What to Put in Your Bag: Covid Edition

Everyone is aware that this pandemic is happening and it is very real. Ever since the outbreak started in March 2020, people have been buying out toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and disinfectants to the point they went out of stock… multiple times. Everyone is telling you to wear a mask and wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer, but you already knew that.

Here, I have compiled a list of items that you might want or need to keep in your bag every time you decide to (safely) get out of the house or your dorm. This list comes from my experience, and I wanted to share some tips with you to keep you and others as safe as possible.

  1. 1. An Extra Face Mask

    You already know you have to wear a face mask every time you step out the door. But what if you forget? Some of us just have that “GO GO GO” mechanism in our brains that prioritize what we usually need to grab before we head out like our keys, wallets, and phones. Considering this pandemic has been going on for a while now, our brains have already remembered to wear a mask before we go outside, but sometimes, there’s always that one time, we forget to put on the mask. Having an extra mask that you usually would not wear (because I know you have that favorite mask), like a regular surgical mask or your second favorite mask, in your bag that you take before heading out the doors is such a lifesaver. It saves time by avoiding the ‘turn around, open the door, grab the mask, and go back out again’ moment, and it gives you extra reassurance that you and others will be safe as you are “double prepared.” Also, it helps out other people that may have forgotten a mask themselves. Protecting others and helping people out? Win win!!

  2. 2. Hand Lotion

    Applying sunscreen on hand

    I always have a mini hand lotion from Bath & Body Works in my bag because constantly washing your hands and using hand sanitizer can take a toll on your hands and dry them out. The skin of your hands is very thin and because you’re always doing something with your hands, they get stiff and crackle easily. Keeping your hands hydrated and moisturized with your favorite pocket sized hand lotion while on the go will make you feel more comfortable and not so stiff.

  3. 3. Wet Wipes / Alcohol Wipes

    a bottle of clorox, hand sanitizers and a container of lysol wipes sit on a wooden table

    Always assume a surface outside of your immediate home is unsanitized!!! This reminds you to be cautious of your surroundings and be careful of what you come in contact with. Having that small pack of portable wipes or those individually packaged alcohol wipes can be extremely beneficial if you need to sit down at a table or touch handles. Taking one wipe and doing a couple swipes back and forth and letting the area air dry by itself ensures a sanitized surface for you to interact with.

  4. 4. Hands Free Door Opener

    Elbow tap

    I bought a hands free door opener at Marshalls, and let me tell you, it is amazing, I don’t have to use my hands to open doors or use wipes as a barrier between my hand or handles. It reduces my chances of getting infected and if you get your hands on one of these useful devices, it could also keep you from getting sick. The device has a ring for you to hold and it extends into a hook in order to grab objects. A lot of the hands free door openers are multifunctional and have a nub at the far end of the device which also helps with pushing buttons. My hands free door opener has a rubber tip to interact with finger-touch screens so if I’m doing self-check out at a store or buying a train ticket, I can just use my device instead of my actual hands. It’s so useful and affordable! I highly recommend buying one.

  5. 5. Hand Sanitizer with 70% Ethyl Alcohol

    This is obvious… for obvious reasons, but the reason I say 70% is because it has been proved to be the most effective concentration of ethyl alcohol. Of course, washing your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds is more effective than alcohol, but you cannot be washing your hands every time you touch something. Hand sanitizer is the way to go for a quick and easy clean fix and 70% should be what you’re using or looking to buy. Also, you’ll always have it with you at all times while you’re out so you don’t need to go through the trouble of finding a hand sanitizer dispenser.

That's it! The goal of getting through this pandemic is to wear a mask, socially distance 6 feet apart when you’re in a public area, wash your hands, and sanitize. The items I listed are extra things you might want to do or have in your personal bag or backpack in order to help you get through this rough patch. The hand lotion and hands free door opener were game-changers for me, and they might be for you as well. Just remember to be safe and protect others. If we protect others and others do the same, we can stay safe and healthy to get through this pandemic together.