about the plans we have in place, I want to talk about the coronavirus and whether or not its a legitimate threat to the health and well-being of our families.

Is the Coronavirus a legitimate threat?

There’s a lot of people out there saying that this is a bunch of nonsense, and I really hope they’re right, but the transmission rate seems much higher than then flu. We don’t know the exact statistics, they are changing every day, but if you look at the statistics right now in America, where we have one of the best health care systems in place, it doesn’t look good. As of March 4, 2020, we have had 9 people die out of 100 people that have contracted the virus, in a seemingly short period of time.

It’s also worthwhile to consider Mohammad Mirmohammadi, the adviser to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. This man held a very prestigious position in Iran, and although Iran doesn’t have the same health care as America, you better believe he received the best care that Iran had to offer; they would have tried everything to keep him alive, but unfortunately their efforts could not defeat the virus. It doesn’t seem like anyone really knows the mechanism of the coronavirus to be able to combat it effectively. 

Because we are dealing with a virus that spreads rapidly, with no known vaccination, and on which we have limited knowledge to combat it, I would say yes, the coronavirus is a legitimate threat to us. Even if you do not fall within the virus’ most vulnerable demographic (older males), your contracting of the virus could very well put someone else in danger, whether its a complete stranger or a member of your family.

Is the Virus Slowing Down?

Many people think that the virus will subside as the weather warms up. I’m hearing this everywhere, but there are currently several cases in Sydney, Australia, where it’s the end of summer. It was 79o F in Sydney today (March 4, 2020) and it doesn’t look like that’s slowing the coronavirus down.

What is my approach to preparing for the coronavirus?


My approach to preparing for the coronavirus is not much different than the prepper advice you’ve heard from me many times before. A good prepper plan will keep you prepared for almost any disaster that could come your way, including a virus outbreak. The most important part of my disaster preparedness plans is securing a safe shelter with sustainable water, food, and power. Having a well-stocked shelter especially applies to the coronavirus situation we are seeing because in order to greatly reduce or even eliminate your risk of catching the virus, you need to stay home as much as possible. If you have the correct preparations in place, you’ll be able to stay home for extended periods of time, avoiding exposure to the virus. 

But as we know, every type of disaster calls for unique preparations; whether it’s a tornado, chemical spill, or flooding, and the coronavirus is no different. We have decided that the best preparations that specifically address coronavirus are to have a quarantine room and at-home treatment options. I will discuss these plans in full detail below.

I’m not a medical expert by any means; my passion is helping people make preparations for their family or group. So I hope that by having these recommended preparations in place, you will be able to protect you and your family from the coronavirus. 

Coronavirus Preparation #1: Stay Put

There are a lot of people freaking out because they don’t have access to the n-95 masks that have completely sold out, but you can prevent ever needing to use one by not putting yourself in exposure to the virus.

In regards to the coronavirus, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) has advised everyone to avoid exposure. Like any contagious illness, you are going to be at the highest risk of exposure around large amounts of people, so I’ve decided to stay home as much as possible. We’re seeing new cases being confirmed on a daily basis, and because there aren’t tests available, or at least affordable tests available, we still don’t truly know the status of the coronavirus; there could be hundreds or thousands of unconfirmed cases floating around for all we know.

I personally have also changed my travel plans. I was planning on traveling to New York this coming week and I’ve decided not to go. This was for my dad’s 75th birthday party, so he’s in the target group for the coronavirus being an older male. I had to ask myself if I  could potentially cause him harm by traveling 1,000 miles and staying in hotels before coming into contact with him. So I told my father ‘let’s let this blow over and we’ll celebrate your birthday later.’

I know some people work in hospitals or in the middle of the city, and they have no choice but to be in those places, but if you do have the choice, staying home is your best option. We are just learning that the Italian government is implementing plans to stop all unnecessary traffic to their biggest economical hub, Milan. This is a radical step that would no doubt affect many people and businesses, but it’s what they need to do to keep the virus contained and under control. 

In order to be able to stay at home for an extended amount of time, you need to make sure that you have the necessary preparations in place. This will prevent you from needing to go out and purchase these supplies later while everyone else starts having the same idea. The most essential preparations in this case are food and clean, uncontaminated water. 

Food Supply

Consider the food you have in your pantry right now. If you had to stay out of the grocery stores to avoid coronavirus, or if the shelves went empty, how long would you be able to feed your family with that what you have? 

I have visited thousands of Preppers and done a lot of consultations, and the most lacking preparation for all of them, across the board, was food. It doesn’t matter about coronavirus issues, with prepping in general most people do not have enough calories stored to take care of all the people in their family or group. 

I always suggest having a 2-4 week food supply that your family can rely on in case of an emergency. Read about my week-by-week food storage plan. This isn’t just for the coronavirus, but for disasters such as floods, hurricanes, or tornadoes; things you read about in the news every day that can suddenly render your local grocery store an unreliable source for food. Freeze dried foods are a great component of an emergency food supply because they can be stored for 30 years! However, with the virus spreading, people have caught on and there is now a very limited supply of freeze dried foods left from the major US companies. You can see what’s still in stock here. But we have also have compiled a list of long-term food options you can buy at grocery stores or prepare yourself. 

In addition to an adequate food storage, I also recommend stocking up on your everyday household items. My wife and I have been going to the grocery store and buying things just to fill in the gaps, not panic buying, but just taking an inventory. We’ve been sure to purchase seeds, food, toilet paper, etc.; everything that we already have, but that we were running low on.

Clean Water Supply

Another way you want to prepare your shelter is with a method of supplying clean water to your family. Using granular pool shock is a great method for creating a clean water supply. It’s not the bromides or the stuff that can kill you (not all pool shark is created equal), you are going to want granular calcium hypochloride. Today you can find brand-name HTH from 68-75%. You can do your own research, but I’ve already done it for you, and this is our best two-fold method for using granular pool shock to purify water. 

Part 1: Make the Solution Take one level teaspoon of the calcium hypochlorite and mix it with one gallon of water. You mix that thoroughly and let it stand for at least three minutes. This gives you a solution that you can use to treat your water so as to kill everything in it that may be potentially harmful to you. 

Part 2: Treat The Water Take two level tablespoons of the solution from part 1 and add it to 100 oz or 3/4 gal of untreated water and let that sit for an hour. Many people add that you should use two containers and move the solution back and forth between the two to allow the treated water to aerate and get rid of the nasty chlorine smell. You could also use a carbon filter or a Berkey that you can then pour the treated water through.

This is the simple two-part solution that makes a calcium hypochlorite chloride versus a sodium chloride (aka Clorox) which loses its strength after a period of time. This solution is the cheapest way to take care of the most people when it comes to water and is best when a filter is used after treating the water.

If you are interested in learning more about sustainable water options, read my guide on how to secure your off-grid emergency water source


While a sustainable shelter can be considered an essential part of any disaster preparedness plan, each disaster scenario can call for unique preparations. I’m going to continue this article by talking preparations that are specific to widespread, harmful, viral outbreaks such as the coronavirus. 

Coronavirus Preparation #2: Quarantine

What happens if someone in your family catches the coronavirus? 
I’m fortunate that I’m not working in a city for what I do because I’m not around a lot of people. I have the option of telecommuting and emailing from home as a part of my work. However, my 3 grown children are all in college and living in cities, which makes them more susceptible to catch a virus. It’s possible that they could bring the sickness to my life. So our focus has also been on a quarantine room in the case that somebody shows up on our doorstep sick.
The ideal situation is to have a place in the house, or another building, that has a separate living quarter, bathroom, and bedroom. The other thing is to have a negative pressure on that room so that no air is coming out of that area. Now you might be thinking, ‘how in the world am I going to achieve that?!’ Well, there are actually companies that make bad air conditioner units that provided a simple solution for you. 
I’m talking about those portable air conditioner units with a single hose that you just kind of roll up and place the hose through the window. These single hose portable units actually pull a negative pressure on the room that they’re running in (that’s why they’re so inefficient). They pull air out of your attic, underneath the doors, and out of the rest of the house, and push it through the window.  People usually only buy these units because they’re inexpensive, but they are actually a helpful, simple solution for negative pressure in a makeshift quarantine room. If you’re using one of these units already, you might have a room with negative pressure and you didn’t even know it!  Again, negative pressure is important because no air from what a sick person is breathing is circulating back through the rest of the home. 
Some people suggest putting a fan in the room, but this would not be ideal in cold weather unless you are using another unit to heat the house and to keep the person in the room warm. 

Coronavirus Preparation #3: Treatment

The third way to prepare for an viral outbreak is understanding how to treat the symptoms. In the case of the coronavirus, you DO NOT want to go to a hospital where there are a lot of people that are very sick; you want to be able to treat yourself at home by any means possible. This is exactly what the CDC recommends for anyone who has contracted the virus unless your condition is extreme and medical care is necessary. 
Having medical treatment supplies is an important part of prepping in general (always have cough medicine, Robitussin, Nyquil, etc. readily available), but do you understand the coronavirus and the symptoms it causes? And do you have supplies that can treat these symptoms from home? 
According to the CDC, Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The coronavirus is comparable to the flu in that they are both viruses that cause respiratory illness. 
My wife is a licensed pharmacist, she has helped many people with the flu before and is passionate about helping them find effective remedies. One drug she highly recommends is Oscillococcinum. This is not a cure-all by any means, but it has been a highly effective, over-the-counter medicine that is great for relieving flu symptoms. My wife worked very hard communicating with the manufacturers of this product. Oscillococcinum is a verified  German product and they sell a ton of it in Germany to treat flu-like symptoms.
We’ve used Oscillococcinum for a very long time, and my wife actually brought it into their pharmacy to sell. So  if we’re talking about preparing for the coronavirus which is said to have flu-like symptoms, Oscillococcinum is a great over-the-counter product (unlike Tamiflu) that has absolutely no side- effects. It works well for children and adults. We have the 30 dose family value pack. This drug has been used for years and years, having been developed in 1918. This product was developed then to fight the Spanish influenza, and it was very effective, and now we’re 100 years down the road it’s still being used effectively. The FDA doesn’t approve of it in the US, but it’s a widely-used, safe, and effective drug (there are no side effects). 

How Can Business Professionals Prepare for Coronavirus?

My sister owns two restaurants, where crowds of people gather regularly. Many people have warned her that her business could really suffer from the coronavirus as more and more people try to avoid crowds. My advice to her was to think about ways that she could alter her business model right now so that her business can stay afloat while until things settle down. 
For her work in the food industry, I suggested coming up with a method for people to quickly pick up their food without coming into contact with anyone. Most Americans are not well-prepared for these situations, they won’t have a stocked pantry or an emergency food supply that will last them for long periods of time, so giving them the option to safely purchase the meals they love would be a great way to prevent her restaurant from hurting during this time. 
My advice for business professionals in general is to work with your employer now to come up with ways that you can work from home later if needed. 
There’s a lot of ways you can think through on how to do business just a little bit differently so that you don’t have to throw up your hand say, ‘I’m done, I’m going bankrupt.’ If you’re a construction worker, you’ve got to kind of go to work, but if you’re working out of an office, there’s ways that you could possibly work with your your corporation or your company remotely. 
You could get on the company’s network or get on the corporate email, and be able to work from home. There’s a big difference in staying at home and working from home. By staying at home, you don’t get paid. Employers don’t like to do that, but the coronavirus might force businesses in some areas to this as a last resort. But if you go ahead and start preparing a way to work from home, your employer might even find out that this works pretty good; that they stood as a company and can be productive by having employees work remotely. 
I hired a couple this past year and I never see them. We just had one meeting and before that, I hadn’t seen them for two months. If they have an internet connection, they can do everything they need to do for me, even if they were working from another country. I find it pretty exciting that we live in a world with so many more options through technology.

Scott Hunt

Scott Hunt is the owner of Practical Preppers LLC and an expert on sustainable living. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York (1992). Scott is a sustainable living design engineer specializing in off-grid water and energy systems. “As a Prepper I strive towards self sufficiency, energy efficiency, alternative energy, conservation and helping others do the same.” - Scott