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Friday, July 24, 2009

Swine Flu: Getting Ready For Fall

Okay. We're about 2 weeks away from school starting here in my "neck of the woods" in West Tennessee. Registration starts August 4th - city and county schools back in full swing on August 10th. Are you ready for a possible surge in swine flu in your area as school and school activities get underway?

What have you done to prepare? Have you given it any thought? Made any plans about self-quarantine issues or what you'll do if your children can't go to school or parents can't go to work?

Even if this is not a very deadly version of the pandemic flu, have you thought about the impact it could have on medical services in your area? If the hospitals start to get over-run with people with flu symptoms and start to shut down services due to lack of beds, or start delaying surgeries due to lack of beds - how could that impact you? Think it won't happen? It is already happening in Australia and New Zealand, where they've been in the midst of their winter season.

What if you are in a car accident and need surgery? What if you go into labor - would you really want to head to a hospital full of swine flu patients to give birth? Are you in a "high risk" category for this strain of flu? (High risk for H1N1 are children under 5, those who have obesity, those who have diabetes, those who have asthma, and those who are pregnant. It is hitting young, healthy adults particularly hard.)

Following are some things to think about. This list is not all inclusive, there could be lots more, but this should get you started. Please don't wait until the last minute to try to think this through. Be prepared in advance. Best case you won't need to use any of your preparations, but it would be certainly nice to have them already in place should you need them.

Considerations:

~ Do I have enough food and water on hand for at least 30 days if I had to stay in place and could not get to the store? (Minimum water usage is considered 1 gallon of water per day per person and this would not include any washing, laundry, etc. which you most certainly might need to do with a sick person in your home). How will you store it? Where will you store it?

~ Do I have enough of my usual prescription medications on hand for at least 30 days if I am unable to go out and get more? Do I have the usual prescriptions for any of my family members for at least 30 days?

~ Do I have enough over-the-counter medications on hand for my family to help treat the signs/symptoms of flu? Things like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, electrolytes (Emergen-C and the like), Vitamin D, Vitamin C, cough drops, etc.

~ Do I have items on hand to make a "quarantine" room for a sick family member if needed? Things like plastic drop cloth or shower curtains to cover doorways, N-95 or better masks to protect caregivers and to cover the sick to help contain spreading of the virus, rubber gloves, rubbing alcohol and other disinfectants, plenty of linens, laundry detergent, and the like?

~ Do I have enough cash on hand to make any needed purchases should I be unable to get to the bank?

~ Is there a point when I would decided to "self-quarantine" my family because of swine flu in my area? What is that "tipping point"? How will I define "self-quarantine" for my family?

~ If both parents work, what is our plan for childcare in the event schools close? What if one or both parents become ill?

~ What if a "worst-case" scenario hits and there are travel restrictions? What if you can't even cross from one county to the next in your home state? What if you work in one county, but live in another - could you get home if needed?

Take a little time to think some of these issues through and have a game plan ready, just in case you need it. I'd much rather be prepared and not need to use it, than not be prepared at all.

Here are some recent news articles that you might also want to review:

Officials Scramble to Prepare Swine Flu Vaccine - Vaccine Strain Growth in Culture Much Slower Than Expected

WHO: Swine Flu Epidemic Still In Early Stages (100,000 cases in England last week alone)

Swine Flu Vaccine Poses Challenges to FDA

Explosion of UK Pandemic H1N1 Cases Causes Concern

Up to 40% in US Could Get Swine Flu

US: 160M doses of swine flu vaccine due in October

Swine Flu Fears Prompt Run on UK Pharmacies

Stay on your toes and don't wait until the last minute to get prepared.

1 comment:

matthiasj said...

I'm ready. I hope others are. Things will get bad this fall.

matthiasj
Kentucky Preppers Network

Tennessee Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Tennessee Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.