We should each take a proactive approach to prepare for a pandemic.
Epidemic Defined: An epidemic is defined by an illness or health-related issue that is showing up in more cases than would be normally expected.
Pandemic Defined: A pandemic is an epidemic disease that spreads to other communities usually beyond national borders.
What is Swine Flu? “Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by a type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza among pigs. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans; however, human infections with swine flu do occur. Public health officials have determined that this strain of swine flu virus spreads from human to human and can cause illness.” CDC
Typical swine flu symptoms:
Fever (greater than 100°F or 37.8°C)
Headache and body aches
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur and in more severe cases it could lead to pneumonia.
Supplies to 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.
- liquid hand soap
- hand sanitizer (one for every family member)
- household bleach
- Lysol® or Clorox® disenfectant
- disinfectant wipes (plenty)
- trash 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)
- kleenex tissues (not fabric handkercheifs)
- toilet paper
- paper towels (use instead of hand towels. We’ve used these in our guest bathroom for months)
- disposable diapers for infants
- disposable vinyl, nitrile, or latex gloves or other reusable gloves that can be disinfected
- a supply of your prescription medications (in case you are too sick to go to the store), nonprescription drugs, and other health supplies, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, vitamins, rubbing alcohol, thermometers
- have a 2-week to 3-month supply of food at home (outside food may be difficult to obtain or you may not be able to get to the store if you are ill).
- food for the flu such as chicken noodle soup, Sprite, 7-up, or ginger ale, saltine crackers, white rice, broth, Pedialyte for children or Gatorade, jello, etc.
General Instructions from health officials:
- Call your doctor if you suspect you have the swine flu. “If you think you are ill with flu, avoid close contact with others as much as possible. Stay at home or in your hotel room. Seek medical care if you are severely ill (such as having trouble breathing). There are antiviral medications for prevention and treatment of swine flu that a doctor can prescribe. Do not go to work, school, or travel while ill.” CDC
- Teach family members how to wash hands often for at least 25 seconds (sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”)
- Teach family members how to cover coughs or sneezes by using your arm or sleeve rather than your hands
- After you cough or sneeze, wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol‑based hand gel.
- 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 inside
- Schools, colleges, and childcare facilities will likely close if conditions worsen
- You will want to keep your car filled with gas as gas stations may be closed if employees are ill.
- Have cash on hand at home in case banks are closed or services are limited.
- Avoid handshaking and other forms of contact with the public.
- Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms and is the most reliable method of purifying water easily
Pandemic Flu Planning Checklist for Individuals and Families, PandemicFlu.gov
Pandemic Preparedness Planning, LDS Church at ProvidentLiving.org. An excellent link!
Centers for Disease Control