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Coronavirus Survival Guide

By March 17, 2020December 8th, 2020No Comments

Enough friends know that I’m a life-long survivalist kinda guy, so I’ve been getting a LOT of questions of late regarding how to minimize your exposure to the virus, and how to best prepare for a long quarantine . So here’s my “prepper” post for friends:

FIRST: While I am an Emergency First Response Instructor, I’m not a doctor, and none of this should be taken as medical advice. Refer to the CDC and consult your doctor for medical advice.

STUPID PURCHASES: running out of bottled water, paper towels or toilet paper is NOT something to worry about. Your government-supplied tap water will keep flowing. This isn’t an earthquake with broken water mains. You can filter tap water for pennies using a britta or a fridge filter (environmentally friendly), if paper towels run out, you can WASH cloth towels and re-use them as long as needed (environmentally friendly), and you can either buy a bidet toilet seat (best purchase ever) and barely need any paper, or use your shower after you take a dump (also environmentally friendly, and much cleaner). The lack of NONE of these things will put you at risk in the least.

Lacking other things if supply chains break down could, however, be a problem. So…


FOODS: If you want to stock anything, it should be nutrient dense foods, and foods that store for a long time that can be made into almost anything. This makes the most efficient use of your freezer, fridge and pantry. Things like flour (1yr), eggs (5wks), milk (6 mos frzn), butter (4 mos frzn), sugar (indefinite), cheese (6 mos frzn), freezable proteins of your choice (e.g., per USDA, chicken can be kept frozen indefinitely). With these items, in combination with (even canned) fruits & vegetables, you can feed yourself and your family for a very long time. Almonds are a super food, healthy, nutrient dense, and store indefinitely. Oats last indefinitely and can be cooked or combined with many things. Rice is the primary source of calories for 3.5 billion people, and stores indefinitely.

(under quarantine, internet will still be functioning… learn to cook – it’s a skill that will serve you your whole life! I’m a fan of Rouxbe and Serious Eats)

ProTip: Buy a food saver and a sous-vide, vacuum seal individual chicken breasts, (or other meats) and freeze. You can then pull out 5 packs, and sous-vide them from frozen for 2.5 hours at 141 (for chicken), then throw in an ice bath and toss in the fridge. You now have 5 meals for the whole week’s dinners, the chicken will be amazingly tender and juicy, and since it’s now pre-cooked, you can pull out of the fridge, cut, and add to warm sauce, pasta, or what have you. Super easy meals, healthy, and store forever.

VITAMINS & SUPLEMENTS: Get vitamins and supplements in case supply chains are disrupted and you can’t get enough fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies aren’t very nutrient dense (exception: avocado), some take up valuable fridge space, and spoil quickly, so for long term it’s canned stuff and vitamins if you can’t buy any greens for months. Vitamin C has been shown to help prevent catching cold (which is a virus) for people under physical stress. Zinc lazenges have been shown to help fight and prevent viruses as well (don’t take zinc nasal products, they can lead to permanent loss of sense of smell).

SICK SUPPLIES: Get pedialite powder, Neti Pots/NeilMed with saline packets, Ibuprofen, Mucosinex and ALL the things you’d want for a really bad flu. Chances are, that’s what you’ll get if you get anything. Gargling with warm salt water and doing a saline nasal rinse before bed each night has also been a “don’t get sick” go-to for me for a while. Even if you’re just getting sick, it can reduce the bacterial or viral load.


COVID-19 or Coronavirus is an extremely virulent bug. There is only one 100% fail-proof way to avoid getting it: Quarantine Yourself. If you have no exposure to other human beings, air other human beings have breathed, or surfaces and items that other human beings have touched, you have virtually no chance of contracting it.

However, 100% isolation may simply not be possible. For example, we have a 1 year old little boy who needs about a quarter gallon of milk a day. I can only buy and store so much milk, and will have to venture out into the world to replenish our supply at some point.

Below are tips for minimizing your exposure.

TEMPERATURE: Have a temporal or ear thermometer on hand, and check yourself and anyone who visits you as part of your greeting ritual for house guests. (Better: don’t have house guests). Show them your normal temperature before taking theirs as common courtesy (I’m probably safe, are you?). But remember, people can be carriers and not manifest symptoms. People can be shedding virus before sympoms manifest. Until this blows over, use caution, regardless of someone’s temperature. The stealthy incubation period is what makes this such a tricky disease.

BONUS: A pulse oximeter is a cheap device that goes on your finger and takes your pulse and measures the oxygen in your blood (they do this every time you go to the hospital). This has been part of my ‘first aid’ bag forever. Why? Because one of the most dangerous repercussions of getting *really* sick is pneumonia, where your lungs fill with fluid and you lose your ability to breathe. By taking your oximeter reading, you can verify that your oxygen level is looking good, (95% to 100%… below 90% is considered low. The best reading is achieved when your hand is warm, relaxed, and held below the level of
your heart). Thus, if you get “a little sick” you can now take your temperature and measure your oxygen level… two crucial pieces of information you can then provide your doctor without leaving your house.

MASKS: They DO work, but you have to be clean shaved and apply the mask so it makes a complete seal (watch a video on line, it’s not that hard). N95 blocks out at least 95%, N99 blocks out 99%, P100 blocks out >99.7%. Surgical masks block out almost nothing, but catch your spit if you cough or sneeze, so they help minimize risk to OTHERS, not YOU. I have N99 masks and a P100 full face respirator (if things get really sideways – and if not, I can use it for furniture refinishing – win win!). I’m using the N99 when I go out because why the hell not? If they work to protect a doctor who is working directly with a sick patient, it will sure as hell help you as well, just LEARN HOW TO USE IT AND HANDLE IT CORRECTLY. (e.g., keep in a ziplock when not in use, put in a new ziplock if you’ve used it in less than 3 days, never touch the outside of the mask once you start using it, as that’s the “dirty” side of the filter).

GLOVES: Get nitrile gloves (costco still has them) and use them when you’re out and about. You MUST become aware of WHAT you touch when wearing them. They’re only helpful if you don’t touch the same things you’ll touch when you take them off (e.g., putting on gloves, touching a bunch of things in the store, (especially the self-checkout screen that EVERYONE else is touching, and the credit card machine that wants EVERYONE’s pin code or signature) – you can’t then go touching your wallet or purse, because you’re transferring then virus to those items that you’ll then touch later with gloves off.
Have your credit card ready to go in an accessible pocket BEFORE you put gloves on. Then just take it out, and swipe it, put it back. When you get home, clean off your credit card when you wash your hands. How you take off gloves is also important – I was trained as an Emergency First Response Instructor, and we teach the following method: Take them off by peeling from the inner-wrist of one hand with the other hand, crumple the removed glove in the remaining gloved hand, then peel the remaining glove the same way, with the first glove now balled inside the second glove. This way you eliminate touching any surface of the glove that has touched anything else. This is to avoid contamination of blood, but works for anything (I do this when working with chicken for example).

RETURNING HOME: When I get home from “out in the dirty dirty world” (read: costco with the cattle) I play it extra safe, and toss my clothes in the laundry hamper, and take a shower, wash my hair. It is relaxing, feels good, and I know when my 1 year old slobbers on my face, arms, legs, … It’s all in fresh clothes and fresh hair/skin. And who doesn’t like a fresh canvas upon which to slobber? All clothes washed daily. Washing in laundry does kill the virus, so I’ve read. No shoes in the house. Because Japan said so.

HAND SANITIZER: is only useful when out and about where you can’t necessarily wash your hands. Don’t waste it at home, you have water and soap! Also, you can make your own sanitizer for on-the-go with 91% isopropyl alcohol and aloe gel (2 to 1 alcohol to gel). If you’re home, don’t waste sanitizer, WASH WITH SOAP – say the alphabet at a normal pace to wash for the right amount of time, and scrub well.

Become situationally aware of yourself and others. Be thoughtful and realize that others may not behave as well as they normally would because they’re feeling stressed out, so give people extra slack and most importantly, cut yourself extra slack.

This too will pass, and the hysteria around it, and herd panic mentality may be much more dangerous than the virus itself. Be good to each other, and be well.

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