Planning is paramount, both short or long-term. For example, if there is an outbreak out·break | \ ˈau̇t-ˌbrāk : a sudden, rapid rise in the incidence of a disease in your community, you may not be able to get to a store, or stores may be out of supplies, so it will be important for you to have extra supplies on hand.
Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what would be needed to care for them in your home. Consider what you might do if your child’s school or daycare shuts down, or if you need to or are asked to work from home.
Stay up to date with reliable news resources, such as the website of your local health department, the CDC and the NIH. If your town or neighborhood has a website or social media page, consider joining it to maintain access to neighbors, information, and resources.
Consider having clean water, auxiliary fuel like propane, and long-lived foods. Maintain a 30 day supply of food, minimally. Healthy and stable foods include:
- Potatoes. If you store potatoes at about 40 ºF and in the dark they can last up to four months. The basement is an ideal place to store potatoes, just make sure you keep them away from apples and onions as both will emit a gas that will ripen and rot your potatoes.
- Beans. Canned beans can last between two and three years while dried kidney beans can keep for several months at a time.
- Parmesan Cheese. You don’t have to refrigerate parmesan cheese and it can last about ten months. Most people don’t eat parmesan cheese by the handful, but it’s good to have on hand for pasta dishes or sprinkling on your vegetables.
- Winter Squash Varieties. You can keep butternut squash, acorn squash and pumpkins for two to six months if kept in a dry, dark cabinet or basement. Keep your squash in single layers so air can circulate and they’ll stay fresh.
- Rice. You can keep almost all varieties of rice (white, wild, basmati, jasmine, abrorio) for two years or more. Brown rice will keep just as long if you keep it in the refrigerator or freezer. Once you open a bag or box of rice, make sure you store it in an airtight container.
- Peanut Butter. You can keep peanut butter for about two years provided it is kept in a cool, dry place. It may separate, but stir it well and enjoy!
- Cabbage. Fresh cabbage tastes the best, but you can keep cabbage in your refrigerator as long as two months if you wrap it in plastic first. Cabbage can be used in place of lettuce for salads or on a sandwich.
- Apples. Store your apples in a plastic bag and then place the entire bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Do not store any vegetables in the same drawer and you can enjoy your apples for a month or more before they start to spoil. Eat the larger apples first, as they will spoil before the smaller apples.
- Carrots. Put a paper towel inside a plastic bag with carrots and they’ll last several weeks without spoiling. The paper towel will absorb the moisture carrots create, and help them stay fresh longer.
- Onions. You can keep onions for a year in a dry area with a temperature of between 30 ºF and 50 ºF. Some people recommend storing them in pantyhose hanging from your basement rafters for the best results.
- Pasta. You can store dry pasta in a dry, cool cabinet for about 8 months without spoiling. Look for whole wheat or vegetable pasta varieties for the highest nutritional content.
- Nuts. When you buy nuts still in their shells, they will keep for as long as a year. If you buy nuts that are packaged without their shells, they will keep for about four months.
- Beets. Cut off any greens that are attached to your beets, place inside a perforated plastic bag and put the whole bag inside the vegetable crisper and your beets will last as long as four months.
- V8 Juice. The shelf life of V8 juice is 18 months. With juice from eight vegetables and two full servings of vegetables in each serving of V8 juice, these drinks pack a lot of nutrition in a small space.
- Frozen fruits and vegetables. You can keep many things in the freezer for extended lengths of time, including fruits and vegetables. They may not taste quite as great as they do when served fresh, but you can freeze your own fruits and vegetables to preserve them; or buy already frozen-in-bags from your grocery store.
- Garlic is a plant in the onion family that’s grown for its distinctive taste and health benefits. It contains sulfur compounds, which are believed to bring some of the health benefits. Garlic contains antioxidants that support the body's protective mechanisms against oxidative damage. High doses of garlic supplements have been shown to increase antioxidant enzymes in humans, as well as significantly reduce oxidative stress in those with high blood pressure.. Store garlic bulbs at room temperature in dry conditions and they will last about four months.
- Radishes. Cut the tops off the radishes and store them in the refrigerator or in a cool, moist area. They will keep about one month.
- Naval Oranges. Store your naval oranges in the crisper of your refrigerator with the peels on and they will last for up to two months.
- Raisins. You can store raisins in your cabinet for about a year or they will keep indefinitely in your freezer.
- Canned meats, especially fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines.