Sunday, March 8, 2020

Please stop hoarding stuff you don't need

You don't need a surgical mask to protect yourself from the Corona virus. They don't provide particularly good protection, and doctors, veterinarians, and nurses need surgical masks to protect their patients.

If you've stolen something like this from a
hospital, you're risking people's lives.
Give them back!
Surgical masks are designed to prevent a person from infecting others. This is super important during surgeries and when handling patients with compromised immune systems.

Right now, reports are coming in about people stealing surgical masks from hospitals. Clinics can't buy more, because they're out of stock everywhere. Veterinarians have to reschedule surgeries to make the masks they have last through emergencies.

This is not okay. We all need to cooperate.

There are other types of masks designed to filter out at least 95% of very small particles. The public is currently not advised to use these - they can cause other problems, but if you're interested in learning more, there's a good resource here.

I think hoarding during times of potential crisis is a survival mechanism. We feel that we're doing something, we're affecting our own destiny, taking steps to protect ourselves. That's fine, but not to the extent where people who really need something can't get it.

One of my friends took this at Target the other day. (I was naughty - I didn't ask if I can use her photo, I just took it. Bad Maria, bad bad Maria.) Similar sights meet people all over the world.

I've read pleas for help from women who are out of sanitary pads and can't find any in the stores, and someone who gave an elderly man her toilet paper, because she felt so bad for him when there wasn't any to buy.

I'm not saying not to be prepared - my government usually urges everyone to have enough supplies on hand to get by for one week and that recommendation stands - but do you really need 300 rolls of toilet paper or four gallons of hand sanitizer?

If you feel that you need to do something and you're just itching to prepare, make a list of how much you actually go through.

Make a plan of what you need for say a week, or two weeks. You can write a list of what you, your family, and your pets would need for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. How much shampoo, cleaning products, toilet paper, and similar you really need. Add things you like to eat - if there is an actual crisis, whether it's a hurricane or you're in quarantine in your house, you will feel happier if you have things you like.

Just writing the list is likely to make you feel better, and when you do go to stock up on your "hurricane supplies" you'll get the things you actually need. Instead of being at home with 300 rolls of toilet paper and no food, while someone else has to wipe their behind with crinkled up newspaper...

And, as always, don't just take my word or anyone else's: read and follow the recommendations from the CDC. We'll be okay, but we'll be more okay if we work together!

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