2020 has really not gone as expected with the Covid-19 world-wide pandemic and we wonder if things will ever be the same again. In February I was at Disneyland for a blogger conference and Disney’s Food and Wine Festival media day. Until this time the virus was spreading through China, just starting to hit a few other countries and made an appearance in Seattle. I had trips planned. Europe for March, Puerto Vallarta for April, and in the planning phase for two more international summer vacations.
Still, at the time many of us were comparing it to the common flu and didn’t realize what the days ahead would look like. As some restrictions are being eased (depending on where you live), we still need to take precautions and many of these may become the new normal.
Keeping our pantries stocked.
Spending more time at home.
Easing back on our overscheduled lives.
Choosing delivery and pickup over shopping in stores.
Setting up a home gym.
Wearing a mask whenever you leave the house.
Always have hand sanitizer, wipes, and disinfecting spray on hand.
While we are still staying at home as much as possible, there are times we do need to leave our home for groceries and other necessities. This means mask, gloves, hand sanitizer, and wipes.
To make things simpler, I created a Coronakit for myself and my son. Now when we go out all we need to do is grab the kit and go and one less thing to worry about. When all this first started I was grabbing the box of gloves, bottle of wipes, and so much other stuff – my hands were full and I was never sure if I remembered all the essentials. Keep it simple, create a kit, grab, and go.
How to create a CoronaKit
- Find a pouch that will fit your supplies. Look around your home before you go and buy something. A one-gallon zip lock bag will work. I have a million pouches that I’ve gotten as swag or in beauty subscription boxes. I found the perfect in my stash, a Bumkins travel bag
- Collect your items
- face mask
- filter (optional)
- ear protectors (optional)
- hand wipes
- hand sanitizer
Gloves or not? There’s been a lot of debate about gloves. They only work if you take precautions. Change often. Don’t touch your face with the gloves. Remove properly (turn inside out as your remove and toss). Also, please, please dispose of gloves in a trashcan – I’ve seen so many tossed on the ground in parking lots. I use gloves because my hands get very irritated from some disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer. With former careers in biotechnology and food service, I have lots of experience with proper glove use. So for now, I will be wearing them inside businesses.
Ear protectors – these are the plastic gadgets that go around your head so you can attach the mask to them instead of your ears (works with the loop style masks). They save your ears if the straps bother your ears and can give the mask a better fit because they’re adjustable.
Remember to replenish supplies in the kit and wash those face masks!
What types of face masks are available?
Medical professionals wear what is referring to as N95 masks. These are made to stop the transmission of the virus from patients to medical professionals. To work properly, they need to be fitted for the person wearing them and the person should be trained and proper breathing. These are best left for medical professionals and first responders especially right now when medical-grade PPEs (personal protection equipment) are in short supply.
For everyday use, disposable medical masks or cloth masks are recommended. These come in several styles for shape and how they attach to your head. Some also have room to insert a filter for additional protection. The masks either loop behind the ears or has straps to tie behind your head. Find what is most comfortable for you and what fits your face best. Face mask ear savers are also an option – these little gadgets attach to the over-ear loops so the mask is attached around your head – saving your eyes and often providing a better fit.
We’ve ordered a few masks (because I don’t sew):
- Roni – the Travel Guru – made with straps that loop over the ears with cloth fabrics. She has fun fabrics to choose even though we went for basic colors. Roni is a travel blogger with an online shop filled with her amazing creations including face masks. Love supporting blogger friends.
- Hedley & Bennett – very similar to the previous one. These also have a slot so that you can insert a filter. At the time I ordered, they didn’t have filters available but gave links for coffee filters that have been suggested to offer additional filtering. Bonus – for every mask you purchase, it helps to fund their mask donation mask. So far they have donated over 170,000 masks.
- Arena– made of a thicker sturdy fabric with one loop that goes behind your neck and a second tie that goes higher on your head. These also have wire in the area around your nose for a tight fit. These have an opening between the two layers of fabric so you can insert a filter. When we ordered, they had filters available (PM2.5 carbon filter, honestly I’m not sure what that means other than it does provide additional filtering but not at the same level as n95). A Phoenix-based company too! #supportlocal
Since masks are going to be a part of life for a while, why not make it part of your outfit or choose a fun one. There are lots available in Etsy shops. Retailers like Old Navy and Johnny Was have some with great fabrics. And have you seen the Disney ones available for pre-order?
We’ve put together some lists to help you and your family during this pandemic:
- Looking for ideas to do with teens while at home during this time of social distancing? We’ve got over 50 ideas for you
- 7 ways for teens to connect virtually with their friends
- 7 ways to bring joy to your neighborhood during Coronavirus pandemic
I choose to wear a mask
Let’s chat a bit about wearing masks. Some cities, stores, attractions are requiring them for everyone. Some businesses are requiring them for all employees. Yes, somehow whether you choose to wear a mask has become political which I just don’t understand. It’s a public health issue. It makes me very sad that the debate has turned into science vs freedom and democrats vs republicans. I’ve even had friends who have been verbally attacked for choosing to wear a mask while out shopping.
I’m not scared. I’m not afraid. I’m wearing a mask to protect others in case I may be carrying the Coronavirus. Homemade and regular medical masks do not protect you from catching the virus but they help you from spread it to others. I do it for you. I do it for my family, friends, neighbors.
I also stay home as much as possible, maintain at least 6ft distance from others as much as possible when outside of my home. I wash my hands frequently. I use hand sanitizer before and after going into a store. I do this to help stop the spread and flatten the curve. To help to stop exposure to those who are most vulnerable. I don’t feel my freedoms are being harmed. I am doing this to help others, an unselfish act.