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Amid waning vaccination rates and updated CDC guidelines, the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19 presents a new set of challenges across the country. Because of this, you may be looking to stock up on some protective essentials, such as masks and hand sanitizer, to help you stay safe.
Whether you're taking caution in public settings or stocking up on a few "just in case" items at home, here are the products you need to take care of yourself and others.
What to pack with you on the go:
Travel-sized hand sanitizer has become a staple item to have on hand over the last year or so. It's important to stay stocked up on your supply so that you don't run out while running errands or getting a quick bite to eat. You can even buy a large bottle of hand sanitizer and use it to refill your mini bottle whenever you're running low.
A face mask
The latest guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of masks again for vaccinated people in high transmission areas. Before heading out of the house, don't forget to pack a face mask or two. Reviewed has tested plenty of face masks and found the Athleta Non-Medical Face Masks to be the best overall choice with a comfortable yet protective design.
While we know that the risk of becoming infected through contact with surfaces contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is generally low, it can't hurt to carry around disinfecting wipes, especially if you're traveling on public transportation and want to wipe down your area. There are plenty of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfecting wipes that can be used to kill the SARS-CoV-2, along with other viruses like the flu, such as Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.
Essentials to have for the home
As COVID-19 cases climb again, you may want a thermometer—or to double-check that the thermometer you already own is working properly—to monitor any potential symptoms. This top-rated thermometer for adults sold on Amazon has rave reviews for being easy to read, fast and accurate.
The CDC recommends using a humidifier to ease sore throat and coughing symptoms. Not to mention, they're a great nightstand accessory to have during cold and flu season. We've tested nearly a dozen humidifiers in the Reviewed labs and found the Vicks V745A to be the best option, as it's ultra-powerful and has the capacity to run all night long.
A weighted blanket
If you're feeling the weight of anxiety around COVID-19, you're not alone. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to practice self-care at home to soothe stress. Weighted blankets can help to do just that, applying gentle pressure and creating a calming effect that mimics the feeling of being held or hugged. The 15-pound Gravity Blanket is our favorite pick as it has perfect weight distribution and is made to be long-lasting.
Air purifiers have been proven to greatly improve indoor air quality, removing particles and pollutants such as viruses, pollen, mold, bacteria and VOCs. While air cleaning and filtration are not enough to protect against COVID-19 by themselves, the EPA says they can help to reduce airborne contamination—including viruses—in a building or small space. Out of all the air purifiers Reviewed has tested, the Winix 5500-2 ranks the highest for its ease-of-use and performance power.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: Essentials to help you stay safe as the COVID-19 delta variant spreads