Coronavirus: What supplies do you actually need?

We’re not sure where toilet paper frenzy came from

At least 10 stockers were replacing supplies of food, water, wipes and bleach at the H-E-B store on the Grand Parkway in Sugar Land on March 8, 2020. (KPRC)

We’re not sure where the toilet paper frenzy came from, but there are some items you may want to have on hand in the event you do need to self-isolate.

As Central Floridians, we’re pretty used to having to stock up for hurricanes, so this list shouldn’t seem unfamiliar. This is a good reminder to make sure any preparation you do actually ends up being helpful in case you need it.

What you do need


Make sure you have at least a month’s supply of prescriptions on hand. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have things like your favorite cough syrups, acetaminophen and ibuprofen in the event you do experience cough or fever symptoms.

Other health-related supplies

If you need things like hearing-aid batteries, contact lenses and solutions and other similar items, stock up on those as well.


You need enough food for two weeks. Right now, there’s no real reason to foresee losing power, so it’s not a problem to stock up on food you’ll have to cook—but it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a good supply of non-perishables on hand just in case.

Baby food/formula/diapers

This includes anything you need for an infant.

Pet food

Chances are your pets will be snuggling on the couch with you, so don’t forget Fido or Fluffy.

Pedialyte or Gatorade

If you have a fever, or even if not but you’re finding it difficult to eat while sick, replacing electrolytes are really important, so it’s not a bad idea to have a few bottles on hand.

Cleaning supplies

Cleanliness is one of the best ways to prevent the virus from spreading. Although we don’t know exactly how long it can live on surfaces, especially if others live in your home, you’re definitely going to want to be cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas. We’re talking tables, chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks, etc. Also, remember to wipe down your cellphone.

Laundry detergent

Make sure you’re able to wash the personal items of an ill loved one. This is also helpful if you have kids. You know those blankies, lovies and stuffed dollies that have to go everywhere? Wash ‘em on hot.

Plenty of hand soap and hand sanitizer

Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds multiple times a day is key, especially before, during and after meal preparation, eating, caring for someone who is sick, changing diapers, in the bathroom, etc. If for some reason you don’t have hand soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol will do.

Cash and Gas

If you’re not really going anywhere, this one is probably a little less important, but you never know, so it’s best to just keep everything important stocked up in case.

Doctor phone numbers

Especially if you are an individual who could be at high-risk due to underlying medical conditions, it’s a good idea to keep a list of important phone numbers available for any family members who may be assisting you if you fall ill.


If you’re over binge-watching or have kids that could be quarantined with you, we suggest picking up some books, stickers, board games, device chargers, anything that could make two weeks stuck in the house as enjoyable as possible.

What you DON’T need

Toilet paper

Beyond your regular usage, we’re not sure why the toilet paper hoarding started. There’s no real indication you’d be using the bathroom any more if you got sick than any other time. Absolute worst case, take a shower, you’re supposed to be washing your hands a lot, anyway.

Face masks

Unless you are sick yourself or directly caring for someone who is sick, face masks aren’t really going to help you much. The run on masks has been detrimental to healthcare workers, and we really need our medical professionals to be ready and available when we need them. Instead, stay six feet away or more from anyone who appears to be sick.

Latex gloves

Wearing latex gloves hasn’t been shown to protect against the virus.

Vitamin C, Zinc, etc.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t have these things, there’s just no reason to hoard or stockpile. They can contribute to healthy immune systems, but beyond that, vitamins will not keep you from catching coronavirus.

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About the Author:

Tara Evans is an executive producer and has been with News 6 since January 2013. She currently spearheads News 6 at Nine and specializes in stories with messages of inspiration, hope and that make a difference for people -- with a few hard-hitting investigations thrown in from time to time.