By an author who prefers to remain anonymous but whose identity is known to Jozikids

Information overload! This is how we felt when faced with new positive cases in the house. And, no matter how much we had read up previously, we were seriously dumbstruck. From our recent experience with positives in the house, I thought it may be useful to share a shopping list for patients in isolation at home. All thanks to a friend, recovering from Covid. 

self isolation during Covid-19

Most of these items can be purchased beforehand, and kept handy.  Especially since it feels like we are playing a waiting game:

Isolation Shopping List

Every household must have

Please use gloves, double mask and just keep fogging the area.

  • Oxymeter (check with your Medical Aid: some offer these for free, or purchase from Dischem etc)
  • Fogger cans
  • Sanitiser
  • Gloves

Preparing the isolation room:

Choose a well ventilated room, that is still warm and has lots of sunlight. Keep it happy with suitable entertainment, and Wi-Fi if possible.

  • Domestos (or the like) that patient can use to clean the bathroom
  • Handy Andy
  • Cloths
  • Paper towels
  • Tissues
  • Extra towels: hand towels for placing on the head for fever, bath towels for added showers
  • Dustbin bags
  • Washing powder (for underwear)
  • Bucket for laundry (laundry must be placed in hot water)
  • Karvol
  • Oils for steaming (Vicks works well)
  • Bowl for steaming
  • Sanitary pads (in some cases adult diapers may be necessary – patients tend to urinate frequently)
  • Balloons for breathing exercises
  • Water bottle and thick straws for breathing exercises

isolation kit

Household medication

  • Panado
  • Imodium (the runs just happen)
  • Saline rinse (evenn if its the homemade one using bicarb, water, salt and betadine)
  • Mouth rinse (can use Himalayan salt and water)
  • Vitamin C, Zinc, Immune boosters for the rest of the family
  • Disprin is sometimes prescribed to thin the blood, in cases where oxygen levels are low. 

Crockery and cutlery

Go with whats easiest for you! Washing and sanitising dishes over and again may be tedious. Disposables are so much easier, but be mindful of the environment.

  • Disposable plates
  • Disposable cups
  • Plastic spoons, knives, forks
  • Disposable bowls
  • We even used disposable trays


Initially patients will have an appetite. But, in most cases this tends to get smaller as the days go by. Small, regular meals are advised, on days they can stomach it. Other days, patients will prefer comfort foods. You’ve got to be cruel to be kind, most days. Here are some meal and snack ideas, although every individual has a palate preference:

  • Biltong (a good protein snack especially when appetites are small)
  • Oranges and more oranges
  • Avoid fizzy drinks and sweets (this virus has produced new diabetics)
  • Nuts and dates for sustained energy
  • Warm foods (infusing as much ginger, and turmeric where possible)
  • Homemade citrus tea 
  • Avocados with cream cheese on toast
  • Fruits (or fruit salad)
  • Yoghurts
  • Sandwiches are more palatable
  • Soups (although I’ve heard many say this gets nauseating after a while)
  • Colourful Vegetables
  • Veggie juices (the Sir Juice and Woolies brands are great if you do not have a juicer)
  • Ginger Bites 

Keep meals looking pretty and appetising. You may be lucky enough to prepare these items yourself or have someone in the house prepare them for you. It is extremely helpful to have a delivery service in place for groceries, medication and other items. Having friends and family deliver ready to heat-and-eat meals in disposable containers is the absolute best! And such a treat! It really takes a weight of your shoulders.


The key to success always. Be sure to communicate your oxymeter readings, sleeping patterns and all other symptoms with your caregiver and doctors. It is also helpful to communicate your cravings with those preparing your meals to avoid waste and unnecessary frustration.

  • A smartphone
  • Purchase enough data (or have your wi-fi in place)
  • A bell or something that can alert family members should you need assistance
  • Laptops (for when you have the energy to tend to emails)

Tip: set up a WhatsApp group between yourself, one or two immediate family members and a Dr (caregiver): this will eliminate duplicate calls and messages and ensure strict monitoring. Or nominate a family member who can keep all communication open especially when you have no energy to talk. 

Isolation Schedule

Nursing yourself or a patient can be overwhelming. Create a schedule that will help you remember what to do whilst in isolation:

early morning: approx 7am

  • Steam
  • Breakfast: cereals / egg
  • Honey water

mid morning: approx 10:30 am

  • steam
  • snack (fruit / savoury)
  • gargle with salt water/ mouthwash

lunch: approx 1:30pm

  • lunch
  • breathing exercises

mid afternoon: approx 3pm

  • steam
  • snack

evening: 6:15pm

  • supper

night: 8:30pm

  • steam
  • dessert
  • ginger milk or something warm for the night.

Keep your mind positive, and your body negative: You’ve got this! 

The trick is to be optimistic. You’ve tested positive and you will get through it, knowing you’re organised and comfortable. Know what to do and how to do it. 

Dr Daniel Israel (GGPC) recently shared an article on what to do when one person at home tests positive. This is an excellent read, and has become our manual. Read now.

Another useful guide is that by Dr Sandhya Ramanathan from New Zealand who recently shared advice via You Tube. Read now

Related  useful articles:

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