Carry Smarter: Precautions During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Here at Everyday Carry we’ve been dedicated to finding you the best gear to carry in the spirit of preparedness. In light of the recent coronavirus pandemic, you might be wondering what changes you can make to your EDC to stay safe, healthy, and prepared. The reality is the best measures you can take to do your part in the fight against this pandemic are opposite of what it traditionally means to be an EDCer. Rather than staying on the go with pockets full of gear, it’s recommended that you stay inside, work from home if you have the privilege to, cancel social events and gatherings, and practice social distancing and healthy hygiene. In this post we’ll provide some tips and resources to help us all stay safe during this time.

What are useful things to carry during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic?

Ideally, you wouldn’t need to change much to your carry because you’re spending the next two weeks (and possibly longer) at home in self-quarantine.

If your situation doesn’t allow you to stay at home and you must commute or spend time in public places, the best thing you can carry is hand sanitizer or hand rub with at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizer is effective at killing viruses that may be on your hands when you don’t have access to soap and water to wash with. By now hand sanitizer is in short supply, so try to wash your hands as often as possible.

If you can’t find hand sanitizer, there are some DIY options available. The quick recipe is 3 parts isopropyl alcohol (99% to achieve a mix with a final concentration of 60% or better) to 1 part aloe vera gel with a few drops of essential oil, according to WIRED.

Disposable pocket tissues are also helpful to cover your coughs and sneezes in public as a safe alternative to covering your mouth or nose with your hands. If you happen to cough or sneeze, it’s good respiratory hygiene to use a tissue to catch the droplets that could spread viruses, immediately dispose of the used tissue, then clean your hands with hand sanitizer or washing with soap and water.

Sanitizing wipes and alcohol wipes can clean and disinfect gear you need to touch and use often (like an EDC pen or smartphone, for example). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend cleaning surfaces you touch frequently and provide information on how to best do that here. While it’s not completely understood yet, preliminary research suggests COVID-19 behaves similar to other coronaviruses and can persist on surfaces for a few hours up to several days, according to the WHO. Now would also be a good time to revisit cleaning and maintaining your EDC gear in general while you might not be using it during quarantine.

To help with dry hands from frequent coronavirus handwashing, you might want to add a travel bottle or tin of hand lotion / moisturizing cream. Note that this is just for general skin care and isn’t specifically necessary to combat novel coronavirus.

What about face masks? There’s a lot to consider when and how to use a face mask, as it depends on your situation. The World Health Organization (WHO) advises to use a mask with these four considerations in mind:

  1. If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
  2. Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  3. Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  4. If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.

Keep in mind that there’s a worldwide shortage of masks. Masks are a crucial resource for healthcare professionals working to treat those who are infected. To avoid wasting or misusing face masks, please refer to WHO’s dedicated webpage for advice on proper use and disposal of masks.

In terms of general EDC preparedness not specific to coronavirus, you might be interested in preparing an emergency kit or bug out bag — refer to our guide on that here.

What other things can I do for my safety and the safety of others?

The primary precautions you can take to help reduce the chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 boil down to hand- and respiratory hygiene and social distancing.

Some hygiene tips:

  • Make it a habit to regularly and thoroughly clean your hands by washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer to kill viruses that might be on your hands. Here’s a guide from the NHS on how to wash your hands properly for about 20 seconds, complete with video.
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands. Even with frequent handwashing and sanitizing there’s a chance you can pick up viruses from touching different surfaces, and those viruses can enter your body through your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes (not with your hands!). Use a tissue to catch droplets that could spread viruses, then dispose of the tissue immediately. If you can’t grab a tissue in time, cough or sneeze into your bent elbow instead of your hands or into the air.

Social distancing precautions:

  • Stay home and self-quarantine if you have the means and opportunity to self-isolate.
  • If you are around people, keep a distance of at least 6 feet or 2 meters if they are coughing or sneezing to avoid exposure to droplets that can spread the virus.

Remember, even if you are feeling healthy and are at low risk of falling ill to COVID-19, by disregarding these precautions you could be putting those who are at high risk (such as the elderly or those with already compromised immune systems or severe underlying medical conditions) in danger. Self-quarantine and social distancing helps slow the spread of the virus to a degree that’s more manageable for hospitals and treatment centers as well. As inconvenient or disruptive as it may be, taking precaution here keeps you, and more importantly, those at high risk, safer.

Where can I learn more about COVID-19 / novel coronavirus?

There’s unfortunately plenty of misinformation about novel coronavirus on various social media platforms. There are also many topics and specifics we didn’t cover in this article. Please refer to the following links as a starting point to stay informed during this time:

Thanks for your attention. In the meantime here at Everyday Carry we’ll still be publishing gear-related content for you to enjoy during quarantine, as our staff largely works remotely/from home already (more on that, later). 

If it means more of us will be staying in, we also welcome pocket dump and EDC photo submissions of what you’re EDCing around the house! You can share your EDC by signing up and uploading your photo here

If you found this article helpful, please feel free to share it with your friends, family, and fellow EDCers. Stay safe, stay healthy, and carry on (at home if you can).

This post was last updated on March 16th, 3:10PM PDT with clearer, more accurate recommendations for DIY hand sanitizer.

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