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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Prepare: How To Prepare For Swine Flu

Or for any other pandemic.

Good news about the swine flu, it is not passed at random. You have to be exposed to someone who has the virus (or a pig who does, but most of us won't have that problem).

The old advice is the best advice:

- Stay away from sick people! If someone is sneezing and blowing their nose, get away from them. This is not a joke but a fact of life.

- Don't eat or drink after another. You never know if they have the virus in dormant stages.

- If you have to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with something like a handkerchief or kleenex. (I hate those idiots who sneeze with their head stuck out, face uncovered as loud as they possibly can in a crowded room). After using the kleenex, throw it away. If it is a handkerchief put it away. Then wash your hands very well. (And then go home and get away from other people).

- Stay away from crowded public places. Sick people seem to love to congregate in churches, big retail stores, hospital emergency rooms, and schools. If you can work from home - do. If you can pull your kids from school, pull them. Only shop in the early morning or late night hours. Wear gloves or carry sanitizing wipes to wipe down grocery cart handles or baskets. Don't eat the samples in the grocery store for crying out loud!

- Use common sense. Wash hands frequently. Avoid touching eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Get plenty of rest. Eat properly.

OK, now MY list of preparedness advice the mass media and government don't want to talk about.

- Get some N95 masks today. They are far better than the surgical type masks (the blue ones) you see everyone wearing. The big box hardware stores generally carry them in the tool section or near paint. Word to the wise: They have been selling like hotcakes but Amazon has them in stock. 3M - N95 Respirator/Flu Mask, 20 Pack It is not adviseable to wear these multiple times. If you have one on for a short time, it can be reused. After exertion i.e. sweat and spittle (sorry to be gross, but the flu is worse!), the effectiveness of the mask goes down.

- Stock up on food, water and gasoline. Go fill the car up and at least one five gallon can. Buy several weeks of real food like canned and packaged foods, rice, beans, and so on. Get as many cases of bottled water as you can afford. Get a good quality water filter and some large containers.

Why? Well what happens when this swine flu gets out of hand and the grocers close? Or the truckers start getting sick? Also, this just another reason to have a garden for some additional food.

- Stock up on cash at home. Pay bills online. What happens when the banks close? So pay some of those bills in advance just in case.

- Get plenty of bleach and cleaning products. Clean your home and clothing very well now. Wipe surfaces constantly with anti-bacterial wipes. Keep Lysol spray handy and spray toys and eating surfaces as well as beds daily. Keep an N95 mask next to the front door. You may have to start wearing them whenever someone comes to the house.

- Have over the counter medicines, but stock up on alternative products as well. Like elderberry supplements marketed as Sambucol. You should have been taking regular supplements like vitamins and herbs already. If not, stock up on some as well as herbs like goldenseal and echinacea.

If you think you are getting the flu, remember to hydrate. Dehydration is a symptom of diarrhea, so get lots of gatorade and make rehydration drinks with sugar, salt and filtered water.

- If anyone does get sick in the family, quarantine them from the rest. Have a room designated as a sick room. Have clean sheets and bedding ready. Thoroughly clean the infected person's room, bedding and clothing. Keep them comfortable and well dosed with plenty of fluids.

Stay in contact with your health care provider and let them know of all symptoms as they occur.

You and your family can survive a pandemic, but you have to use common sense and courtesy. Most of all, stay away from others if you are sick and take all steps to get well as soon as possible. If you have not been exposed, do all possible to avoid being around other sick people. And no matter what anyone else says, get prepared now.