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Preparing For A Pandemic
This years flu strain has been particularly bad. The flu vaccine was a complete flop so the numbers are higher than normal. What’s concerning is the rate at which seemingly healthy young people are dying this year. So it got me thinking about how I can prepare for such a situation. People are always going to get sick, and the flu is never going to be eradicated. So we have to look at both sides of the coin–prevention and treatment.
Most of us know the common sense rules for avoiding illnesses like influenza: Wash your hands, avoid sick people, get enough sleep, eat well, etc. How many of you would be comfortable with just those safety measures in an outbreak of something more serious, like ebola?
Before a pandemic, www.ready.gov recommends that you should have 2 weeks of food and supplies. Staying home is the biggest way to PREVENT getting sick too. They also recommend to have on hand all non-prescription medicines to treat symptoms and any items used to care for the sick. These would include:
- Pain reliever
- Fever reducer
- Stomach remedies
- Cough and Cold medications
- Electrolyte drinks
- Thermometers (Preferably no touch or the old analog ones)
It is so, SO important to have these necessities on hand at all times. If you insist on not being labeled as a “prepper,” at the very least practice common sense and keep some of these things at your disposal. If you knew it would save the life of you, your family member or your child, you wouldn’t hesitate–so don’t hesitate!
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
That old saying really says it all when it comes to preparing for a pandemic! So what are the first steps we should take if we see the beginnings of a pandemic?
- Avoid close contact with people, but especially those who seem to be feeling like they’ve got a cold coming on.
- Wash your hands frequently, even if you haven’t left your home or car. Cleanliness is key.
- Use hand sanitizer or anti-bacterial wipes if you don’t have access to soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. These are all potential entry points for viruses.
- Take your vitamins: A daily multi-vitamin and extra vitamin C and vitamin D could really help your body fend off any foreign invaders.
- Boost your immune system! Echinacea, Garlic, Oil of Oregano, and Elderberry amongst others are all natural ways to give your immune system a much needed boost.
- Keep surfaces in your home clean and disinfected, especially those that get a lot of contact like door knobs, light switches, door on the refrigerator, and toilets.
- Water filtration. It is always possible that the illness could be water borne. Never take chances, filter your water!
Those are just the common sense preventive measures for the flu, but what happens if it gets really bad? When preparing for a pandemic, you have to ask the deeper questions. What if there are bad outbreaks in certain areas? What if people start dying? What do I need if that happens?
- Masks. Medical grade masks are an absolute. N95 masks are even better.
- Wear goggles. This will prevent any droplets from entering your eyes.
- Gloves. Wear gloves when touching any sick person, or any items that a sick person may have handled or been in contact with.
- Hygiene. Continue pandemic hygiene, and even step it up. Take an extra shower, and you can’t wash your hands too much during a pandemic. Use lotion because cracks in your hands can create a place for viruses to enter your body.
- Tyvec suits. They may be the only barrier between you and illness. Any barrier between you and that virus is GOOD!
- Quarantine Room. You should have supplies to set up a quarantine room within your house if they (or you) become sick. Plastic sheeting and duct tape for a simple one, or add HEPA filters and UV lights to make more efficient.
- Any open wound, no matter how small and insignificant, needs to be covered and treated as though it’s a major wound.
- Step up your cleanliness. Using commercial grade antiseptics is recommended, but anything you have that will stop the spread of viruses and bacteria will work.
- Expect disruptions in your power and water. If everyone is getting sick there won’t be people to run and repair these vital systems. Be sure to have water stored. Have alternative power/heat or be ready to go without.
- Pneumonia is what really kills people with the flu. Be on the lookout for it and be sure those you are caring for are breathing deeply and working any mucous out of their lungs.
Above all, do not take risks with your health or the health of your family members. If it looks like an outbreak, it probably is. If it looks like a pandemic, it probably is. Protect yourself! Preparing for a pandemic or outbreak is important for those you love. Here are the easiest things to do BEFORE:
- Have non-prescription medications to help with symptoms
- Have items for sick people in your storage (kleenex, thermometers, electrolyte drinks, etc.)
- Make an outbreak/pandemic kit for each member of your family, and have extras of everything.
- Make a quarantine room kit.
- Soap and cleaning supplies should be added to your storage.
- Have food and water for a minimum of 2 weeks.