Should You Stock Up?

Sick Child is Offered Some Sustenance from a Girl Acting as Nurse
Sick Child is Offered Some Sustenance from a Girl Acting as Nurse

All the furor over the swine flu (which may or not be justified, we’ll have to see how it plays out) is resulting in news reports suggesting that people should stock up on food, water, medicine, etc. in case a pandemic wipes out our already struggling economy.

Of course, if everyone followed this advice, it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because most grocery stores keep very little in reserve, instead relying on a steady stream of deliveries to keep their shelves stocked. It only takes a little fear-mongering to quickly clear those shelves.

Nevertheless, it’s always wise to keep a small stash of necessities in your house. (Learn more about stashes here.) I learned this the hard way when my husband and I were struck by a rough flu bug at the same time. Back then we had two toddlers; keeping them fed and their diapers changed was all I could do because I had a fever and was so dizzy. But my poor husband was even sicker than I was. So when we discovered we were completely out of acetaminophen and pop, guess who got to drive to the store to buy more? I was the logical choice, being the less dizzy of the two people in the house with driver’s licenses.

That was over 20 years ago, but I remember well driving down the highway and then trying to aim at the parking lot of the store and thinking, “I have no business driving in this condition.” It was all I could do to stumble into the store, buy what I needed (imagine the clerk’s joy over waiting on someone as sick and probably contagious as I was) and make it back home.

That experience made me decide I would never let my family be caught sick without supplies again. Since then, we always have acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin in the house. I keep spare containers of drink mix just in case. Crackers, applesauce and rice are also good things to keep in the pantry for recovering patients.

So, should you stock up in case the swine flu makes it to your neck of the woods? That’s up to you, but I highly recommend that you make sure you at least have the basics in good supply at your house, because even if the swine flu turns out to be just another bug, you know how families share germs. Sooner or later, you’ll be glad you don’t have to run out for supplies when you’re feeling awful.

9 thoughts on “Should You Stock Up?

  1. Very good advice. I have been slowly trying to stock up on non-perishables and bottled water. I heard on the radio yesterday that the rule of thumb for water is 1-2 gallons per day per person. The guy was recommending a 30-day supply. I don’t have room to store that much water! I’ll be happy if I can reserve a 7-day supply. The same guy also recommended–I think–N-95 masks for protecting against airborne particles.

  2. We have so much in common! I have always stocked up – primarily to run a more efficient household. I am also the frugal type and only like to buy expensive items such as meat when on sale. So, the pantry is well-stocked and so are the freezers.

    I even keep powdered milk in the pantry!

    I’m hoping and praying this swine flu will fizzle out. I have a feeling it will be back but hopefully after we have an effective vaccine. My hubby is a health care provider in the ER when not on sabbatical so he works in an environment where contagious diseases are rampant – we are always at risk…

  3. In my church, we’ve been advised for decades now to prepare every needful thing and to build a supply of food (at least 1 year per person). It is, to my way of knowing, definitely prophetic and we’re only beginning to see reasons for it to be such. There’s lots of info about it: Food Storage. If you’re interested lds.org has many talks and some links. :)

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  5. I do keep the basics on hand, for a number of reasons. If you read my blog at all (Sometimes you do, I think?), you know I’ve been talking about the pantry for about a year now. It’s not where I want it, but we’re in much better shape than we were this time two years ago when the whole family got a nasty bug that lasted ten days per person. We spent the better part of a month trying to get everyone well. After that, I made sure I had everything in the house that I had to run out for during that month of illness. Currently, our city is completely out of hand sanitizer. After a confirmed case of Swine Flu, it took about a week for the stores to run out. Now you can’t find it anywhere. Once things start making the news, everyone wants to stock up, so it’s better to think about these things ahead of time.

  6. We live in an earthquake-prone area so we make sure to have a decent emergency supplies kit. We were just talking the other day about adding some N95 respirators to it in case there ever is a severe outbreak of some infectious disease.

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