What is a pandemic? This is a question many of us avoid considering—and for good reason. A pandemic is a global outbreak of a disease. Who wants to think about that all day? They can be dangerous. They can be expensive. Their spread can grow out of nowhere and can pull millions of families into the unknown. The good news is, there are ways you and your loved ones can stay safe during the unexpected. In this article, you’ll find some easy-to-follow suggestions that can keep you healthy and from spreading the disease in your community.

Some basic precautionary actions you can take include:

  • Social-distancing
  • Being mindful of what you touch
  • Cleaning
  • Checking up on your loved ones
  • Knowing the symptoms
  • Staying up-to-date

Sure, a few of these practices might seem unorthodox. But when a global disease strikes it’s best to take the most effective action as soon as possible.

Become Self-Disciplined at Social-Distancing

During a pandemic, you’re likely to hear the phrase “social-distancing” more and more frequently. That’s because social-distancing is a preventative measure scientists and medical experts recommend we use as often as possible to keep a pandemic from spreading.

In simplest measures, the practice requires us humans to remain a distance of at least 3 feet from anyone coughing, sneezing or showing suspicious symptoms. More strenuous and effective measures include reducing the number of people we surround ourselves with, limiting the number of times we leave the house, or refusing to leave the house at all. Social-distancing can also include a halt to discretionary travel, shopping outings, dining at restaurants and bars or other forms of social interaction.

The reason social-distancing is so important during a pandemic is because the virus thrives and can quickly spread in public settings. The fewer number of people together leads to fewer cases.

A woman is sitting at a kitchen table with her children while her husband cooks at the stove behind them.

How Can I Make Social-Distancing Work For My Family?

Staying inside all day might be easy for some to conquer, but for homeowners with children, it’s a difficult undertaking. For one thing, there are multiple mouths to feed. But how can you stock up on food without stepping inside a grocery store? And how do you keep your little ones from growing bored from being inside the house? Some solutions might take a little creativity, while others just call on good old-fashioned technology.

Order Groceries Online

Recently, more and more grocery stores have been providing customers with the option of ordering their groceries online. Some chains will even let you order groceries from their mobile application. In most cases, customers can search the store’s website and fill their online shopping cart with the items they need. When it’s time to pick up the groceries, you can either request delivery or choose curbside pickup. If you choose to have someone deliver your groceries, make sure they leave them by your door so you don’t have to have face-to-face contact. Typically, with curbside delivery, you pay online. This reduces the contact you have when picking up groceries.

Play Games Inside

Social-distancing with your family doesn’t mean you have to sit around staring at the walls.

Pull out some family-favorite board games and start a tournament. Or work on arts and crafts projects that you can hang up on the walls to make light of the difficult circumstances.

Puzzles are another great option because they’re interactive and stimulating for the mind. Try building some with unique artwork that will keep your little ones engaged.

Host a Movie Night

Who doesn’t enjoy watching a movie? Film masters the art of easing our minds and pulling us off into a different world. It serves as a temporary distraction from the unfavorable. So stream something lighthearted or dust off one of your childhood favorites you hope to pass on to the next generation.

Many different streaming services, such as Amazon, often have new releases available for you to choose from. Other platforms, like Hulu, Netflix and Disney Plus, also have a wide assortment of entertainment options.

Watch What You Touch

When a pandemic starts, it’s critical everyone who can, does their part to stop it from spreading. The more it spreads, the more people can get infected, which makes it difficult to contain the disease.

While most infectious diseases spread differently, there are a few basic guidelines you can remember to follow. It all boils down to watching what you touch. For example, it’s highly encouraged that we humans avoid touching our face to prevent the transmission of germs. More specifically, our nose, eyes, and mouth.

The reasoning behind this is simple. Just think of all the different surfaces and objects you touch throughout the day—from doorknobs and kitchen utensils to your dog’s leash. Viruses may exist on these surfaces, and if we touch our face right after these objects…well, a transmission has just been made.

Cover Your Mouth

This is something we should all be practicing year-round. However, covering your mouth is especially critical when the world is suffering from a pandemic. Why? Because it’s a simple act that prevents germs from spreading. So the next time you feel that familiar fuzzy feeling in your nose, get your arm or tissue ready to do some covering.

A person is washing their hands at their sink with bubbly water.

Wash Your Hands

It’s a simple tip, really. It’s something we’ve been told to do since adolescence. It’s also a necessary precaution in protecting yourself from germs. And remember, the most efficient hand washing lasts for at least 20 seconds with soap. The CDC says it doesn’t matter what temperature the water is, just as long as you use some.

Keep Your Distance

While it’s highly encouraged you practice social-distancing during a pandemic, a situation may arise that requires you to leave the house. While out in public, make sure to stay a comfortable distance between other people. This is especially true if around others who are sick.

Clean and Disinfect Regularly

Some of us designate a certain day of the week to clean the house. Maybe it’s on Tuesdays when the kids are at band practice or Saturdays when everyone’s at home and can play a part in the task. While that’s all fine and lovely, you should certainly increase your cleaning frequency during a pandemic. One way you can easily accomplish this is by using disinfecting wipes to clean surfaces within your home throughout the week.

A man in his thirties is looking through his phone while standing in front of a window and a small potted succulent.

Pick Up the Phone

Make sure the people you care about are okay by giving them a call. You never know who needs a helping hand. For example, some diseases are more likely to have severe effects on the elderly. Checking in on your older relatives or loved ones can give them the chance to let you know if they need assistance. Maybe they’re physically incapable of going to the grocery store to stock up on groceries. If you’re younger, healthy and willing, you could make the trip yourself or arrange to have someone get groceries for them.

Know When Something’s Not Right

You can protect yourself and those around you by knowing what the symptoms are for the disease responsible for the pandemic. As soon as you notice symptoms within your body, visit the doctor for testing or use your available resources for guidance. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should also avoid touching or coming into contact with anyone.

Stay Aware

Finding the answer to “what is a pandemic” is fairly easy. Finding an answer to what happens during a pandemic is not. States, or even the federal government, will often adopt policies and procedures at a whim to keep the public as safe as possible. This can include city-wide curfews, restaurant closures, or cancellations of large public gatherings. Day-to-day life will most certainly change. Stay ahead of the curve by staying aware.

Besides, who wouldn’t want to have their notifications turned on when a vaccine has finally been made?