What to buy for your home emergency kit if you’re quarantined during the coronavirus outbreak

conoravirus prepareconoravirus prepare

Skip the face masks and focus on food, water, and medical essentials.

MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images


  • As novel coronavirus spreads, voluntary or involuntary home quarantines could become more common.
  • Hundreds of people in the US and thousands around the world are already living in semi-voluntary home quarantine for 14 days after traveling to China, according to the Associated Press.
  • If you’re quarantined at home for two weeks, there are certain supplies you’ll want to stock up on like dry and canned goods — non-perishable food items like — one gallon of water per day for every person in your home, and a 30-day supply of any prescription medications.
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As the novel coronavirus spreads, more people may be put under home quarantine. 

Hundreds of US citizens evacuated from China’s Hubei province, where the outbreak originated, have undergone mandatory 14-day quarantines on military bases across the US. And others who were passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where at least 285 people tested positive for the virus, are in the middle of a two-week quarantine.

Thousands of others who have recently traveled to China are under a 14-day voluntary self-quarantine at home to see if they develop symptoms, as NBC News reported. 

The CDC is recommending that people who are sick with respiratory disease symptoms voluntarily stay home, even as the agency acknowledges that these symptoms are still more likely to be from the flu than the novel coronavirus.

In the case of any survival emergency, the American Red Cross recommends keeping a supply of food, water, and household supplies like laundry detergent and diapers if you have small children.

Here’s everything you should have in your home memergency kit in the case of a possible quarantine amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to the American Red Cross, the CDC, and other experts.

You should have a 14-day supply of food for everyone in your household. Focus on dry and canned goods that are easy to prepare.

food stockpile coronavirus

Stock up on non-perishable food items.

Jens Büttner/picture alliance via Getty Images


World Health Organization has hesitated to call the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, but some health experts say that it is.

The US Department of Homeland Security recommends stocking up enough food and water for two weeks before a pandemic strikes.

Dry goods like rice, pasta, beans, and oats should be the foundation of your stockpile, Alyssa Pike, registered dietitian and manager of nutrition communications at the International Food Information Council, recently told Business Insider.

You should also stock up on canned foods that contain liquid, such as tomatoes, beans, and tuna, according to Pike. The excess liquid can be used to cook dried food like rice and pasta. (Make sure you have a can opener.)

And don’t neglect comforting food items like chocolate and coffee, even if they’re not strictly essential. As Business Insider recently reported, such items can make a big difference in your mental health and morale during a home quarantine.

Keep at least one gallon of water per day for each person — and pet — in your home, the American Red Cross recommends.

water gallons

For a 14-day quarantine, you should have 14 gallons of water per person.

Getty Images/Duaa Awchi / EyeEm


If you have access to untreated water, you will want to buy water purification tablets and personal water filters to make it safe to drink, as the Oregonian reported.

Make sure you have hygienic products like antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, tissues, feminine care products, and diapers.

walmart hand sanitizer



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It may sound simple, but regular and thorough hand washing is one of the best and easiest ways to protect yourself from the coronavirus, according to the CDC.

So remember to include antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer in your home quarantine kit. 

Don’t forget hygiene items such as toilet paper, tissues, feminine care products, and diapers if you have small children in the household. 

Maintain a first aid kit with supplies to treat common injuries.

first aid kit



Getty Images/belchonock


You should have an at-home first aid kit to treat common injuries, including cuts, scrapes, swelling, sprains, strains and more, the American Red Cross recommends.

This kit should include things like antibiotic ointment packs, gauze, bandages, thermometers, scissors, tweezers, and an emergency blanket.

You may want to get copies of your health records.

medical records




John Moore/Getty Images



Again, the novel coronavirus has not yet officially been called a pandemic.

But in the event it becomes one, the Department of Homeland Security recommends getting copies and maintaining electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies.

Don’t forget about your mental health.

board game ipad game of life



Reuters/Ray Stubblebine


Some people under home quarantine told the Associated Press that they’ve taken the opportunity to binge Netflix shows and read some books.

In the case of a home quarantine, your mental health should also be taken into account.

Make sure to have entertainment items on hand such as books, board games, and card games. The Red Cross suggests games and activities for children.

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