April 29 2:30pm PDT
I usually post my updates at the end of my posts but this is just too important and I don’t want anyone to miss it. The World Health Organization has just held a news conference and raised the threat level for a pandemic to a level 5. This means the H1N1 flu is now officially a pandemic. During the conference they stated that the flu would continue to spread and could get more severe. They also noted that it would be more severe in less industrialized countries. This is very serious and should not cause us to panic but it should be a wake up call if you are not prepared to remain in your home for at least two weeks. No grocery store, no work, no school, no going outside for any reason except to go to the doctor. This is the only way to truly keep your family safe. There is no need for that right now but it could come. A week ago no one was talking about a pandemic. Things can and will change very quickly and now is the time to plan what you and your family will do. Please go back and read the Friday pandemic post on this blog, please check at work and school to determine what the plans are there and please speak with extended family to verify that they also have a plan. When I hear more I will pass it along. Please don’t listen to rumors, confirm all you read or hear with another source.
As you may have noticed I failed to post any updates for several hours yesterday. We had a power outage. It made me think about just how quickly things can change. I intended to keep posting through this flu outbreak and had always thought I would keep in touch and answer questions during a pandemic. I saw this as a place to share frustrations, suggestions, to get questions answered, and to just plain feel connected to the outside world. Then it happened, the power went out and I realized there may be times we can’t communicate. I knew that. I have warned you to be prepared for power outages during a pandemic but yesterday made it all too real. What that means to me is that we need to share and ask now while we still can.
I am still hopeful that this flu will not become a very deadly pandemic. It may become a pandemic but hopefully a mild one with “few” deaths. I realize any death is one too many.
Most of us have been preparing but if you are just beginning please don’t go empty your savings accounts and blindly go crazy buying food and supplies. It may seem self serving, but, just go download Mother Hubbard…What She’s Doing Now, read it and begin to stock up in an organized way. There is a calculator in the ebook to help you know how much you need to store for a week’s supply up to a year’s supply of each food category. You can also go back through the posts in the Where to begin food storage section on this blog and use that as your guide. You will want to store foods your family likes and eats all the time, store what you eat and eat what you store. You will also want to add foods to have on hand for those who are ill or recovering from the flu. These include, plenty of juices, jello, broths, chicken noodle soup, popsicles, applesauce, rice, and saltine type crackers. I will post a list of the stages of the flu and the specific foods to eat later today or tomorrow.
While you are at the bank take out some cash in small denomination bills. If this should become a pandemic and there is a “run” on the store, or power goes down, you may need cash to pay for supplies. During most emergencies it comes to that, either the credit card system becomes overwhelmed and useless, or there is no power to keep it working. This of course, would also be true of the ATM system, don’t count on it being available.
Please take a minute to read the comments on yesterday’s post. There are some great tips from readers there. Now to some questions:
“Then they say it will possibly come back in the fall… I feel like this is our “drill” for what may come.”
Yes, this could come back in the fall. Typically a pandemic comes in two or three stages. The first stage is mild and people die but most people survive. This typically lasts 9-12 weeks. During the second stage the virus is usually stronger and deaths increase. There is normally only a very short period of time between the second and third waves but people are lulled into a state of false security between the first and second because they believe it is all over. This is the time to step up our preparedness effort so we are ready in case a second wave happens. If everyone would continue to follow Our General Store preparations each Monday they will be ready to self quarantine by the time that second wave occurs.
What do you think about the vaccine that they may give next fall… I really don’t want to take it, from what I read about what happened in the 1970’s. Do you think it can be safe if they are able to grow the vaccine from seeds?
I feel confident that a vaccine will not be disastrous this time as it was in 1976. The government went into panic mode at that time and there probably should have been more testing before the vaccine was given. I am so glad you asked about this as I really should have explained, I apologize. A seed stock is not a seed. It is called that because like a tomato seed that produces a tomato a seed stock of a virus produces a virus. Think of a seed stock for a virus as a petri dish growing that virus. When scientist want to study the virus they go to the dish, remove some of the virus, provide the correct environment for it to thrive and then use it to test a vaccine to see if it will kill the virus. A small amount of the virus is also needed a part of the vaccine itself. A scientist will tell you that explanation is not complete but for those of us not creating a vaccine it should help you understand.
Do you think they are keeping the real risk “quiet”? I don’t think most people are worried at all about the threat of what this can become. They keep reporting about what happens with a seasonal flu and make it seem like this is the same type of thing. I don’t feel like it is the same at all - what do you think?
I think the government just wants to avoid panic. I am more upset with the media. I sent some articles I have written to news outlets and asked if I could help inform their readers and listeners (TV and radio) and I did not get one call in response. Now, I realize they have not heard of me but they have not had anyone else explaining how to prepare except to say to wash your hands and stay home if you get sick. Well, if you are quarantined and haven’t prepared who do they think is going to bring you food and medical supplies? I’m sick of hearing about the first 100 days and a republican who jumps parties when families are frightened. I hope this blog is helping to alleviate some of those fears and bring you facts. If it has helped you please share it with those you know.
Should I stay home from church and keep my kids home from school?
If there is swine flu in your school or in your community I would stay home from all public gathering. Hold a worship service in your home and call your child’s school or teacher for some guidance and create lessons in your home. If they don’t have anything watch the Discovery Channel and discuss what you learn or get out a classic book and read it together. By the way, if there is a child at school with the flu your school should have been closed.
I have a question for you. WHAT DID YOUR SCHOOL SAY WHEN YOU ASKED THEM HOW THEY WERE PREPARED FOR A PANDEMIC?
As an update..
Texas has canceled all school events sports, plays, etc. until May 11th.
I’m sure you are aware there has now been a death in Texas of a 23 month old boy who was visiting from Mexico.
Germany has now confirmed the flu is there also.
Egypt is destroying all it’s pigs even though there is no flu there and this virus is being transferred between humans, not pigs. There is no reason to destroy pigs and YOU CANNOT GET THE FLU BY EATING PORK PRODUCTS. You might be able to get a great deal on pork roast and ribs right now!