stocking up
Stocking up on your basic necessities is important, but remember not to hoard. Source: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images North America/AFP

Is your campus closed? Is your nearest mall dead with inactivity?

With the coronavirus outbreak taking a serious turn, you may notice that the once busy streets and public transportation systems are now eerily empty, a stark contrast to how things were just a few weeks ago.

But before things take a sinister turn and start looking like something that came straight out of the film Contagion, what can you do in preparation for the outbreak? 

On one hand, you’re encouraged to avoid making trips outdoors unless necessary, so what are some of the things worth stocking up on to survive a “stay at home” order or quarantine period? 

Here are some suggestions:

Canned goods


Stocking up on canned goods may be a good idea. Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/AFP

Contrary to what you may think, canned goods can actually be nutritious. 

According to research, canning preserves most of a food’s nutrients while foods that are high in certain nutrients may still maintain their high nutrient levels after being canned, notes Healthline.

If you’re stuck for ideas, try stocking up on some canned goods such as chickpeas, baked beans, tomatoes, fish or even soups for a hearty meal. 

Just don’t buy stuff you hate and stick to those that you like and wouldn’t mind preparing.

Dry goods

Pasta, rice and noodles are just some examples of dry goods that have a long shelf life and can be easily kept in storage if you’re going to be holed up at home or in your student accommodation for several weeks. 

They’re relatively affordable too and give you a good variety of meals to enjoy in the coming days of isolation. 

Other items such as oats, snack bars, biscuits, nuts, dried fruits and cereals are also useful to have on hand, in addition to spreads such as peanut butter (if you’re not allergic to nuts), as it’s high in protein.

Frozen goods

stocking up

Frozen foods are your friend. Source: Pablo Porciuncula Brune/AFP

You still need your dose of vitamins and nutrients, so you might want to consider buying frozen fruits and vegetables such as carrots, corn, spinach and edamame to ensure you stay healthy.


You don’t have to store much water if you drink from the tap, but you’ll still want to store other beverages such as tea or coffee for some sense of normalcy at home. You might want to keep milk powder too thanks to its long shelf life. 

Toiletries and home supplies

Apart from your basic necessities such as tampons, sanitary pads, shampoo and toothpaste, you’ll also want to ensure you have soap so you can wash your hands often and hand sanitiser as they are both effective ways to prevent the spread of germs, notes the CDC

It might also be helpful to have bleach on hand to regularly disinfect your home or room as buying rubbing alcohol and other cleaning supplies can be costly.


stocking up

Don’t forget about medication. Source: Gerard Julien/AFP

Are you on medication? You’ll want to ensure that you have enough on hand to outlast a quarantine period, and extra just in case of any extensions. 

Even if you’re not on medication, have some basic medication such as paracetamol if you have a fever.

Despite these suggestions, remember not to hoard – buy only what’s necessary for you (and your family or housemates if you’re living together and sharing items). 

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