So, you’re facing self-isolation because of the coronavirus. This is a reality faced by more and more Aussies each day, out of an abundance of caution by workplaces and schools.
After that, it’s time to come to terms with the possibility that you may have to self-isolate for 14 days. Anyone believed to have had 15 minutes of face-to-face interaction a confirmed case, or spent more than two hours in the same room as them, will be contacted by health authorities. In most cases, close contact is made before a person even tests positive for the disease. People who have recently returned from China, Iran or South Korea must also self-isolate.
Here’s what you need to know as you prepare to quarantine yourself at home for two weeks.
Obviously you need two weeks’ worth of groceries as you won’t be able to go shopping. Frozen and canned foods will last the longest, especially if you’re buying well-before you self-isolate.
Combining carbs like rice, pasta or couscous, with canned beans and tinned fish (like tuna) is a good way to maintain a balanced diet without worrying about shelf-life. Frozen fruit and veg is the easiest way to make your greens last the whole isolation period.
Most dairy will last long enough in the fridge, but if you’re unsure or would like to prepare early, long-life milk is a safe bet. Nuts, lollies and pretty much any other kind of snack will also last well.
It’s important to note that supermarket supply chains are fairly resilient when it comes to crises. Yes, a cyclone can jack the price of bananas up, but there’s no reason to expect a shortage of any essential foods anytime soon. Buy what you need, and not what you think is about to run out.
Experts also note that it’s alright to have food delivered, so long as it’s left outside your door for you to collect when the person is gone.
Stock up on toiletries! Just not 500 rolls of toilet paper like half the country has done.
It’s important to remember everything you might need during the two weeks – toothpaste, shampoo, soap, detergent and others. Another thing is bin bags, as you’ll probably be producing a whole lot of rubbish that you can’t take out. Most people probably have enough toilet paper by now so it’s not even worth mentioning.
Hand sanitiser and disinfectant are also important so that you don’t contaminate anything/anyone while you self-isolate. However, keep in mind that these products alone are not a replacement for good personal hygiene, so read up on how to wash your hands.
Medicine is also important. Make sure you have a two-week supply of any prescription medication, and also stock up on over-the-counter drugs just in case the need arises.
When buying supplies, keep in mind that not everyone can afford to prepare. As we’ve seen with toilet paper, those most vulnerable are not able to keep up when everyone else is hoarding, and may be forced to go without, self-isolation or not.
Boredom and mental health
Self-isolation is lonely by definition. Take time to call friends and family, and use social media to keep in touch with the outside world. You were most likely doing this already.
Outside of that, you’ll need to think of some activities or projects to occupy yourself with. A gigantic puzzle is sure to take your mind of things, or you could just attempt a marathon gaming session and see what happens.
Don’t forget to have fun! Yes, there’s a possibility that you have the coronavirus, but that’s no reason to wallow in your own boredom. PEDESTRIAN.TV has put together a playlist of songs with 20-second choruses to wash your hands to. Another handy website even lets you come up with your own.
Beyond this, the Australian Department of Health has also put out a guide on how to monitor your health during self-isolation. It’s worth checking out.Image: Getty Images / Trevor Williams