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(VINTON, IA: 3/20/20, 11 am) Traditional and social media have been full recently of stories and pictures of people stocking up on toilet paper in preparation for COVID-19. Benton County Public Health and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) remind residents that hoarding of items, most notably toilet paper, are not necessary or recommended.

“We encourage residents to prepare for COVID-19 by making a family plan, being ready for possible interruptions in their normal work and school schedules, and by making sure they have their regular prescriptions on hand,” said Benton County Public Health Director Katie Cox. This does not mean hoarding household items like hand sanitizer or toilet paper.

Some psychologists have explained toilet paper hoarding as a way people can think they are “doing something” when they feel they are at risk. There are much more meaningful ways residents can take action. These include mindfully incorporating these actions into their everyday routines:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow/upper arm.
  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water; if soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Contain the spread of germs by staying home when ill.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the IDPH webpage at https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus and follow the department on Facebook at @IowaDepartmentOfPublicHealth and on Twitter at @IAPublicHealth.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 Need to Know web page.