This morning I woke up feeling a need to read more carefully about pandemics. Not predicting anything, just feel the need to be more prepared. I watched a video produced by BYU-Idaho on how they are preparing their students and employees for a possible pandemic. It’s at the bottom of the page on the ProvidentLiving.org website on Pandemic Preparedness Planning.
A pandemic is an epidemic disease that spreads to other communities usually beyond national borders. The video explains what Avian Influenza Flu H5N1 is, preventative protection procedures, and shared responsibilities. In the event of a major outbreak, you may need to isolate (quarantine) yourself or limit your contact with others. You may not notice you have the flu for 24 -48 hours. Because of how easily it can be spread, plan for 2 weeks to 3 months of supplies in your home. I hope you will educate yourself and watch the video several times.
What are the symptoms of avian flu in humans?
“You get the typical flu-like symptoms of high fever, headache, muscle aches, prostration; but you also get, in many of the cases, a rapidly advancing lung and pulmonary involvement where you have respiratory tract disease, difficulty breathing, and that is generally the cause of death, or a contributing cause of death among those people who’ve actually died from avian flu. So it has some of the standard flu-like symptoms, but it rapidly assumes a very fulminate course, leading to the severe illness and sometimes death of individuals.” AvianFlu.gov
What supplies should I have on hand?
- N95 medical masks – at least 3 per person. “95” means that they keep out 95% of the airborne particles. Contact a local medical supply store, or order online. Cheaper if ordered in bulk, but even Walgreens carries them. These will disappear quickly from the shelves in a pandemic.
- safety goggles or face shield
- liquid hand soap
- hand sanitizer (one for every family member)
- household bleach
- Lysol® or Clorox® disenfectant
- disinfectant wipes (lots)
- garbage bags (plenty as there may be limited trash pickup)
- laundry detergent (if someone in your family is ill, you will be doing plenty of washing)
- disposable tissues (not fabric handkercheifs)
- toilet paper
- paper towels (use in bathrooms instead of hand towels)
- disposable diapers for infants
- disposable vinyl, nitrile, or latex gloves or other reusable gloves that can be disinfected
- disposable shoe covers or those that can be disinfected
- portable radio
- manual can opener
- a supply of your prescription medications, nonprescription drugs, and other health supplies, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, vitamins, rubbing alcohol, thermometers
- store food for at least 3-months (outside food may be difficult to obtain or you may not be able to get to the store). Consider ready-to-eat canned meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, and soups, cereal, food bars, peanut butter and nuts, dried fruit, crackers and canned/bottled juices, baby foods, pet food, vitamins
This list may look similar to the list of items you are already storing in your food and home storage, and 72-hour kits.
What are a few other things I may want to know about pandemics?
- If one of your family or household members becomes ill, they should be isolated in a separate room in your home. Several ill members can be in the same room.
- If your family does not get the flu, others should not come to your home as they can infect your family. So you will need to keep your healthy kids in.
- Schools, colleges, and childcare facilities will likely close.
- You will want to keep your car filled with gas as gas stations may be closed.
- Have cash on hand at home in case banks are closed or services are limited.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others at all times particularly in public.
- Avoid handshaking and other forms of contact with the public.
- Teach family members how to wash hands properly for at least 25 seconds (sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”)
- Teach family members how to cover coughs or sneezes
- Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms and is the most reliable method of purifying water easily
I hope you will take the time to educate yourself.
Pandemic Flu Planning Checklist for Individuals and Families