Preparing for COVID-19? Here’s what doctors say you need

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DENVER (KDVR) — By now you’ve likely seen the apocalyptic images; Colorado shelves stripped clean of things like toilet paper, Kleenex, and cold medicine.

Many stores, including King Soopers and Walgreens, are now placing a limit on the number of items you can buy, citing “high demand and short supply.”

In some stores, that includes medications to treat cold/flu.

“What we’re doing is taking away a limited resource from the rest of the community,” says Dr. Kartik Patel. “If someone else gets it, and they try to get that medication to help with their symptoms, they won’t have access to it.”

Dr. Patel is a primary care physician for UCHealth, and says most people already have the supplies they need to fight off COVID-19.

“There’s no real reason to actually stockpile beforehand,” he says. “It’s kind of hard to understand why people are in a hoarding mentality.”

He recommends having small quantities of the following items in your house.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
Ibuprofen (Advil)
Nyquil / Dayquil / Mucinex (or generic)

“Some people will be clear within 4 days, some people may take a couple weeks,” he says. “But you’re not going to be going through 5 to 10 boxes of Dayquil or Nyquil. You’re not going to go through 30 boxes of Kleenex.”

While Dr. Patel says the general public is fine, he says those with underlying health issues should be taking additional precautions. That includes people with asthma, who should be checking their inhalers now to make sure they aren’t expired.

“They should have at least that extra inhaler, because it does take pharmacies a little bit of time to re-fill your medication,” he says. “and who knows when the next time you’ll be able to get over there is.”

According to the CDC, older adults and people with heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease are at a higher risk for COVID-19 complications.

Dr. Patel says if you have one of those conditions, you should be speaking with your primary care physician about what your plan would be if you were to contract COVID-19.

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