Panic is in the air, and so is the flu. In the past 20 years, a host of new diseases have swept through Singapore — SARS, bird flu, H1N1 and now COVID-19. The other diseases came and went with little fanfare, but COVID-19 is causing a global panic.

If a new type of flu is enough to send countries into lockdowns, you might need to rethink the way you go about your daily life in the future.

1. Change Your Shopping Habits

You can avoid the hassles and risks of shopping in crowded places by making your purchases online. Although the promise of automated drones that deliver to your door/windows has not happened yet, getting your items delivered will still reduce your contact with germs and other particulates.

Skip that trip to the shop and purchase your books in online bookstores here in Singapore. You will know exactly if your item is in stock and you will not be running into people or touching infected surfaces. Almost every company will have an online store, and you can even compare prices by just doing a bit of research.

One thing you do not want to have delivered is food. Restaurants and food establishments are exposed to a huge number of people, and getting food delivered can be problematic. This is why you need to do these things.

2. Store Some Food

grocery shopping

If people can panic over simple toilet paper, what more if the groceries run out of food? Things can get scary if cities get locked down for long periods. It is better to be a bit prepared than risk getting into a fight over canned goods.

Thankfully, the paranoia and eccentricity of western countries have made survival rations an actual thing. You can easily purchase a month’s worth (or more) of dry food online, and these supplies should be good for at least five years. They will not be tasty, but at least you will not starve.

But do not hoard. Having sufficient supplies should be heavily differentiated from the act of hoarding.

3. Cultivate a Strong Physique

Stop smoking and get a bit of exercise. A fitter body will reduce your risk of catching a disease. Even if you did, it probably would not have serious repercussions. SARS, H1N1, H5N1 and even COVID-19 are most dangerous to the elderly and infirm.

A healthy heart and lungs will increase your chances of survival and reduce your symptoms to a minimum. However, even if a stronger physique vastly improves your chances of getting through a pandemic unharmed, you can still become a carrier and infect the people around you.

Keep to yourself or have your loved ones join you in your fitness regimen.

4. Ramp Up Your Hygiene

Everyone’s a germophobe or should be acting like one. Make washing your hands for longer periods a permanent practice and avoid touching random surfaces (railings, tabletops, etc.) when you go outside. Face masks are fine, but add a pair of glasses because a random sneeze can send viruses flying into your eyes.

COVID-19 isn’t that scary, but look at the panic it’s already causing. Do a bit of preparation and be a little more careful because the next pandemic could be a little more serious.