Apocalyptic Pandemic and Pint-sized People

With the coronavirus creeping up onto our shores, I started to think about how our family would deal with such a crisis should it spread as quickly as it has in other countries. What are some things that I could do to protect my little children and how can I get them to participate in prevention strategies without causing a full-blown panic in my already tumultuous household?

Perhaps the word apocalyptic is a tad too strong but I’m sort of a sucker for dystopian dramas like The Walking Dead so certain ideas get stuck in my head. There are no zombies in our future–other than my night-shift husband who never sleeps–and I don’t think we’ll be scavenging for food or fighting off looters either. However, if this does indeed become a pandemic, it doesn’t hurt to think ahead.

The first question all of us need to ask ourselves is, what will you do if this virus hits close to home?

I’ve mulled over how close the virus needs to get before I take any action and I’ve decided that the moment where more than a few cases hit the Minneapolis area, that’s my red line. That’s when I consider taking my kids out of school and sports. That’s when I quarantine my family in my house as much as possible, only leaving for things that are absolutely necessary.

The next question is, what will you need?

If you and your family are stuck in your house for a few weeks, assuming none of you are sick, what would you need to get by? Basically, we would need food, water, medicine, and maybe a few other essentials. We would need masks and hand sanitizer if we were forced to go out for some reason.

I typically go to the grocery store 2-3 times a week because I tend to shop the outer aisles for fruits and veggies along with meat and dairy. Things just don’t last long in our fridge if we don’t use it right away so these frequent trips are necessary. If we are limiting how often we leave the house, this routine isn’t going to work.

The other day, I ventured into the middle of the store and stayed a bit longer than usual, picking up those non-perishable items to store for a rainy day, so to speak. I bought a lot of boxed pasta with jarred sauces, canned fruits and veggies (gross), and soups. My husband picked up several cases of water and some N95 masks just in case. I’m thinking I need to go to Costco and grab a bunch of toilet paper because, as a family of five, that is one thing we do not want to run out of.

Our “hydration station” and “coronavirus shelf”

I may pick up a few more things like coffee (almost as important as toilet paper), peanut butter, beef jerky, and more disinfectants. At this point, that is the extent of what I’m willing to do to physically prepare for this scary situation. I’m not building bunkers in the backyard or filling up gas cans for the generator just yet. But I also know I’m not alone in this, either.

Many people are preparing for a possible outbreak in their communities but they are doing so quietly.

There are subtle signs all around us that people are taking extra precautions to avoid picking up the coronavirus.

It’s been flu season for forever but on Ash Wednesday, my church just nixed the shaking of the hands at mass. My son’s ballet teacher started wiping down the barre right after all of the boys used it. My mom saw some guy filling up ten five-gallon water bottles and later wondered if he had been making his own preparations as well. Even my husband had a hard time finding masks as they were out of stock in many places.

These are small things that would normally go unnoticed but I think we are starting to become hypersensitive to it as the virus continues to spread to other countries.

Everyone is aware of what’s going on, it’s all over the news but no one is really panicking here in America that I can see. I don’t feel panicked myself either but I am being cautious. People are definitely talking about this epidemic though, sometimes in all seriousness and sometimes cracking jokes in a light-hearted way.

My kindergartener learned about the coronavirus in school. The teachers are drilling and drilling the importance of hand hygiene into those kiddos heads. I’d want to wear a hazmat suit on a daily basis if I had to work in the petri dish some call kindergarten. I say line them up at the sink all day long.

I recently started getting my kids into the habit of washing their hands as soon as they step into our house–probably something that should have been done long before this because it likely would have prevented a few of our adventures with the poops and the pukes. It hasn’t always been easy for my wildlings to remember to do it after using the bathroom but since the coronavirus has been an in-your-face-kinda-thing these days, they are learning to be a bit more compliant.

Meaningful talks with your kids about this nasty virus is the key to protecting them.

When it comes to your children, you have to be measured with how you teach prevention strategies in times like these. You have to find a way to stress the importance of it without freaking them out.

I suppose it’s very similar to what the President has to do when he addresses the nation. Inform the public, encourage vigilance but avoid panic. Let them know that everything is being done to keep them safe but communicate what precautions they, themselves, also need to take. It’s a hard job to do, to find that balance, both for the President of the United States and for parents everywhere.

My 12 year-old daughter is already scared to death of the coronavirus because she is a germaphobe as it is. She doesn’t want to see or hear about it on the news because it stresses her out. She’s alarmed by our “coronavirus shelf” in the basement with the extra food and masks while the young boys are more curious about it than anything else.

I try to calm my daughter’s nerves by explaining to her that these preparations are there just in case we need to stay home for awhile. If that ever happens, we’ll have everything we need. “Keep washing your hands and stay away from people who appear sick and you’ll be fine, ” I say. I know that she will be careful but it’s those dirty little boys that I really have to worry about.

I can’t avoid talking to my kids about how serious this is because I need them to understand how germs spread. They need to care about it too, so that they will actually think about when they shouldn’t touch their face and when they should be washing or sanitizing their hands. On the one hand, I’m trying to calm my daughter. On the other hand, I’m trying to put a little fear into my sons in the hopes that they’ll get it (as in understand it, not get the coronavirus)!

Will spring break bring more than just fun in the sun?

For now, things are relatively low-key for us Americans but I am worried about spring break in March. I unfortunately don’t have any travel plans this spring–unfortunate in the sense that it would be nice to go someplace warm. However, I fortunately don’t have to decide if that’s really a good idea or not either. I don’t know if people will cancel their trips or not just yet but depending on where they’re going, I hope that some will reconsider.

I do know that one of the times I went to the international cesspool of germs, A.K.A. Disney World, we brought back the worst flu I ever had in my whole life–it gave me a high fever, feelings of death warming over me, and it was topped off with some disturbing hallucinations. One of my little guys had a fever of 106 that eventually turned into pneumonia. All three lil’ dumplings got pink eye. And coronavirus wasn’t even a thing back then.

Considering all of the germs on an airplane alone, maybe my red line should just be the end of spring break. How many families will be jet-setting off to some tropical cruise, mixing it up with other families all over the world who may or may not have been exposed to the coronavirus? Then everyone comes back to school, maybe with a new “friend” in tow that doesn’t show its face for a mere 7-14 days…yikes. You went on vacation, had some fun, and all my kid got was this stupid coronavirus.

Both prayer and good choices can help us all, though.

We are all in this together now so hopefully everyone can make the right choices to prevent this disease from turning into an actual pandemic. For those of us who pray, let’s pray for all of the other people who have already been affected by this virus. I can’t imagine what they are going through and how hard it must be for those families whose lives have been turned upside down because of it.

I know that there are some people from other countries that might stumble across this blog and if you have been affected by the coronavirus, my thoughts and prayers are truly with you.

One comforting thought our President offered to us the other day was that this will end. Though we may still see an increase of people infected by it, the spread of this virus will not last forever. Just like the flu, there will be a time when this highly contagious season is over. Let that be a thought that comforts you, too.

For those of us who have not seen it yet, let us be cautious and calmly prepare ourselves for the possibility that it could get a lot worse but also know that there is that light at the end of the tunnel.

Speaking of light, I’ll end with this:

Lord, bless your children all over the world. Protect us from this virus and give your graces to those who are already suffering from it. Amen.

2 thoughts on “Apocalyptic Pandemic and Pint-sized People

  1. rlpolanski March 8, 2020 / 2:16 am

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