Mighty Blog

Coronavirus: Should families have back-up plans for sick days?

If you have been to a grocery store or a big-box retailer recently, you may see some eerily empty shelves. This is because over the last few months, many people have been stocking up on non-perishable food items and cleaning supplies as a reaction to the newest coronavirus, also called COVID-19.

While there is no need to panic, we’re sharing how you can make a family emergency plan that works for your family just in case you come down with an illness.

What are family emergency plans?

What should I buy in case of an emergency?

“Think about what you’d need if you couldn’t go shopping for a few days” said Wendy Berg, infection preventionist at Children’s Minnesota. “It’s a good thing to be prepared with a few extras on hand in case you are too ill to go to the store. But you don’t need to stock up for months.”

Non-perishable food

Purchase a few easy meals to keep on hand for your children in the event that you are ill and can’t go grocery shopping or cook as you typically would. Items like pasta and canned soup are great options because they are easy to make and kids love them.

Don’t forget about pets. Consider picking up and extra bag or two of pet food next time you’re at the store.


If you or your children take any medications regularly, don’t wait until the last minute to refill your prescriptions. It may also be a good idea to talk to your care provider or pharmacist about getting a 90-day supply of medication at your next refill instead of a 30-day supply. Many pharmacies offer delivery, ask about that – it might save you a trip!

Cleaning supplies

It’s a good plan to have some extra cleaning supplies to kill germs in the event that you or someone in your family gets ill. However, you do not need to buy any special cleaning supplies. The disinfectant that you usually buy will work great to kill germs on common household surfaces.

Think about who can watch your children

It can be hard to look after kids when you’re not feeling well yourself. When creating a plan for your family, you should think about who might be available to care for your children in the event that you feel too sick to do so.  Many school districts are setting up childcare for children of essential healthcare workers and first responders. Reach out to local grandparents, aunts or uncles, or a close family friend to see if they can help.

What should I do if someone in my family has coronavirus?

If you think you or someone in your household has coronavirus, or COVID-19, the most important thing you can do is stay home, and isolate the ill person from other household members. Please call your health care provider’s office or emergency department before seeking medical care so that they can be prepared for you. The CDC has guidelines for how to isolate and care for an ill household member.

Your healthcare provider will advise you on how to proceed and will direct you to the right health facility.