A year ago when things were still normal you would see kids go to school, people getting ready for work, family gatherings everywhere, drinking session just across the corner, and ‘#travellingislife’ for most of us. A typical day for us was our 8-5 day jobs waiting for us after a long gruesome morning transit going to work. Nobody thought that this would never change until the unthinkable happened. January 30, 2020 COVID-19 landed in the Philippines.
The COVID-19 as we know it has globally affected everyone and everything we do as human-being in a lot of ways we could never imagine. This has triggered a wide variety of changes in our lifestyle and approach to everything that we do. We need to cope with maintaining social distance at all times, long queuing lines, food delivery and take-outs, limited travel, lost livelihood, e-learning, wearing of facemask, disinfecting, and the rise of work from home setup. This is the so-called ‘New Normal’.
Learning to adapt to our new environment is the most crucial thing to learn in order for us to survive and thrive. As stated by Darwin, the ability of a man to adjust to his current situation would be the key factor to help ourselves to go on with our daily lives in the midst of the pandemic.
The acceptance to the new normal is something we should all prepare because honestly, this is our NOW.
Preparation against your enemy is winning half the battle in a war-like situation. We are at war with a disease that caused a pandemic, so we better equip ourselves with the right gear and knowledge to keep us safe and protected.
And no better way to do it is by upgrading your EDC bag with a post quarantine kit.
Wait, firstly what is an EDC?
Am I just being paranoid and overthinking with this?
How will this benefit me?
Probably these are the question that hovers over your mind right now.
So continue reading and let me guide you through then.
EDC stands for Everyday Carry and it’s a collection of useful items that are consistently carried on by a person every day depending on his lifestyle and routine. Are you a cyclist, a writer, an engineer, digital nomad, wellness enthusiast, corporate professional, or just a parent taking care of their kids, we all carry specific things with us every day. These are the things you bring with you going from point A to point B, going to the office, run some errands, or even a quick trip like going to the mall.
Default examples of these nowadays are smartphones, wallets, power banks, and credit cards. Imagine how frustrating it is not having these with you, right?
To some people having an EDC is a must for their convenience and utility in order for them to overcome their simple day-to-day problems, respond to emergency situations, and prepare for unexpected dangerous scenarios.
Do you think it is going too far?
You feel that you are just being paranoid or overthinking much.
Well, I get you I have been there. But the way I think about it now, I would rather be stuck in an emergency situation with my handy dandy tools at hand than not to have them to begin with.
Whether it is in a handbag, backpack, fanny pack or just mere stuffed pockets of your pants carrying the right stuff and what is necessary will always have an advantage in times of need.
My Personal Carry
So here is the list of items that I personally carry every day wherever I go. I have tailored this and added some items to help myself adapt to our current pandemic condition. Hopefully, this can be used as a guide on how to build yours.
- Baby wipes/Wet wipes
- Power-bank/Smartphone charger
- Water bottle
- Medicine kit
Nowadays, it’s a must to always carry alcohol as an additional disinfectant aside from soap(another item on the list). This will help you clean surfaces and hands when soap washing is not available. A 70% solution Isopropyl Alcohol is the most readily available and effective in the market. There are a lot of brands out there to choose from as long as it fits your preference. Just buy the small spray-on bottle type of container so you can cover a lot of surface area when spraying. Most of all, you could just refill it as needed.
Wait, I know you could be saying how silly I am to put soap in my bag and how much-added weight it brings. WELL, washing your hands with soap is the next best thing we can do to help prevent virus transmission. Not to mention the positive points like its practicality on cost, ease of use, availability, and consumer-friendly. Now to the great part, soap can be made even more portable and travel friendly. The answer? Soluble paper soap. It’s a soap made of soluble paper that dissolves when soaked with water. Click the link for DIYs on making the paper soap.
Another option which I personally use is liquid hand soap diluted in water then refilled in mini spray bottles that I carry everywhere I go. Just always remember the 20-second proper handwashing rule when washing your hands.
Nowadays as mandated by Philippine authorities wearing masks in public is a MUST to reduce the risk of infection and transmission. It is a no brainer that we include this on the list. Although social distancing is highly encouraged there is some unexpected scenario for example crowded places that would put you at risk without wearing a mask so better safe than sorry. It also helps put ease to people around you and away from being flagged a violator for not wearing it.
While there are several types of facemask out there, let me focus on the three most common types;
Cotton/cloth facemask obviously is either made out of cotton fabric or cloth-like materials that offer a little percentage of filter rate. Can be considered as the most basic least effective in filtering air pollutants and large particles in the air. Cheaper and practically can be used repetitively after laundry. An upgraded iteration of this is being able to put better filter fabric refills inside the slot of the mask and fabric design can be fashionable.
Surgical facemask is a medical-grade type of facemask that is often used in hospitals mainly to protect healthcare providers from fluid, droplets, splashes, sprays, and large air particles from their patients. It is used generally by health workers to protect them and their patients from cross-contamination. Today although with the worldwide shortage, it has been commercially available for use. Commonly seen with the blue and white side of the mask and Better than cloth mask. It is disposable and one-time use only as the blue side of the mask absorbs and collects contaminants.
N95 Respirators the most suggested mask to wear while dealing with close contact with positive patients. Encourage to be used by healthcare professionals only due to supply shortage. These masks can filter out both small and large air particles. And as the name suggests it can block up to 95% of small particles being breathed in. It is better than a surgical mask but proper N95 mask is pre-fitted and follows a standard. It is disposable and harder to breathe when worn so those with respiratory conditions need to consult with their doctors for their recommendations
I am not an expert on this so you may want to refer to this video from the World Health Organization(WHO) for better guidance on the proper use of who, what, and when to wear.
Personally I bring a cloth and surgical mask with me always and a few N95 stored at home. My rule of thumb on this is if I am going outside with me knowing that I won’t be in a highly crowded place I wear my cloth mask. In the event of an unexpected mob or somehow social distancing is compromised I instantly switch to a surgical mask. Again don’t hold this against me this is just me.
Moving on with the list.
Baby Wipes/Wet Wipes
Probably the most default thing here if you have a kid in your household. And it is not a bad thing, because parents know how versatile and handy wet wipes are. The best solution for every wiping needs, especially to answer the call of nature. Any brand will do I just use this to disinfect and wipe touch prone areas after being sprayed with alcohol.
The most precious among them all. Just kidding, well at least for those tech-savvy people who won’t be able to live without their dead-juice phone. This is just a personal preference but I know a lot of you do bring this too. Just a backup battery for your smartphone that’s it.
The interesting part of this is I use two wallets. One of my wallet I put it hidden in the deepest part of my EDC bag. It is RFID protected for credit cards, it contains large bills, important IDs, and emergency contact numbers. Another purse that I use is for storing loose bills, coins, debit cards, and company ID. It is used for faster-often taken out wallets for efficiency during transit.
This is self-explanatory. Just bring your own water. Keeping yourself hydrated is also a key part of preventing sore throat infection. Dry throat is prone to infection.
Pen and Paper
Is a must. I always bring one. They say it’s a measure of adulthood and maturity. You can use folded paper or sticky notes. I carry a small notebook with an emergency contact number on the first page. This is mostly just to write and make notes.
In my kit, I Just use a small container with different over-the-counter medicine and immune boosters. Mostly for headaches, painkillers, and antihistamines, basic meds to just help me get through the day. Just a simple reminder prescribed meds should always be guided by your doctor’s order. Since we need to always take care of our immune system, I take extra vitamins with me too.
This can be an optional item since we have our smartphones with a built-in flashlight. But it wouldn’t hurt to have one with you. The keychain version would suffice.
Multi tool (optional)
This is your miniaturized toolbox kit all into one. A lot of options out in the market with different combinations to choose from. A good reference for its use is in the movie 127hours although I hope we won’t need to go that far like in the movie. The reason I don’t always bring this is because of security checks when entering establishment here in the Philippines. I won’t take my chances on my tool being confiscated.
I do not suggest wearing surgical/medical gloves when outside. If not used properly or disposed of, it just may increase the chances of getting infected as well as spreading the virus to your surroundings. It gives that false sense of security that your hands are clean making you prone to disregard self-awareness in everything you touch. This also will lead to less frequency to wash your hands.
PREVENTION, it is the best protection we can give to ourselves against the virus, stay at home as much as possible and no unnecessary travel. Practice self-awareness of your surrounding and maintaining social distance at all times. Take care of your health period. If you feel the need to go for check up please do so.
I’m sure that there are better, detailed, personalized, and more function-centered EDC setup that you can look into over the internet. That’s the beauty of EDCs, it will always be personal. You can customize to your liking and needs. Usage over time will make you realize what is necessary, what works for you, and modify a fit in your everyday lives.
If you want to dive in a little bit more on this topic, you may want to visit my go-to EDC website for trending gears, EDCs, and great product reviews.