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.