After watching how COVID-19 spread across the world and changed lives, Dr. Sanjay Gupta wants everyone to be prepared for the next pandemic to hit. So he came up with a five-step plan to make sure you're ready when it hits. Just remember the word "PROOF."

Sanjay Gupta's PROOF Plan

Plan Ahead

Remember when no one could find toilet paper or hand sanitizer at the store? Gupta says you should keep a 30- or 60-day supply of the following items:

  • Masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Over-the-counter medications (ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen)
  • Toilet paper

And if you find yourself without mask surgical masks or filtered masks, Gupta has a tip: use the filter inside your vacuum! Just slip it inside the cuff of your cloth mask for easy and effective filtration.

Rethink Risk

Don't wait until the pandemic hits to think about activities that put you at risk of getting sick, Gupta says. Things like sending your kids to school, going into the office or visiting your parents at their assisted living or senior citizen home — think ahead of time about how you would address these aspects of your life and what changes you would have to make to keep everyone safe and healthy.

"We do so many things that are risky on a daily basis that we don't really think about. And then all of a sudden something like this happens. We have no idea how to contextualize risk. ... Just think about your risk ahead of time. … Rethink these things ahead of time so you're not paralyzed in the moment," Gupta says.

Optimize Your Health

What we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that many health conditions put people at greater risk of severe illness if they caught COVID. So Gupta wants everyone to prioritize their health and lower their overall risk of serious illness.

"All of us need to improve our health. I doubt that there's anybody who says I'm in perfect health. And this pandemic sort of made very clear that if you're not, you're going to be much more susceptible to this," he says.

Gupta stresses to make moderate exercise a habit to improve your health and strengthen your immune system. "Think of inactivity as the disease," he says.

Organize Your Family

Gupta says you should everyone in your household and family in your planning so that everyone is on the same page about living "the new normal."

Fight for the Future

Putting these four steps together, you are prioritizing the future. Prepare now with your family so you can stay safe and healthy for the days ahead.

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