COVID at home: prepare for a severe case

Covid might seem so January 2022, but if it stays true to form, there is likely to be another variant and another peak at some point. So I thought this was worth posting!

We had a covid case in the family during the omicron peak that became somewhat serious despite the person being vaxxed, boosted and taking paxlovid. (one bad night, but all turned out fine). In most ways I was prepared, but I had one important gap, which was figuring out in advance how to get medical help and support after hours. This was for that all important “should we go to the ER??” call in the middle of the night when we knew the ERs were completely overwhelmed, and my relative was fighting me on it, and I didn’t know what to do. If I had thought to find out ahead of time what my after hours resources were, I would have been better prepared. My overall suggestion is to remind people that even now, covid can randomly hit you hard, and it’s good to prepare in advance and also the second you get a positive test – just in case it does. Here are my tips! 

Ahead of time:

  • Have at-home rapid tests so you can test as soon as symptoms appear.
  • Have a primary care doctor if you can. If you have barriers to health care, try to identify a free clinic or other medical resource you can turn to if needed.
  • Know ahead of time if/how you can get medical help/advice after hours. Many primary care services have an on call doctor, and health insurance companies may have a nurse help line. You may also have a close relative or friend who is a medical professional.
  • Have a pulse ox and a thermometer at home
  • Ideally have a blood pressure cuff and know how to use it
  • Have basic meds on hand like tylenol, chloraseptic, anti-diarrhea 
  • Have gatorade, pedialyte or similar on hand
  • Have plenty of easy to prepare food in the house
  • Have a plan for who you can turn to for errands and other help

As soon as you get a positive test:

  • Contact your doctor or a clinic and find out if you can get an anti-viral pill or other treatment. DON’T WAIT for it to get serious!!!! Start the ball rolling now, even if you feel mostly fine. It sometimes takes time to get it, and it is most effective if you take it as soon as you get symptoms.
  • Go over the list above and address any gaps. Order or have a friend/family member drop off any meds/equipment/food you need.
  • If you don’t already know how to get medical advice/help on weekends or after hours, find out now! If covid does take a turn for the worse, it’s practically a given that it will happen in the middle of the night or on a weekend.
  • Take a baseline pulse ox reading and temperature, write it down, and keep monitoring.
  • Familiarize yourself with emergency symptoms. Go over them with your household so you are on the same page about when to get help.
    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion
    • Inability to wake or stay awake
    • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
  • Remember hydration! You need to drink more when you have a fever, and things like sweating and diarrhea make you require even more fluids. If you already feel horrible, you might not notice you are getting dehydrated. My relative’s bad night was in part due to dehydration, which led to low blood pressure and passing out. Low blood pressure made it hard to get a pulse ox reading. Scary! 

That’s a LOT of bullets but it really doesn’t take that much time to go through. If you get covid, you will probably be fine – but just in case, prepare!


  • Comments (68)

    • 9

      Oh hey, just want to add, since so many things are becoming expensive and unavailable now due to disruptions from the war….now is actually a great time to pick up covid supplies instead. There’s no panic buying over covid now! You can easily pick up masks, hand sanitizer, a pulse ox, and rapid tests ahead of the next wave. Get ’em now if you don’t have ’em!

      • 5

        I’ve been picking up free masks and hand sanitizer from various businesses or events and storing them for a future pandemic. The hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes at the store is dirt cheap like 49 cents for a large bottle. You are right that now is the time to buy.

      • 2

        Any recs on pulse ox brands or models that are actually good? Seems from some cursory DuckDuckGoing like the quality/reliability of these varies… widely…

        I didn’t buy one earlier in the pandemic, but now that my work requires me to spend 4 hours/week in a room with 60 people who need only mask if they feel like it, I’m feeling a lot more attracted to the idea of having one on hand.

      • 1

        One thing a nurse I know recommends is to take your home pulse oximeter and home blood pressure monitor (if you have one) to your next medical appointment, and compare your readings with the equipment in the medical office.  It’s a good way to “sanity check” the equipment. 

        We bought some off of Amazon that seemed to align quite well with what the medical offices were reading. I would provide a link but it is showing as no longer available. It’s actually a pretty good story as I look back on it – we bought the pulse oximeter for Covid reasons, but a family member ended up having odd heart symptoms. We used the readings from the pulse oximeter (which also measured heart rate) to do a telemedicine visit with a cardiologist, who sent them to the ER. The ER readings aligned perfectly with the cheapo Amazon gadget!  All’s well that ends well and the family member is fine; it was great to have the device to help decide “ER or no ER” during the pre-vaccine part of the pandemic (the blood pressure monitor played a role too – thank you, The Prepared, since because of you we had both of these on hand).

        The cardiologist told us the limits of the pulse oximeter for measuring heart rate but that’s beyond the scope of this reply!  It’s good for what it does but is obviously not as precise as the ER equipment for heart-related things. 

      • 2

        Thank you for your post. My wife and I are in our 60’s and she has multiple co-morbidities but we got through COVID in February without significant problems. Mostly like a bad cold with some very odd symptoms.

        We did not have diarrhea and therefore did not need ORS, however, I am interested in preparing for another round of COVID and have a problem; my wife cannot tolerate table sugar due to ulcerative colitis. I would likely replace the sugar with honey in a warm solution and ask her to drink it like a tea.

        Any thoughts?

      • 1

        Shaun, I’m so glad you made it through Covid safely. As for the oral rehydration solution, I strongly recommend you ask her physician for the best advice for that. Ulcerative colitis is very serious and the best advice will come from a physician experienced with that condition and ideally with her health specifically.  With or without covid, knowing how to treat dehydration for her in any kind of emergency is vital information to have.

        It might even be good to have a discussion about how to have extra doses of her other meds etc. in light of supply chain problems. A family member of mine with another kind of autoimmune disorder was able to get several months’ worth of extra meds to have on hand during the pandemic from an understanding physician (she did have to pay for them out of pocket since her insurance wouldn’t help, but luckily they weren’t terribly expensive)

        Good luck to both of you!

    • 4

      Thanks for this post.  I know better how to do this for my pets than I do for the humans in our home.  Mostly because it has been needed more for the pets – thankfully.  

    • 6

      I have a card on my fridge with this image.


      I was given it when the kids were little and it’s been on the fridge ever since. It’s cheap, effective and uses store cupboard ingredients. 

      • 2

        Could you just make a pitcher of Kool-aid with a pinch of salt? That’s what your recipe looks like.

      • 7

        For oral rehydration salts it is essential to have precise ratio of sugar and salt.  It seems very – basic – but it can be lifesaving (I speak here from experience).  People think “Oh Koolaid!” or “Have some tea!” or “water is just fine!”, but particularly when you have diarrhea that precise ratio allows your intestines to absorb more fluid, quickly, than they get rid of.  This helps your whole system recover.  There’s plenty of published research on it which is fascinating. This ratio has saved thousands if not hundreds of thousands of lives; worthwhile reading.  

        I keep a one liter bottle with the recipe above, plus a packet of lemon flavoring (just to make it taste better), so that all I have to do is mix it up and drink it.  It’s hard to think, or find a bottle, or measure sugar, when you have a high fever (again I speak from experience). And I always travel with two pre-made packets. 

        I also keep “shopping lists” in my online grocery shopping apps with my “comfort foods” for illness. Because it is hard to think or decide on supplies when sick, I can just log in to the app, select that list, add everything to the cart with delivery, and check out.  While I do have plenty of supplies at home, it is nice to have fresh orange juice etc. when sick.  

        Having a blood pressure cuff and pulse oximeter at home saved us at least three trips to the ER (for non-Covid reasons) during Covid times. The doctors on call felt very comfortable making decisions when we had those readings. The one time we DID have to go to the ER, having the readings helped them figure out what was going on and solve it more quickly.

        And finally, I’m fortunate enough to have a guest room, and I have it pre-made as a sick room. There’s a cabinet with all the supplies a sick person could need (including crackers, drinks, snacks, etc), a humidifier, etc.  Knock on wood I haven’t had to use it but it’s nice to know it’s there. I wouldn’t want to have to set up a sick room WHEN I am sick.   

      • 2

        So you use the same recipe that is in the picture above with a touch of lemon flavoring? That is very smart to set up a sick room in the guest room.

      • 6

        Yes. You can use any flavoring you like as long as you don’t mess up the sugar/salt ratio. I typically use Crystal Light lemonade, because it is sugar free and I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. I don’t want to use the flavors I do like when I’m sick, because then I associate them with being sick and it ruins them for me!

        Flavoring is of course entirely optional – you can drink it “straight up” – but it doesn’t taste very good.  Having it very cold is my preference also.

        This whole thread prompted me to go revisit that rehydrate.org site and there’s some fascinating stuff about zinc supplementation on there, too, that I did not know (in the context of dehydration).  

        The guest room sick room was prompted a few years ago when I got the flu.  I had never actually had the flu. All those times I said, “I have the flu” – it wasn’t. Those times were just a bad cold. The flu was so bad that I couldn’t do anything. Couldn’t go to the grocery store (this was in the days before deliveries), couldn’t cook, couldn’t – anything. I went from feeling fine to crying on my couch in two hours flat, and it lasted two weeks. I would have given my eyeteeth then for a room already set up with crackers etc, so now I’m ready whenever illness strikes again. 

        This is why we call the site “The Prepared” instead of “The Repaired”.  The Repaired site is for folks who got to things too late!

      • 2

        That is a great idea having some ready mixed ‘to go’ I was given a number of small bottles that I’m struggling to find a use for and they will fit the bill. Thanks! 

        Having had Covid, I can say that the rehydration solution is pretty much essential. I was off food and anything but barely flavoured water for several days and this recipe was all I could manage. 

        +1 on the flu! My mum always said when any of the family said they had the flu “if you can still walk and whine, you do not have the flu” 

        I had Hong Kong flu in the 60’s, OMG I wanted to die!  

      • 1

        I think it would be good to have a rehydration drink with electrolytes in addition to water, sugar, and salt. Like Gatorade or Pedialyte. I have POTS and drink a lot of sugar-free Propel bottles made by Gatorade. The six-packs would be good to have on hand. Although the sugar might be desirable for dehydration from illness.

        Fluids and Electrolytes for POTS

      • 1

        There are many products which come as powder to be mixed with water for rehydration: that would be more practical.

      • 2

        How do you package your pre made packets? I usually use the small daily pill zipper baggies but they’re kinda messy.

        I would think that vacuum packed would be most efficient but effort.

        I also think all the pre planning for sick is really smart

      • 2

        I got an 5 gallon dispenser sized powdered Gaterade at the Grocery Outlet a few months back for cheap.  I also have water bottle sized packets in our kits.  Both are available at Amazon/Walmart or have it delivered once you know you’re positive (consider the supply issues). 

        And yes, Frank, all of these are just Kool-Aid with electrolytic salts – sodium, potassium. The recipe above has less sugar than Kool-Aid as does Gatorade, but not by a lot. 

      • 3

        I was always taught 1 Litre water, 1 Tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt. Tastes disgusting but I have been in a situation where I have needed it and it worked.  I got really sick (I didn’t think to wash my hands after turning fertilised eggs in the incubator) and couldn’t keep any water down. When I almost collapsed I realised I was dehydrated, so I made the recipe up. I could sip it and keep it down. Tasted disgusting but it worked.

    • 5

      Add to that a plan for isolation of the sick person and protection of yourself and other people in the household. If possible, put the person in a room with a door that will close and a window that will open for ventilation. Keep the number of people who have contact with the patient to a minimum. Wear masks and gloves when tending to the patient, discard those immediately after contact, and be careful dealing with emptying waste baskets or handling other materials which might be damp from sputum. With gloved hands, put used bed linen and towels in a trash bag and dump them directly into the wash machine without handling, (I picked up a nasty case of norovirus from my sick 1 year old great nephew by carrying his damp used towels to the laundry area hugged to my chest after he became soiled from diarrhea and needed to be bathed.  I learned my lesson from that one.) And keep easy to eat food, drinks, and disposible hygiene products, like premoistened bath cloths or wipes, by the bed so the person can take care of some of their own needs. 

      • 2

        Norovirus is horrible! I got that in a large camping event which was no fun to live with in a tent. Imagine puking outside then having to get a shovel and bury it

      • 3

        Norovirus is why I know how to make oral rehydration salts!

        And why I was nuts about hand washing even pre-Covid. Anyone who has had it, knows. It’s just so awful. And so contagious. 

    • 9

      Thank you for your post and for the encouragement to continue to take covid seriously. I’m as tired of covid as much as the next person and with case numbers dropping, mask mandates falling, and not seeing it in the news as much, I have been under the relief illusion that it’s over and we are done with it. Hopefully that is the case, but you remind me that it could pop up again and we should be ready for it.

      Because I thought it was over I didn’t order my free set of covid tests from the USPS. But I have since gone and ordered a set because of your recommendation at https://special.usps.com/testkits. Now I will be a little bit more prepared if I ever have some of the covid symptoms and can check myself.

      Check if your doctor’s office has the option of doing telehealth appointments. When you are sick, the last thing you want is to drive down and wait in a waiting room. If you have things like a pulse ox, thermometer, blood pressure cuff, and such at home you can take your vitals before your telehealth appointment and tell those to your doctor who will then send you to a lab to get tested or just advise you over the video call. More offices should continue to do this because the past couple doctors appointments I have had, the doctor didn’t even touch me and could have done it all remotely.  

      It’s important to have a list of friends and family members who can run errands for you. Or better yet have a good food storage lined up so you don’t have to. Please don’t go and infect others at the store because you aren’t prepared.

      • 2

        Same here Frank.  I had left the free ones for folks who need to test a lot for their school or work since we are fortunate enough to work from home and tests were nowhere to be found.  I’ve since gotten mine since if we do get it, we’ll need to test to ensure it’s safe to venture out to the market.  I’ve seen kits at the stores now as well.  

      • 2


        Got my second two pack of free covid tests from USPS. Thanks again @July Lewis for the encouragement to get these.

    • 2

      Sorry you and family had to go through this. Glad everyone is ok. Thank you very much for passing on what you have learned! 

    • 3

      Great advice above.  I’d add that one should have the materials for a Corsi-Rosenthal box (i.e., a giant and cheap DIY HEPA filter) on hand. https://cleanaircrew.org/box-fan-filters/

      Our oldest picked up Covid in Dec/Jan, and I’m convinced that having one of these running right outside her door (she isolated in her room most of the time) 24/7 was a big part of keeping the rest of the family from getting it.

    • 0

      My wife and I have Omicron in early February and had much of what you list. We are both in our 60’s and my wife has many comorbidities.

      We monitored temperature and oxygen levels and hydrated quite a bit. We also moved around as much as we could and showered daily. It lasted 5 days but we each had different symptoms. We did not have gastro problems and as a result thought it was not as bad as some cases of influenza in the past.

      Two of our adult kids got it and it was similar to the flu. Two other adult kids did not get it but have subsequently tested positive for antibodies.

      My wife and I started Ivermectin and additional vitamin D when symptoms appeared.

      We are glad we got Omicron rather than Delta.

      • 5

        Glad it wasn’t bad and you recovered! For those reading:  https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/why-you-should-not-use-ivermectin-treat-or-prevent-covid-19

      • 8

        On the March 22 news roundup an article was shared that says: “Another large study shows no benefit from ivermectin as a COVID therapeutic. It’s one of the largest studies to date and it’s a randomized, controlled trial”

        Lots of conflicting info out there isn’t there? Consult your doctor, do your research with trusted and reputable sources, and make the best educated guess you can on what the best forms of treatment for you are. 

      • 12

        This reminds me of an earlier topic I posted, “Evaluating Information – A Prepper Skill”. The ivermectin question is an important example. There’s certainly lots of information out there saying it’s effective, and other information saying it is not. Obviously I believe it is probably not. So here’s a looooong digression where I talk about the issue and the points you raise through that “evaluating information” lens, basically how I evaluate the info and why I reach the conclusions I do. 

        You mention talking to people who took ivermectin for covid and think it helped them recover. Social information can be very valuable in certain contexts, but I don’t find it reliable for medical information, especially when it conflicts with reliable research. That’s because we as humans are prone to some really strong cognitive biases when it comes to medicine. When faced with illness, people prefer to do something rather than nothing. When they recover, they tend to attribute the recovery to the thing they did, rather than the natural recovery process. There’s also the placebo effect – if someone takes something believing it will help them, many times they will actually feel better/show improvement. And then once a belief is formed – this thing works! – confirmation bias takes hold and we keep believing it even in the face of evidence to the contrary. That’s why the scientific method is so vital in medicine – we have so many psychological mechanisms in place to tell us something is effective when it isn’t, that we need the scientific method and well-designed studies that correct for confirmation bias and the placebo effect, to ascertain what actually works.  

        You mention “A friend in Belize has a son who’s a doctor in Honduras, who says that the government there recommends that it be used to treat Covid.” I can’t confirm that but I don’t doubt it….there were early studies that were really promising for ivermectin, and some doctors/governments got on board with recommending it. It’s a safe (when used correctly) and pre-approved drug, so with some indication it may be effective, they went ahead. Yet they are outliers, especially as more and more evidence mounts that the initial studies were flawed, too limited or falsified. Larger and better studies keep coming up with the same result – it’s ineffective against covid. But because of confirmation bias, when people get invested in a treatment – even doctors and scientists and governments – they often persist in believing it. This New York Times article (sorry, paywall) does a great job summarizing the evolution of research on ivermectin for covid. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/30/health/covid-ivermectin-hospitalization.html 

        “Dr John Campbell in his popular YouTube videos on Covid has had several in which he discusses studies showing how it helps, and has interviewed doctors who also recommend it.” I looked him up and one of the first things it says on his Wikipedia page is that his videos contain misinformation including false claims about ivermectin. It sounds like he has had some insightful and helpful things to say in his videos, but at times has misrepresented research and contributed to misinformation. 

        But there’s a bigger question in how I personally evaluate the information – why do I believe the FDA and not the people you talked to who took ivermectin? Why do I believe Wikipedia and not John Campbell? Why do I trust scientific consensus over outliers who recommend ivermectin? Because of my fundamental sense of how the world works. Because we WANT to find a cure for covid. Since the start of the pandemic, governments, NGOs, drug companies, and all types of research and science institutions have poured an incredible amount of energy into finding effective treatments for covid. If ivermectin worked, they would be championing it. 

        The good news is that there are effective treatment options. My fear, and why I got into a huge digression, is that people who believe ivermectin is a good treatment will take that instead of something actually effective – or worse, get poisoned by mis-dosing themselves. 

      • 4

        This is a very insightful, thought out, and polite response July Lewis. Thank you. 

      • 2

        I have a lot of combined interests (plant based diet, holistic health, gardening, prepping) that has turned my email into a Disinformation Pipeline, even without Disinformation Algorithms jumping at people no matter what they might seem to look at.

        It started right on cue in Mid-March 2020. I am double vaccinated plus boosted with Moderna. Not sure when I’ll do the 2nd booster, or if I’ll go with Pfizer next time. I am a bit sloppier about mask wearing now, and I was never perfect, but sometimes you have to go with Good Enough and not punish yourself for being human. I believe the Swiss Cheese Model is the most humanly accurate, no mitigation is perfect, but use of them all can help plug in the holes along the way.

        Something people might not consider with Alternative Health and Wellness Based Practitioners, Businesses, or Influencers, is that they have a Business Model. They need to make money, too! And they do it by using Propaganda Methods designed to make people as angry and afraid as they claim Big Pharma or Big Media or Big Government are doing.

        I had a newsletter that went over night from telling people to do yoga and eat blueberries or what have you to improve their health and wellbeing, to some kind of Emotional Manipulation Horror Show, over COVID19. I was shocked and saddened and angered to see this spread all over the Alternative Health world, not everyone, but enough to make me feel like a LOT of them must be terrible liars or worse. At the very least, they are trying to cause stress meltdowns in people during an already extremely stressful situation (a global pandemic). Gratitude and Forgiveness are good for the soul, but I still hope there’s a Special Place in Hell for people who very deliberately created a Business Model based on FEAR that contributed to the deaths of thousands of people not only in America, but world wide. And they are *still* doing this, and in fact, I’d say it’s actually worse now, intended to push some individuals into violence at some point. 

        People will have to find Non-Toxic Lifestyle Medicine People to get more accurate information or advice. There will still be the Business Model (this is their job after all!), but it’s so much better if they are using it for good rather than evil. To me, Functional Medicine makes the most sense since it combines modern medical treatments with lifestyle ones, suited to the individual. Some people worry about the A Pill for an Ill model, but then they take 50 supplements every day, as if taking 50 “benign” pills is better than 1 “pharma” product. People just need to be careful out there! 

        A great bedrock to learn about how Authoritarianism/Fascism works is the old original V miniseries and series. I think I was in high school when I saw those, and it provided me with a bedrock of when to sense something bad is creeping into the world, shall we say. 

        I am very language sensitive, but not everyone is going to be when the “information” they receive is designed around stirring up their emotional level to a high pitch. They will read with their emotions, thinking that they are the true smart ones. It’s very tricky, and it is how conspiracies can spread, because it gamifies everything in the world.

        I remember looking up all the Paul Is Dead theories for the Beatles back in the day (but in the 80s and 90s, so more of a nostalgia conspiracy, lol), and darned if you couldn’t hear all the backwards messages and all that fun stuff! But just because you can “find” “clues” doesn’t mean it’s real information. Both the very smart and the very stupid can fall for the same Clue Hunts because they both feel more intelligent than everyone else for doing it. It probably becomes addicting for many. Anyway, Paul McCartney recently celebrated his 80th birthday! Disinformation and Misinformation comes in many forms, some funny, and some very damaging. In a global health crisis, it can be very damaging indeed.


    • 2

      My family group of 6 is ready as outlined in this excellent video by Dr. Alton Brown, Survival sick room.   We are fortunate to have sufficient outdoor space to set up a tent if radical isolation/quarantine is needed.   I have 2 bedside commodes and lots of heavy duty garbage bags, etc.   for personal waste.

      • 3

        Great video! That would be cool to have a large tote full of supplies that can easily be deployed for a make shift sick room. Store things such as old bedding, PPE, cleaning sprays, etc…

      • 2

        That would be a good business to start up. “Sick room in a tote”. Have these prepackaged quarantine treatment rooms that can be set up from a prepared kit. 

      • 2

        @Gideon – In Feb 2020 we got two sets of cheap sheets/pillowslips/blankets at thrift stores and discussed which twin mattress could be “sacrificed” if used in a sick/isolation/quarantine room.    I purchased a new waterproof twin bed zippered barrier to put on the twin mattress so this plastic barrier could be disinfected if contaminated with  blood, diarrhea, puke, spit, sweat, etc.   As mentioned by Magic 8 Ball, we put ’em in totes along with other sick room stuff.

        How to set up a home quarantine room by Happy Preppers is another excellent resource with detailed lists and information.

      • 1

        I remember the Happy Preppers site from before I found The Prepared! Good times. 

        Thank you for sharing that resource, they did a good job at breaking down how to set up a quarantine room. 

    • 6

      Thank you for putting this together. I would like to add something I typed up for myself and loved ones: A Health Packet.

      This can not only save you energy at ER intake, but can help you stay ahead of omissions, mitigate mistakes, and show caregivers that you are serious about your health and upcoming care you are about to receive.


      1. Cover Sheet:
      – Name, DOB, SSN, Address, phone, email, Insurance card back and front, Emergency contacts

      2. Health Overview
      – Notable Past Issues / Hospitalizations
      – Current Issues

      3. Medications
      – Essential Daily Meds, meaning there bad side effects if miss
      – Other Essential Daily Meds
      – Supportive Daily meds
      – As-Needed meds (e.g. Tylenol, Advil, Zantac, Benedryl, etc.)

      Include: Medication Name, dose, dosing schedule

      4. Drug Allergies
      – Allergies to Medications
      – Significant Environmental Allergies (like Latex, bees)
      – Significant / anaphylactic Food Allergies (e.g. nuts)

      5. Physicians List
      – Type, Name, Location, Phone, Fax, Email, Web address

      6. Supplements List
      – Vitamins, supplements and reason why, if applicable*

      Include: Vitamin or Supplement Name, dose, dosing schedule

      All is bulleted. No narrative paragraphs. My ex, who is a physician, recommended this. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers don’t want to read paragraphs.

      At the Header of each page is my name and DOB
      In the Footer of each page is the date last updated

      * For example, a family member of mine has the MTHFR genetic mutation and does not process B vitamins normally, so must take methyl B supplements to function optimally

      • 2

        Thank you for the outline of your health packet. I am going to be making one for all of my family members that I can just hand to a doctor. Smart idea and a big time saver!

      • 3

        This is great!  There are also pre-made medical binders or books people can get to fill in the blanks like this. Medical binders for pets with chronic issues can be good, too. I have a cat with low blood platelets! 

        They can also be good for other family members. I’m not sure if my parents have one, but they do think ahead quite a bit. They are the only ones on my Dad’s side (lots of siblings) to still live in their own home and do gardening and drive and things. My Dad has had two Sciatica flare ups recently (a few years apart, one side then the other this year), and this is a very painful condition, so I’m not sure why they joke about it so much on TV to show someone is old! It goes right through your nerves, from the lower back and into your legs, not fun at all!

        I like the information on doing bullet points vs paragraphs, as not everyone would think of how medical professionals like to read. 

      • 2

        This is a fantastic idea! I would add a copy of your advanced directive, if you have one.  And if you don’t have one, then you might want to fill one out.  They are easily available online.  Among other things, it names who you would like to have make medical decisions for you, if you are incapacitated (which can easily happen if you need hospitalization for COVID).  Also, it can guide decisions about use of a ventilator, IV nutrition, CPR, etc.  

        I was under 50 when COVID happened, and one of the first thing I did was have my then fiance and I fill them out and name each other as decision makers and list our preferences, then put them on our refrigerator.  I didn’t want the burden of that to fall on my then 19yo son.

    • 2

      Aaaaaand covid is being true to form, with another wave. Tons of people testing positive in my area (RI). Most are fine but a couple of people I know are quite sick. Good time to prep!

      • 4

        Yes, COVID has changed again to become much more transmissible, causing another big surge. And this time we don’t even have a new name for it. Just another subvariant of Omicron.

    • 2

      I think one of the biggest issues for darker skin people to be aware of in context to COVID is that the way to check for blood ox saturation is mired in the usual medical BS.

      There are a handful of studies that provide evidence that pulse oximiters over estimate saturation in darker skinned people, so they end up in hypoxia much longer without being detected, which is especially bad in COVID.

      So looking for a decent one for darker skin would be helpful.

      Also, the usual qualitative checks for hypoxia don’t work as well, so the next step is checking the inside of the lower lip, where the skin is usually lighter.

      • 3

        Thanks for sharing this.  I wasn’t aware of yet another lack of comprehensive testing in diagnostic and personal care tools. If something is for humans it should be tested on all human variations.  I know tech has limitations, but these types of deficiencies should be identified at a minimum and corrected as a baseline goal.    Sigh.

      • 2

        I thought pulse oximeters measured by pulse, etc. and not skin tone, so this is interesting information. I have one I stick my finger tip into, and never considered it might base measurements on a white skin tone base line. I think some Smartwatches might measure oxygen levels now, so algorithms could easily be based on white skin tone without adding in tan or dark skin tones.  I know some visual algorithms can either over or under *see* darker skin tones. There have been some documentaries about this issue.

      • 1

        They use LEDs to emit a certain wavelength through the skin and depending what goes through/is reflected, it can estimate oxygen saturation and pulse.

        Lot of medical practices and standards are based on white people specifically, like the BMI for example.

    • 6

      I am in the middle of a pretty serious case of Covid in my household and would like to share what I’m learning, as I’m learning it.

      First, I made a fundamental logical error in setting up my sick room (which I was SO proud of!) And that error is that the sick person would use it. In this case, it is my husband that woke up in our master bedroom with a raging fever and cough. Did it make logical sense for him to go to the prepared sick room? It did not! Our master bedroom was already fully contaminated. So the logical thing was for him to stay there and for me, the healthy person, to go the uncontaminated “sick room”.  That was lesson #1.  

      Lesson #2 was that we had a friend move in with us two months ago, and he is now in what was the sick room.  Which meant that the only place I had to go was a camping mattress in my office. When our new roommate moved in there was so much else to think about at the time that it never even occurred to me to revisit what my plans were if someone needed to isolate.

      So two key lessons:  

      1) Reconsider where isolation will take place if one member of a couple gets sick, and prepare that isolation location accordingly and

      2) In any major life transition (new vehicle, new roommate, job change), invest some focused time to rethink your preps specifically.

      Otherwise, while there were a few tiny hiccups (I had gotten lazy with restocking Covid tests, for example, and had to go get more), I have to say my preps are serving me very well in this situation. I’m confident the vaccines with double boosting are the reason my husband is not hospitalized (he is still quite sick and I shudder to think how sick he would be without the advanced boost to his immune system) The pulse oximeter and thermometer have been a godsend as the readings meant the virtual doc was willing to prescribe him Paxlovid and did not make him go to the ER.  My pre-packed suitcase (not my go bag, but a suitcase I keep at the ready in case I need to go care for my elderly, frail parents on short notice) was such a blessing as all I had to do was wheel it into my office; I have all I need for two weeks without having to go back into our shared bedroom.  

      And I’m super grateful for all of the stored and easy-to-prepare foods that I have on hand as a result of prepping. My husband is normally the cook in our family and I love that I have a huge variety of nutritious, delicious, “assembly-type” meals at the ready so I can take care of both him and me.  

      Everything July wrote above is so on target. We did indeed need medical care after hours, and luckily had already found out how to get it thanks to a recent infection. It did indeed take a while to find a pharmacy with Paxlovid in stock. Etc.

      One last thing I learned: If you take Lipitor and you have Covid symptoms, consider NOT taking your dose while waiting for test results and medical advice. Paxlovid works best when started as soon as possible, and our doctor at least said my husband had to be off of Lipitor for 24 hours before starting Paxlovid, and stay off it while on the treatment.  Of COURSE he had just taken his Lipitor dose prior to the virtual visit! 

      • 1

        First off, I wish your husband a speedy recovery and that you won’t get sick either! 🤞

        I totally would have set up a sick room to move the patient into but like you said, your room is already contaminated and that would be the better of the two rooms to keep him in. 

        What are some of these nutritious and delicious assembly-type meals you are able to eat now? I’d like some ideas on what I can work on stocking up. 

        And last question, I promise… do you know what Paxlovid does? Does it help cure covid, reduce symptoms, or prevent long covid? It seems like your preparations and having that pulseox saved the day and potentially saved you hundreds from an ER visit.

      • 4

        “do you know what Paxlovid does? Does it help cure covid, reduce symptoms, or prevent long covid?”

        Paxlovid directly reduces the amount of virus in your body, similar to what you would expect when taking antibiotics for a bacterial infection. Unfortunately, it is not quite enough to eliminate all the viruses, and your body will need to finish the job.

        As a result of killing lots of viruses, Paxlovid reduces symptoms, speeds recovery, and reduces odds of hospitalization. I’m not sure about the effect on long COVID.

      • 4

        Everything I know about Paxlovid I learned from Google! Geenerally I focus on trusted sources like Cleveland Clinic, Mayo, and peer-reviewed medical journals (to which I fortunately have access through a library).  Overall I trust board-certified physicians, and the board-certified physicians we know all recommend Paxlovid for patients at high risk of complications. I will take it myself if I test positive.

        As for recipes, that is one of my projects for 2023!  I have a slew of recipes to share and I just need to sit down and put them in some sort of order. lI am actually hoping the Prepared might start its own cookbook or something.  A super easy and quick way to get started is to stock up on hearty canned soups with a long shelf life.  I promise I will give you much better ideas than that but after my current situation is over – it turns out that being a nurse to a quarantined Covid patient is a LOT of work!  Just the mental energy needed to ensure I’m not accidentally cross-contaminating things is surprisingly tiring.  

      • 4

        I’m so sorry your husband is sick!! I hope he recovers quickly. I’m glad this thread has been helpful – thank you for adding what you’ve learned. Sending good wishes your way! Keep us updated! 

      • 1

        Same from me, M.E. I see it’s been a week now, and hope that the worst is behind you.  I’ve heard of break through infections after Paxlovid, and hope your husband evades that issue, too. 

    • 5

      This is a great thread and still so timely!  As an RN, a couple of things I would add:

      1. If at all possible, give the sick person their own *bathroom* as well!  If they wear an N95 mask going between quarantine room and bathroom, you are well protected.  And have them run the bathroom fan for a while after they are in there.  If you only have one bathroom, you can share it, but have everyone else wear an N95 when they use it too, and definitely run the fan after use.

      2.  An alternative to the homemade air filter is to open the window in the quarantine room and put a fan in the window continuously blowing the air outside (on low), creating your own “negative pressure room” to keep aerosols and droplets from getting into other areas of the house.  This works best in the summer, obviously, but it is extremely effective, if you don’t have a filter handy.

      Just completed a quarantine of my 18yo in a house with 6 people, and nobody else got sick (thankfully!)

      • 2

        Air circulation is huge with covid from what I’ve heard. So your bathroom fan and negative pressure room sound like good words of advice.

      • 3

        Fortunately we are lucky enough to have two separate bathrooms and even a hallway between the room where I am isolating and where my sick husband is quarantining. And his bathroom is connected to the master bedroom so the only time he opens the door to the hall is to put his food tray out.  (I put his dishes straight into the dishwasher without even rinsing them in the kitchen sink and then run it on the ‘heavy’ setting)

        It is quite hot here but I open all the windows at night and through mid-morning, and during the day when the A/C is on I still leave a few windows in “my” area open about an inch to maintain fresh air flow. Fingers crossed that will be enough!

      • 4

        Sounds like you are doing a great job!  I run my dishes on any setting that includes the extra hot water “sanitize” feature. COVID is really fragile on surfaces, so it doesn’t take much to kill it.  Protecting your respiratory system with air exchange and a good fitting mask is the most important thing.

        I mainly mentioned the bathroom because I had a “duh!” moment when I called employee health to report my home covid exposure and they reminded me to create a “quarantine bedroom and bathroom” for my sick kid.  The need for a bathroom had not even occurred to me until then!