With the current rate of COVID-19 cases, I would like to believe we personally know someone who battled COVID-19. I never imagined our family will eventually become another casualty.  My mom passed away leaving me, my Dad and PWD brother

I said in my previous post, I want to create something meaningful from our experience. Hence this post. I wish to detail the best forms of assistance we received. I hope this eventually becomes useful for those who wish to help friends, relatives and other families suffering from COVID-19. 


1. Nutritious and easy to eat food - This was the default assistance offered. Before sending food, please ensure that it will complement the needs and recovery of a COVID-19 patient. 

Initially, our immediate relatives were sending us food. Problem is, we were flooded with all types of food. In the end, we failed to consume everything. TBH, we wasted some food because we can't share the excess of what we received. No one will accept food from a family infected with COVID-19. 

I also wish to highlight that families, with another family member in a hospital battling COVID-19, will never have the appetite to consume food. Instead of automatically sending food, I suggest that proper coordination be made among concerned friends and families. Someone will be responsible for breakfast, lunch, snacks or dinner. 

From our experience, we found fruits (banana, oranges, dalandan) convenient, especially for me who have been making trips to the hospital. I can't eat a full meal in the hospital, I usually take sandwiches and bananas from the vacant lot near my mother's isolation ward. 

If everyone else sends food, you might want to consider sending distilled water instead. This item is often disregarded, yet serves as a constant need of patients. 

2. Send usual over-the-counter medicines to manage the symptoms of COVID-19 - While everyone is willing to send food, you might want to consider medicines or vitamins. 

Usual medicines used by COVID-19 patients include 

  • Paracetamol 
  • Mouthwash designed to address sore throat problems : Bactidol, Betadine, etc 
  • Nasal Spray 
  • Medicines to address cough, colds 
  • Vitamins : Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate with Zinc, Vitamin D supplement (especially if the family or patient cannot receive enough sunlight) 
  • Kool Fever - I find this effective for headaches, even for adults. The brand has kids and adult version, you can consider sending both versions to families, especially those with children. 
  • Medicines to address Diarrhea such as Diatabs and Imodium 
  • Drinks to prevent dehydration - Gatorade, Pocari Sweat 
You might also wish to check if the family has children or adults with difficulty of taking medicines in capsules or tablets. Some medicine for adults also come in syrup. (I didn't know that Solmux for adults is also available in syrup.)

3.  Send Lysol and other sanitizing and anti-bacterial products - This will be very useful for families staying with a COVID-19 patient, someone is staying in a quarantine facility or a family member staying with a COVID-19 patient in the hospital. If food is already overflowing, consider this option instead. 

Lysol (please buy the largest size, the smaller version will only last for hours), Safeguard Liquid Handsoap (more hygienic than sharing a bar of soap), Zonrox (very useful in disinfecting shared toilets) and Alcohol that comes in spray bottles are more convenient. 

4. Thermometer, oximeter, oxygen tank - On the next Shopee or Lazada sale, consider getting yourself and your friends these tools. We have a thermometer at home, only to discover that it's no longer functioning when we needed it. We never owned an oximeter, good thing my cousin acquired one from the nearby bookstore. An oxygen tank will require money but I would say, it can serve as a life saver.  

Thermometer - Drugstores often offer axillary or armpit digital thermometer. This is a good purchase, except that sometimes, it might be tricky to use for non-health professionals or during times of panic. I also suggest acquiring the infrared thermometer. Results are faster and I appreciate that it's a non-contact device. Hence, can be easily shared. 

Note : Thermometers and oximeter require batteries. Please consider including reliable spare batteries. 

Oximeter - There are a lot in Shopee and Lazada. I also suggest buying a version for kids. The usual oximeter size is difficult to use for babies to toddlers. 

Oxygen Tank - The experience I had with Nanay forced me to keep the oxygen tank she barely used. We are not looking forward to use it in the future. But for emergency purposes, it can really save lives and avoid stress and panic among family members. 

Both Shopee and Lazada have legitimate sellers offering oxygen tanks. If you have the spare money, I would suggest acquiring one, especially if you come from a family with comorbidity. Purchasing early can also save money. Emergency purchases, like in our case, ended very costly. 

Should you decide to acquire an oxygen tank, please include the oxygen mask. Lately, we discovered that even oxygen masks are becoming a rare item among drugstores. (Note: Oxygen masks are everywhere in Shopee.)

5. Disposable utensils and trash bags - This was surprisingly helpful for my family. We don't need to worry on contamination and disinfection. As an additional consideration, I recommend that garbage from a COVID-19 patient should be labeled and or sprayed by Lysol, in consideration to the welfare of our garbage collectors. 

6. PPE : Face Masks, Surgical Gloves and Protective Clothing 

Face Masks and Protective Clothing will be useful when not all members of the family are suffering from COVID-19. Likewise, if there is a bed ridden patient at home. 

When my Dad started experiencing symptoms, my mother started wearing PPEs when feeding my PWD brother. It worked because my PWD brother tested negative. When I was taking care of Nanay in the isolation ward, I also wore those cheap disposable PPE clothing sold from FB Marketplace. Despite being exposed to Nanay and the entire COVID ward, I consistently received negative results. My experience proved that PPEs indeed work. 

7. Prepaid load for calls, texts and internet access - Nanay was dependent on her  re-issued Nokia 3310. I ensured that her phone was equipped with prepaid load. 

Days after her death, I checked the phone's inbox and discovered a number of prepaid load notifications. Apparently, her friends sent prepaid load because she was no longer responding to calls and messages. I felt tears because I realized, I was not alone during those painful days.

Most COVID-19 patients are left alone in the hospital, unless hiring of private nurses or caregivers are permitted. Should you know anyone placed in the same situation, ensuring they have the means to communicate will be of great help.

Aside from prepaid load, powerbanks and extension cords will also be useful. Not all wards and private rooms have sufficient and convenient facilities to support charging of mobile devices. 


Aside from sending useful items, I also find these tasks helpful. 

1. Volunteer to do errands for the family - You can offer to pay their utility bills, buy the medicines prescribed by the doctor or ask them if they need anything to purchase. 

I don't have another sibling who can purchase Nanay and Daddy's prescribed medicines. I may have violated quarantine protocols but apologies, I have no one to rely on this task. I banked on prayers and the fact that I tested negative from my first RT-PCR. Should you know someone in the same situation, it would be great help if you can volunteer for quick errands. 

2. Look and book for a doctor available for tele-consultation - Not all families are connected with doctors. If you have the capability, please recommend or better yet, book an online medical consultation for your friend or their entire family suffering from COVID-19.  

3. Do grocery shopping - Every now and then, there is a need to purchase something from the supermarket, drugstore or elsewhere. While there are online shopping sites, purchasing items directly from the store is still, cheaper and faster. 

4. When the worst thing is about to happen, search and organize for cremation / funeral services - One of the best assistance I've received is my cousin's effort to look for an organized, reliable and reasonably priced cremation services. From my experience, I learned that

  • not all companies offering cremation are permitted to handle COVID-19 deaths 
  • Cheaper crematory services are sometimes, deceiving. The surge in COVID-19 deaths forced them to implement a different system. Families can no longer view the cremation process. They will just deliver the urn to the family after certain number of months. 
  • Some LGUs offer free cremation. But similar with the previous case, there's a high chance that viewing of the cremation process will not be possible. 
5. Never discriminate and avoid your friends and their family in this trying time - It feels comforting to have a constant support system. My cousin, who bravely comforted my Dad. My cousins from Bulacan, who were with me during the last few days of Nanay. Another cousin brought me supplies in the hospital. My Nanay's friend helped me acquire a space in the columbarium. My cousins organized the daily evening prayer. One neighbor gave Dad his daily supply of citrus fruits. I'll never forget the people, who chose to  show their support and presence. 

6. Avoid excessive questions and providing tons of suggestions - Leaving my Dad who was still recovering at home, running to the hospital for Nanay while worrying for my PWD brother... I have so much concerns to attend. Explaining everything to another relative, answering tons of questions and taking numerous suggestions are beyond stressful.  From my experience, the best words I received, please don't hesitate to approach me if you need something. You can likewise, voluntarily offer things you feel might be needed


It has been a month since Nanay's left us. A few weeks after her death, I thought I was doing well. I started reporting back for work and attended to some paper works. The past few days felt extremely sad. Things will never be the same. In my heart, I still pray for better days. I hope me and Dad can overcome the grief and sadness. I hope we find other reasons to be happy, even without Nanay's presence.