The CDC announced on February 25, 2020 that Americans should prepare for the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak. Although vaccine research is ongoing, it will not be available anytime soon. Current estimates are that the first vaccine in safety trials that may be available won’t be until April.1

There are a few possible treatments being tested in clinical trials in China but those are not around yet either.2 Also, Gilead Sciences announced on February 26, 2020 that they have initiated 2 phase 3 studies of investigational remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19.3
 
Whether you are planning to travel abroad, use public transportation, or are simply concerned about catching the virus in your local town, it is always a good idea to have an emergency preparedness kit. As pharmacists, patients are inquiring about these kits already, and recommending such items can help prevent a lot of worry.

The Pharmacist Moms Group has come up with a list of items you should recommend and keep nearby in case of an outbreak:

Prescription medications 
Ensure everyone has enough medication at home. If they are due for a refill, the time to fill is NOW. Encourage your patients to pick up their medications sooner rather than later.  

Over-the-counter items
  • Fever reducers are a must (especially if you have children). Ibuprofen and acetaminophen for adults and children’s liquid or chewables (ibuprofen or acetaminophen). 
  • Stay Hydrated items such as electrolyte solutions. The powdered versions are great because you can always save the rest for a later use if needed again. 
  • Hand sanitizer and soap. Make sure you stop the spread of germs
  • First aid kit: Band-Aids, gauze pads, alcohol and other essentials are a must
  • Prevent Nausea: Pretzels, crackers, ginger (or ginger ale), cola or cola syrup

Household supplies
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Feminine napkins
  • Napkins 
  • Garbage bags

Pets
Pick up extra pet supplies, foods and any medicines your pet(s) may need

Parents
Indoor/home activities for children to keep busy

Masks
Only the N95 works. It is currently very difficult to obtain them. As a health care professional, they will be essential when interacting with patients. Others may not need them. We still need to reserve these for those who truly need them.

Other items
  • Batteries
  • Extra cash in case banks are closed
  • Copies of all passports, licenses, birth certificates
  • Swiss army knife
 
Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS, is the founder and president of the Pharmacist Moms Group. 


REFERENCES
  1. Park A. COVID-19 Vaccine Shipped, and Drug Trials Start. Time website. https://time.com/5790545/first-covid-19-vaccine/ Published February 25, 2020. Accessed February 27, 2020.
  2. Bloomberg. A Chinese Drugmaker Has Started Mass-Producing an Experimental Drug for COVID-19. Time website. https://time.com/5782633/covid-19-drug-remdesivir-china/ Published February 12, 2020. Accessed February 27, 2020.
  3. Gilead Sciences Initiates Two Phase 3 Studies of Investigational Antiviral Remdesivir for the Treatment of COVID-19 [news release]. Foster City, CA; February 26, 2020: Gilead website. https://www.gilead.com/news-and-press/press-room/press-releases/2020/2/gilead-sciences-initiates-two-phase-3-studies-of-investigational-antiviral-remdesivir-for-the-treatment-of-covid-19 Accessed February 27, 2020.