I know a lot of people are thinking that this is going to be like the Y2K Scare a couple of years ago but with the disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the miserable way our government handled it, I feel it would be prudent and smart to be prepared just in case. We have all heard the dire predictions and it can be scary I agree but with a little thought we can all be prepared to survive. Flu can cause fever, chills, headache, dry cough, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and muscle aches. Unlike other common respiratory infections such as the common cold, influenza can cause extreme fatigue lasting several days to more than a week. Although nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can sometimes accompany influenza infection, especially in children, gastrointestinal symptoms are rarely prominent. The illness that people often call "stomach flu" is not influenza.
In doing some research I have found a website called http://www.PandemicFlu.gov which gives a lot of information on stocking up on things that will be needed like water and food and medicines like Tylenol. The Red Cross has a good PDF about how to care for some one or a whole family with the Flu. Kudos to the Red Cross for putting out practical medical information. So I am not going to list these things here as these resources can give you the best information on what to stock up on.
But here are some practical things you might have not thought of that should be necessary if we do have a flu outbreak and we find ourselves caring for many sick family members.
Where are you going to isolated sick family members? The CDC recommends that all members with the flu be isolated to one room. This makes sense in that you have all sick people together and can isolate germs. They also recommend these precautions for caring for sick people Wear gloves if hand contact with respiratory secretions or potentially contaminated surfaces is anticipated. Wear a gown if soiling of clothes with a patient's respiratory secretions is anticipated. Change gloves and gowns after each patient encounter and perform hand hygiene. Decontaminate hands before and after touching the patient and after touching the patient's environment or the patient's respiratory secretions, whether or not gloves are worn. When hands are visibly soiled or contaminated with respiratory secretions, wash hands with soap (either plain or antimicrobial) and water. If hands are not visibly soiled, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
In addition to Standard Precautions, health-care workers should adhere to Droplet Precautions during the care of a patient with suspected or confirmed influenza for 5 days after the onset of illness: Place patient in a private room. If a private room is not available, place (cohort) suspected influenza patients with other patients suspected of having influenza. Wear a surgical or procedure mask when entering the patient's room or when working within 3 feet of the patient. Remove the mask when leaving the patient's room and dispose of the mask in a waste container. If patient movement or transport is necessary, have the patient wear a surgical or procedure mask, if possible.
Are you going to have enough beds for sick family members? Cots and Camping bunkbeds can be found rather cheaply online or at your local sporting goods store. Plus these are easier to sanitize than a mattress or boxspring. You are going to need extra blankets and pillows and sheets for these beds. It is recommended that all these things be washable in hot water. Make your own. The Good will and Salvation Army sell blankets cheaply. Two sewn together or Crocheted together make a nice warm blanket for that patient with the chills. Make your own pillows out of cotton fabric that can be pre shrunk or out of some old clothes. Large skirts work well for this. Realize you will be having patients with muscle aches and pains. Extra pillows will be a god send.
Do you have enough bathrooms? There is no delicate way to put this you are going to have several people with the runs. If you don't have enough bathrooms a Portable toilet can be made with a five gallon bucket and a toilet seat attached. These will need to be emptied and cleaned with a strong bleach solution. You are going to need extra water to flush your toilet and you don't want to have to use your drinking water. So this summer set up a garbage can so that you can collect rain water for flushing the waste down the toilet. You can do this with out having to worry about breeding mosquitoes if you just squirt a little dish soap in the water every couple of weeks which will kill the larvae. Remember when summer is over to move this into a indoor space to avoid freezing. A Privacy screen can be made from a couple of bi fold doors hinged together. Remember to stock up on toilet paper and Clorox wipes or make your own out of paper towels and 1/4 cup bleach to a gallon of water.
How about a generator? This is not an luxury item when you are wanting to keep your frozen food frozen when the power is out. For about $300 dollars you can save your food in your freezer. It can also be used to run a Tv or a radio or a computer. These can be bought at any hardware or online also. Some Companies offer free shipping and summer time is the best time to find these on sale. Get a couple of gas cans and stock up on gas when the price is low. These can be stored safely in a garage or shed until needed. Remember metal cans are safer that the cheap plastic. You can run your freezer for two weeks on 4 gallons of gas. Plus you don't have to run your freezer 24-7 you can run it for a couple hours at a time on and off to keep the food frozen. This would maximize your gasoline consumption.
Got Kids? Stock up on board games, card games and coloring books. Older kids might like puzzles. Extra Batteries for the game boy and maybe some new games stockpiled would be a good idea also. Stockpiling some extra books would be good too.
If the electricity goes out besides your freezer you might want to invest in some old fashioned oil Lamps to light your home. They provide more light than a candle and can be bought new for as little as four dollars at Walmart. You will probably need one for every family member and a couple extra just to provide additional light.
You also may want to hit the local farms market to get fresh vegetables to make homemade soups this summer that you can freeze for your sick ones this winter. Chicken Noodle Soup and a mild vegetable will be soothing and quick when you have hungry people to feed.
I truly don't think that we need to go into Panic Mode about this flu pandemic thing. I just believe if we are prepared more people will survive and that's what we all want.
By Debra from Colorado Springs, CO
the pandemic is related to the bird flu - right. i kniow the regular flu can be bad sometimes. but it sounds like you may have the 2 confused.
Avain flu is pretty much the same thing/symptoms as regular human flu we get every year:
Symptoms of avian influenza in humans have ranged from typical human influenza-like symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches) to eye infections, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases (such as acute respiratory distress), and other severe and life-threatening complications. The symptoms of avian influenza may depend on which virus caused the infection.
Studies done in laboratories suggest that some of the prescription medicines approved in the United States for human influenza viruses should work in treating avian influenza infection in humans. However, influenza viruses can become resistant to these drugs, so these medications may not always work. Additional studies are needed to demonstrate the effectiveness of these medicines.
I pray FIRST for God's protection, then for God's wisdom on how to handle whatever it is which is ours
in abundance for the asking. His blessings and watchful care. : )
Thank you so much for writing ALL of that great information out for people like myself! I have already started to stock pile some of those things for myself and my husband but being reminded of other things has truely been a blessing. Thank you so much for the information that you gave and in a very timely matter. This flu that is coming IS NOT something to mess with (I do beleive that history does repeat itself) except that this new flu will kill more then the spanish flu did years ago.
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