Monday, April 27, 2009
What you should do:
1. Stay home if you are sick.
2. Don’t get on an airplane if you are sick with respiratory symptoms.
3. Wash your hands regularly.
4. If your child is sick, don’t send him/her to school.
Information and Resources:
For complete information: CDC Swine Flu Investigation site
April 27, 2009
Swine Flu Update:
The following states have confirmed cases of H1 swine flu: Ohio – 1 case with history of travel to Mexico, California – 7 cases, no hx of travel; Texas-2 cases, no hx of travel, Kansas-2 cases with a travel hx; and NYC – 8 cases with hx of travel. The age range is 7 yrs -54 yrs of age. The incubation period is 2-5 days (primarily 4-5 days). The attack rate for acute respiratory illness is 27% and the attack rate for ILI (influenza like illness) is 13%. It appears to be a mild illness and only one case has been admitted to the hospital. This is just the opposite of Mexico who is seeing a large number of deaths. CDC is trying to determine why our cases are mild and Mexico is so severe. They do expect it to spread throughout the U.S. and current recommendations are to treat it like our usual seasonal flu.
There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
New Zealand has reported several possible cases as well as Canada and Israel .
Definitions of Respiratory Illness
Fever or feverishness (fever >37.8°C (100°F)
Plus one or two of the following: Rhinorrhea or nasal congestion
Case Definitions for Infection with Swine Influenza A (H1N1) Virus
A Confirmed case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection is defined as a person with an acute respiratory illness with laboratory confirmed swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection at CDC by one or more of the following tests:
1. real-time RT-PCR
2. viral culture
A Probable case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection is defined as a person with an acute respiratory illness with an influenza test that is positive for influenza A, but H1 and H3 negative.
A Suspected case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection is defined as:
1. A person with an acute respiratory illness who was a close contact to a confirmed case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection while the case was ill OR
2. A person with an acute respiratory illness who has traveled to an area where there are confirmed cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) within 7 days of suspect case's illness onset.
Infectious period for confirmed cases = 1 day before onset to 7 days after onset of illnessDay before onset = Day -1Onset day = Day 0Days after onset = Days 1-7
Close contact is defined as: within about 6 feet of an ill person who is a confirmed or suspected case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection during the case’s infectious period.
Antiviral Treatment (guidelines from CDC)
Empiric antiviral treatment is recommended for any ill person suspected to have swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection. Antiviral treatment with either zanamivir alone or with a combination of oseltamivir and either amantadine or rimantadine should be initiated as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms. Recommended duration of treatment is five days. Recommendations for use of antivirals may change as data on antiviral susceptibilities become available. Antiviral doses and schedules recommended for treatment of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection are the same as those recommended for seasonal influenza: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/antivirals/dosagetable.htm#table
For antiviral treatment of a confirmed case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection, either oseltamivir or zanamivir may be administered. Recommended duration of treatment is five days. These same antivirals should be considered for treatment of cases that test positive for influenza A but test negative for seasonal influenza viruses H3 and H1 by PCR.
Oseltamivir, zanamivir, amantadine, and rimantadine are all “Pregnancy Category C" medications, indicating that no clinical studies have been conducted to assess the safety of these medications for pregnant women. Only two cases of amantadine use for severe influenza illness during the third trimester have been reported. However, both amantadine and rimantadine have been demonstrated in animal studies to be teratogenic and embryotoxic when administered at substantially high doses. Because of the unknown effects of influenza antiviral drugs on pregnant women and their fetuses, these four drugs should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the embryo or fetus; the manufacturers' package inserts should be consulted. However, no adverse effects have been reported among women who received oseltamivir or zanamivir during pregnancy or among infants born to such women.
For antiviral chemoprophylaxis of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection, either oseltamivir or zanamivir are recommended. Duration of antiviral chemoprophylaxis is 7 days after the last known exposure to an ill confirmed case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection. Antiviral dosing and schedules recommended for chemoprophylaxis of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection are the same as those recommended for seasonal influenza: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/antivirals/dosagetable.htm#table
Antiviral chemoprophylaxis (pre-exposure or post-exposure) with either oseltamivir or zanamivir is recommended for the following individuals:
Household close contacts who are at high-risk for complications of influenza (persons with certain chronic medical conditions, elderly) of a confirmed or suspected case.
School children who are at high-risk for complications of influenza (persons with certain chronic medical conditions) who had close contact (face-to-face) with a confirmed or suspected case.
Travelers to Mexico who are at high-risk for complications of influenza (persons with certain chronic medical conditions, elderly).
Border workers ( Mexico ) who are at high-risk for complications of influenza (persons with certain chronic medical conditions, elderly).
Health care workers or public health workers who had unprotected close contact with an ill confirmed case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection during the case’s infectious period.
Antiviral chemoprophylaxis (pre-exposure or post-exposure) with either oseltamivir or zanamivir can be considered for the following:
Any health care worker who is at high-risk for complications of influenza (persons with certain chronic medical conditions, elderly) who is working in an area with confirmed swine influenza A (H1N1) cases, and who is caring for patients with any acute febrile respiratory illness.
Non-high risk persons who are travelers to Mexico , first responders, or border workers who are working in areas with confirmed cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection.
3M 8000 Particle Respirator N95, 30-Pack
N95 Mask Can Prevent Pig Flu | Swine Flu More Condition_Symptoms
According to Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), a total of 12 human infections with swine influenza (swine flu) were reported from 10 states in the United States from December 2005 through February 2009. A new strain of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in California, Texas, and Mexico have been identified since March 2009.
What is Swine Flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza that regularly cause outbreaks of influenza among pigs.
What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
* Fast breathing or trouble breathing
* Bluish skin color
* Not drinking enough fluids
* Not waking up or not interacting
* Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
* Fever with a rash
* Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
* Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
* Sudden dizziness
* Severe or persistent vomiting
How do you catch swine flu?
Spread of swine flu can occur in two ways:
* Through contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with swine flu viruses.
* Through contact with a person with swine flu. Human-to-human spread of swine flu has been documented also and is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
Medicines to treat swine flu?
Yes. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body.
There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy.
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
* Use N95 Mask disposable respirator.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
* Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
* If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Read more: http://www.itot54joni.com/2009/04/n95-mask-can-prevent-pig-flu-swine-flu-more-condition_symptoms.html#ixzz0Dv7dPFK3&B
Since my post from yesterday regarding Pandemic Preparedness in light of the current Swine Flu outbreak, I’ve talked to several other preppers and want to provide our readers with more information. Specifically I want to share some other/better mask information, some great links for info on the virus spreading and to discuss sheltering in/quarantine a bit more.
First, to masks. I previously recommended that everyone have several N95 masks in their preps. Having talked with several prepping experts today including a couple who sell masks, I have some additional recommendations for you.
First, the consensus is still that N95 masks are completely satisfactory to have in your preps. The main issues with N95 Masks are regarding donning the mask. Several points were made to me about this today. First, when you don the mask, you MUST make sure that there is a good seal of the mask to your face. This usually means adjusting the nose bridge so that it fits properly on your face. If you don’t have a good seal then the mask is useless to you. Second, make SURE that your hands are clean and sanitized before you handle the mask. If you have the virus on your hands and then touch the inside of your mask to put it on, you’re just putting the virus right in your airway. Finally, and this is something we learned some time ago, for children - you can cut the bottom of the adult N95 mask off to custom fit it to your child’s face. This is actually what my wife and I were taught to do by the Oncologists for our daughter with Leukemia. You can order N95 masks from this link (or lots of other places as well).
N99 masks are more expensive than N95 masks. They do a slightly better job of killing viruses and (from what I’ve learned today) they tend to adjust and fit better on your face. The picture above is of someone wearing an N99 mask. You can order N99 masks from this link (or lots of other places as well).
Triosyn T-5000-V Respirator Mask
The Triosyn mask is a much more expensive solution but is a proactive approach. They have an antimicrobial protection system built into them, are fluid resistant, have an activated carbon layer to filter out odors and a one way valve ventilation system. The ventilation system makes it easier to wear for extended periods of time because it is much easier to exhale from. It also has an inner seal along with two adjustable head straps and an adjustable nose piece. It has about a 5 year shelf life and is good for 24 hours of use. It is one of the only masks that actually kills viruses instead of just filtering them out. You can order them through this link (or lots of other palces as well).
The panic buying has already started. Here in Utah, many stores are already out of them. I went by a couple stores today and they were sold out, while I was at Wal-Mart looking 3 other people came to where I was looking for masks. Many online vendors (including the ones I’ve talked to today) are reporting that they have had a HUGE demand the last couple days and are sold out. They also said that they fully expect to be re-stocked within the next 48 hours. Masks are the new ammunition - they’re going to be pretty tough to find before too long! With all the links above, I would do what I could to find out from a site whether they had masks in stock before I placed an order with them.
Masks in General
Let’s put all this in perspective. What do you need masks for anyway? There a only a couple COMMON times you’ll need them during a Pandemic:
- In Public
- Anytime you are out in public during an actual pandemic/epidemic (which point we are NOT to yet!) you will want to be wearing a mask, eye protection and possibly gloves. You’ll also want to be armed with sanitizing spray and wash.
- Initial Quarantine
- If you start an in home quarantine then you will want everyone to wear masks and take serious protective precautions for the first 48 hours. This is to identify whether anyone in the quarantine is already infected and is going to come down sick. Once you’ve determined that nobody in the quarantine is a carrier you should be safe to un-mask but should still maintain very sanitary practices.
- Around someone sick
- If you have to work around someone who is sick (i.e. a member of your quarintine contracts the virus - like your child) you will want to take multiple precautions. Isolate the person in a seperate room, hang heavy plastic over the doorway to prevent active airflow, don protective gear including mask, goggle, gloves, apron, shoe covers anytime you must enter the room.
Again, these are the most common times you’ll need a mask. If you live in an area that has had a breakout, I would wear a mask anytime I was out in public. If you initiate a quarantine, once you’ve gone through the first 48 hours you should be fine in your home without a mask and even outside - as long as you are not near other people. My perspective is kind of skewed since I live in the country - there are very few people here. If I quarantine I fully expect I’ll be out working on my garden most of the time.
Generally speaking, little kids DO NOT like to wear masks! (we have some personal experience with this) I would advise you to tell your kids that you’re going to teach them about some current events and some plans in case certain things happen. Have them wear a mask while you’re talking, make it last about an hour. Have a fantastic dessert for them if they keep their mask on. Then do it for half an hour each day for the next five days. By this point they won’t freak out about the mask, they won’t fight it quite as much.
Anytime you’ve handled something that might have exposed your hands to the virus, you should vigorously scrub your hands - preferably with anti-bacterial soap. You should be using an alcohol based sanitizer pretty much anytime you handle something that might have been exposed - door handles, paper, hand rails - anything someone might have sneezed on or touched after sneezing. Again, this is only if you are in an at-risk situation like a breakout in your state.
Other ways you can sanitize are to get spritzer spray bottles and fill one with isopropyll alcohol and another with bleach. Spraying things like door handles with either or both of these will kill most germs.
Since we’re a Utah blog we’ll discuss the status of the outbreak in Utah. As of now, Utah has not had any reported cases of the Swine Flu. The state CDC directors and other government officials have met to review Utah’s action plan should cases be found here - here is an official statement from them. They stress that currently Utah is in an “emergency PREPAREDNESS” stage, not an actual Emergency stage. As of now, no schools have been closed or are planning to close. They do advise the following though:
They’re asking people with respiratory symptoms to stay at home but to go to a doctor if they have the serious hallmarks of flu — like a fever, muscle aches, exhaustion, chills, sweats and headaches –not just a cold.
“Well, I think you have to use common sense. You know we’re subject to colds, to respiratory illnesses all the time. I think though, if I were running a fever, had muscle aches and felt unusually tired along with a respiratory illness, yeah, I’d go to the doctor,” Dr. Sundwall said.
As of right now in the U.S. NOBODY has died from the virus. Many have come down with it but they’re being reported as “mild cases”. However, as of right now 103 people have died in Mexico from the swine flu.
There is so much going on with this worldwide that any status would be outdated as soon as I posted it. There are a few good resources to check out though.
- Breaking News Online’s Twitter feed is a really good source of worldwide pandemic status. I suggest following them if you use Twitter.
- The World Health Organization’s Disease Outbreak News
- You can also follow Healthmap for updates on swine flu outbreaks. They also have a great map of where diseases have been reported.
- You can also follow Veratect, a lab monitoring the swine flu, on Twitter for early info.
- Whether you use twitter or not, you can track the #swineflu hashtag here - this will tell show you any tweets posted using #swineflu
- This interactive timeline map will give you an ongoing history tracking outbreaks of swine flu
- This Google Map shows where in the world outbreaks have been reported (zoom all the way out to see the world)
- First hand experiences of the swine flu from Mexico
Don’t Panic, Just Prepare!
There seems to be a lot of fear out there about this, the news seems to be feeding that fear. The information in the last section of this post could be scary. But we need not panic! We’re Preppers, we look to things like this as stuff we thought might happen! The purpose of this post is NOT to scare you. It’s merely to help you get prepared for what might come. We’re trying to provide you with information so that you don’t have to be scared.
The prudent thing to do right now is review your preps - make sure you’re ready for an extended stay at home. If you have to self-quarantine at home, are you ready to be there for a while? What if this virus mutates and turns into a pandemic? Are you prepped for the grid to go down? Are you prepped for other services to be interrupted? Take inventory, make sure your 3 month supply is fully stocked. Make sure you have fuel, food, water and pandemic preps. Have a family action plan in case there is a breakout in your area.
Always, always remember: If you are prepared, you SHALL NOT FEAR! As Preppers we’re ready for this - whether it happens or not.
With the current Swine Flu scare coming out of Mexico and popping up here and there in the United States, it is prudent to become familiar with the situation and especially prudent to review your Pandemic Preparedness Level. I should also stress that this is a “DON’T PANIC, Just Prepare!” post. So first, let’s get to know the player - what is the swine flu? Well, it’s just a variant of the “flu” that makes the rounds and gets passed around every year. Thing is, this variant doesn’t typically pass to humans so there is not an anti-virus in production or even made yet. Don’t take it from me though, and don’t take it from the ‘news’. Here are links to the CDC info and briefs on this situation:
- Swine Flu Brief
- Key facts about Swine Influenza
- Human Swine Influenza Investigation
- This is a vid-cast from the CDC about the swine flu outbreak
Some quick anti-panic notes from the above sources:
- Swine flu CANNOT be transmitted by food. Eating pork does NOT put you at risk.
- This is NOT the first time the ’swine flu’ has transmitted to humans. It’s happened several times before without it becoming a pandemic.
- This variant of swine flu, as with any flu, is a virus and primarily spread person-to-person through coughing or sneezing.
- This is just a flu! The key here is to NOT GET IT, since there is not currently an anti-viral for it.
Quick notes about prevention:
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people. If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth because germs can spread that way.
Now, let’s talk a bit about Pandemic Preparedness.
We’ve linked to this before, here is an excellent resource on Pandemic Preparedness from the LDS Church. In the case of a true Pandemic outbreak in your area, the most important thing is to be prepared to Shelter In. This means having enough food/water/supplies to keep you and your family inside at your home for possibly several weeks. You don’t want to be caught in a store-run in a pandemic outbreak! You need to make sure you are prepared for that possibility ahead of time. If you have your 3 month supply of everything at home already, then Peace is yours in this situation!
Other Pandemic specific things to make sure you have an excellent supply of:
These masks are different from regular dust masks or other types of masks. They are rated to help stop the spread of viruses. You should have enough in your preps to provide a new one to every member of your family every day for at least 2 weeks. They can be purchased at most stores that include a pharmacy, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, WalGreens, etc. Generally they are a little pricey but are necessary for your preps.
You should have several hundred pair of medical gloves in your preps. These are needed if someone in your family gets sick and you have to self-quarantine. Anytime you touch anything that a sick person has been around, you need to be wearing gloves. You can buy these at the same places you buy N-95 masks. They are a lot cheaper than the masks though.
Alcohol-based Hand Sanitizer
Even though you’re wearing gloves all the time, you should have lots of alcohol based sanitizers in your preps. You should have them in your day bag, your go bag, your 72-hour kits and your regular preps. You should also have lots of anti-bacterial soap as well.
To be prepared to take care of someone infected in your home, you should also have the following in your preps (these preps will be for the single person providing care for the sick person, you do not need to have enough of these supplies for everyone in the family to wear constantly):
- Disposable surgical gowns
- Disposable shoe covers
- Goggles or face shield
- Bleach (to clean surfaces and items touched by a sick person)
- Supplies to boil water (to sanitize dishes and other items used by sick person)
I can’t stress enough how important Pandemic Preparedness is. The worst possible thing you could do in a Pandemic outbreak is rush to the store with thousands of potentially sick people and try to fight them all to buy supplies to shelter in. The only rushing you want to do in a Pandemic situation is rush home - and stay there.
Make sure you have N-95 masks and hand sanitizer in your Day Bag, Office Kit, Car Kit, Go Bag and 72 Hour kits! Keep a good supply of sanitizing materials in your preps at home and
Today we discuss the recent events around the H1N1 variant of swine flu currently on every radar screen from local news to the CDC. Is the big pandemic finally here? Don’t get ahead of yourself there is a real risk of epidemic or even pandemic here there is also a large probability that this will end up being a non event and overreaction may be worse the the flu itself.
Today we discuss..
- This is an H1N1 and so was the Spanish Flu but these are not the same
- Have you found holes in your preps because this has made you evaluate them
- What effects might this flu have on the world beyond the illness itself
- Should you cancel travel to Mexico
- Is the media overreacting will that back fire long term
- No one died from this in the US yet, does that mean we are safe
- Why has the flu been fatal in Mexico but not the US
CORRECTION Mexico Flu
Being prepared independently to handle such a crisis as a Swine flu epidemic is critical. Believing that life will always be “normal enough” for you to plan on having access to the “anti-virus” or vaccination shortly after the time of exposure is truly a gamble of Russian roulette proportions.
Hopefully the news as of late regarding the spread of Swine flu has you concerned to some degree of your own exposure. Or perhaps the news has at least made you aware that your emergency preparedness supplies aren’t presently sufficient for such a crisis. If you’re becoming aware of such a situation, that’s actually the best thing that can result from the news of this epidemic. Because the good news is that you can be prepared for this and other like ailments by taking some proactive steps now.
First let’s look at some supplies that you will want to have on hand for external physical benefits.
Breathing mask: A great deal of flu diseases are spread airborne. As such, being sure to protect your nose and your mouth from inhaling the disease or even from spreading it should you have been exposed to it is critical. Breathing masks are much like what you see on the doctors or nurses faces during a surgery. They do not have to be a heavy plastic. (In fact, if you do end up having to wear them for an extended period of time, you’ll wish that they aren’t heavy.) Instead, you can purchase lightweight version at your bulk wholesale stores. You will need to anticipate needed one per person in your home for each day that you may have to ride out an epidemic.
hand-sanitizerHand Sanitizer: While washing your hands with hot soap and water frequently is preferable, it’s not realistic should you have to endure a bio-crisis such as this. So be sure that you have a quality hand sanitizer on hand. Again, you want to be sure that you do not underestimate the quantity of this item to have readily accessible. Not only will it prove useful for spreading a disease, but it’s ideal for everyday use as you ride out any other type of emergency which requires you to live off of your supplies.
Homeopathic Remedies: It’s important that you familiarize yourself with herbal or other types of remedies that can assist individuals who are exposed to something like the Swine flu. The more universal the remedy is, the better so that you don’t have to become a “pharmacy” of remedies. Storage space is valuable, right? I’ve researched a great deal of remedies and my first advice to you is to partake of something regularly now which truly strengthens your immune system. Use a quality nutrition supplement now in order to ensure your health later when such a disaster may affect you. I strongly recommend products such as Reliv or Essiac tea to be made a part of your daily regime now as if you wait until you’re exposed to an airborne illness such as the Swine flu to imbibe, your symptoms will be drawn out, and your body will also have to struggle with the introduction to healthy materials in addition to fighting the flu. To clarify, when you ingest a product which is effective in fighting such a virus, and strengthening your immune system, there will inevitably be some “cleansing” of your body. Cleansing toxins from your body can actually stir things up and make you a bit ill initially. So it’s important that you focus on your health now, so that if you have to step up your natural remedies, the cure doesn’t harm you, so to speak.oil-of-oregano2
In addition to these remedies to begin ingesting now, (you can also use them for crisis remedies as well) here is a list of other alternative remedies you may want to have on hand:
Oil of Oregano (a dose of two drops tastes nasty, but it will kill most any virus.)
4. Knowledge: Yes, it’s true. You don’t want to bet your life on the utilizations of methods that you aren’t familiar with. So obtaining the knowledge you need to properly use such alternative methods is critical. The good news is that finding the right homeopathic medicine for the flu is actually relatively straightforward because the symptoms are easy to identify and universally evident in most flu strains. (Fever, body aches, sore throat, cough, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.) Additionally, you can take comfort in the fact that homeopaths have treated viral illnesses, including the flu as early as the 1918 flu pandemic. A report to the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1921 documented the dramatic success of homeopathy in the worst flu pandemic in history. The death rate of 24,000 flu cases under conventional medical care in that study was 28.2 percent, while the death rate of 26,000 cases treated with homeopathy was a nearly miraculous 1.05 percent. Similarly, many homeopathic physicians each reported treating thousands of patients with very few deaths. So get armed with the necessary knowledge, and you will truly be prepared.
Swine flu is a virus which pigs get and is like the flu humans get. One very big problem - it can be transferred to other pigs and humans. That's not very nice.
What's worse, is humans can transfer it to other humans and it is very contagious.
The final note; Swine is flu is potentially fatal and has proven so in several cases in Mexico.
Apparently, the flu broke out in Mexico, infected at the very least several hundred people before moving across the border into the United States. [Note: some sources are saying the real estimate is thousands of cases in Mexico where it is overwhelming the health care system and being hushed up by the government].
Swine flu has some of the typical symptoms of other flu bugs. From the CDC website:
The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Let's get serious: The swine flu could get out of control just like any other pandemic could. Unlike raiders or looters or riots, viruses can't be stopped with firepower and threats. Only with quarantines, personal protection equipment and dillegence can we avoid catching a bug.
First, avoid sick people. It sounds easy, but is harder than we think. For instance, avoid places with potential sick people like mega stores, sports events, school, work and travel. Airplanes are my particular nemesis during an outbreak. Sick people have a tendancy to think everyone else wants their bug and they board up stuffy nose, fever and all.
The same type of person sends their child to school with a runny nose, mile fever and aches so Mom can have her "time off". If the flu comes to your kids school, pull them as soon as possible. By the way, ask your school what the policy is regarding outbreaks. What do they do about sick children? Do they let them stay?
Next, do you have personal protection equipment? Go to the hardware store and pick up a big ole box of N95 masks. I did some time ago and keep them in my work bag, in the car and in my kids backpacks. In other countries people routinely wear masks to avoid sickness in public places. We might want to start doing the same thing in the U.S. before long.
Also get some hand sanitizer. Get the big size and some of the smaller hand sizes too. You can make hand sanitizer out of alcohol, aloe vera gel and vegetable glycerin. Wash hands frequently with soap and water especially when out in public.
It would be nice to have a doctor friend and stock up on Tamiflu, but some viruses are not affected by Tamiflu or other drugs. It is better to get some elderberry extract and supplements from the health food store. I picked up Sambucol, vitamins C, D, E and other antioxidants, echinacea and zinc. I nave been dosing myself regularly since this whole thing broke out.
Keep your home clean too. Routinely use disinfectant and bleach on all surfaces to kill viruses if they get in the house. We also strip the beds at least twice a week, wash bedding in hot water and detergent and spray the mattresses with Lysol. My wife has covers and pads for all the pillows and mattresses as well.
My kids have been trained to blow their nose with tissues and wash immediately afterward. We never use handkerchiefs but tissues which can be thrown away and disposed of. We also have the kids change their clothes and wash school clothing after they come home from school. No reason to bring anything home and into the house.
This morning before school, we told the kids to do what we do; avoid anyone with cold symptoms. Don't play with them or sit next to them in the cafeteria. Sounds harsh but its not my problem that some thoughtless mom sent her kids to school sick.
Finally, there is quarantine. If its swine flu or bird flu or whatever, are you ready to quarantine at home? What is the government declares a state of emergency and puts in place a curfew. Schools closed, non-essential businesses shut down, workers told to stay home.. Do you have cash on hand? The ability to pay bills for an extended time? What about a stockpile of food and water? Better get stocked up now if you have not already.
Here are a few great resources I found online during the avian flu scare. They are still pertinent for swine flu.
- A pre-paid cell phone purchased with cash and not associated with your name in any way.
- A firearm not registered in your name (I am not advocating anything illegal. In many jurisdictions, you can buy a firearm from a private party and you don't have to register it in your name).
- $1000 in cash. At least.
- A netbook or laptop which is not registered in your name. Use it via free wifi portals instead of through a work or home internet service which can be traced to you.
- A generic phone calling card, paid for with cash of course.
- A ghost address (an address where you receive mail that is in no way connected to you).
- A car which doesn't have a "black box" in it (older than mid '90s for many, but not all, cars).
- A bicycle. Seriously. This in one of the few forms of transportation that doesn't need to be registered to you.
- Medical/dental care done in a foreign country (it helps if you live overseas or close to the Mexican border). Medical care in the US forms a paper trail that will follow you forever.
- A skill. Maybe many skills. With a skill you can work just about anywhere, often times without all of the paperwork that regular employment entails.
- Minimal disguises (ie: glasses, sunglasses, hats, etc).
- A bank account in some else's name (off shore accounts are growing more "iffy" by the day).
- A cross-cut shredder.
- A secure storage unit that is not associated with your name.
- A "hide out" in case you need to crash somewhere for a night or two (this could be an abandoned home, a friend's cabin, etc).
- A safe (preferably hidden where no one else knows where it is).
- Nothing with an RFID chip in it (or if there is a chip, conveniently disable it).
- If you must use store loyalty cards, have them in a random assortment of names/info (of course you will be paying cash only for your purchases).
- Electronic voice changer.
- Pre-paid Visa/debit cards.
My wife was skeptical about the idea of a utility-free weekend. Nonetheless she went along with it and I can report that we are in fact still married and the weekend went smoothly for the most part. The case for her sainthood is growing.
As a family we made several observations that we think are useful.
1) Not all bathtubs hold water. The government amount others is fond of saying that in the event of an emergency you can use your tub to store up to 40 gallons of water were your source to be contaminated. That is true… if your tub will hold water for more than a few hours. Neither of our two tubs will do that on their own. One of them has a built in stopper that obviously leaks. It drains out in about 6 hours. The guest bathroom does not have a built in stopper but I have a rubber one I used to hold back the water… or so I thought until it too began to drain. I used plastic wrap to stop the drainage of water in the guest tub. Had I not been paying attention the water in this second tub would also have drained out. The lesson we took away from this is that widespread information about how to cope in a crisis is not very useful unless you test it in your own home. Will your tub hold water in an emergency? There’s only one way to find out.
By the way we used about 40 gallons of city water stored in the guest room tub, stoppered with plastic wrap for most of our water needs for the weekend. We have a Berkey Filter and used that to clean the water for drinking and cooking. I also used water captured in our rainwater harvesting system (4 barrels in our backyard connected by old hose) to clean with.
2) It’s much harder to cook without the stove top and oven. Part of this was an experiment to see how we would do without out precious utilities with thoughts towards reducing our consumption in a permanent way. Part of this was about what we would do in an emergency situation if we were suddenly without out utilities. I cooked with camp stoves as if we were suddenly unable to use our natural gas range and oven. It worked alright. It took much longer to prepare meals. No doubt I would get better at this with practice but for the most part cooking took longer. I did it on a stainless steel table we have in our laundry room for safety reasons. Starting camp stoves and running them indoors is more dangerous though. I lost most of the hair on my right hand though the weekend ended without any burns. If cooking could no longer be done on a stable stove top or in an oven for long periods of time it would be a good idea to set up the safest possible long term setup. I felt safe about our weekend but I can also see why kitchen fires were more prevalent in the past.
Also I was able to vent the cooking room by opening a window. In the winter or the summer this would come at the expense of making the house colder or hotter or cooking would have to be done outdoors.
I also missed coffee ( I know you don’t need electricity to make coffee but I’m not set how to do it without) and I missed the ease of flipping a switch to heat the kettle for tea; something I do all day long.
3) We had to be careful with candles. We carefully considered the candles we used and their placement throughout our house. We have small children so we did some education about fire but we also made sure to keep them out of reach. We got prepared each evening before it got dark and went to bed earlier than normal. I’m not sure why this part went as smoothly as it did. Perhaps we just intuitively understood that we needed to be prepared for darkness and be careful with candles. We also have a small stock of headlamps which are an awesome invention. We use rechargeable batteries in them. We do have a solar charger but often use the grid for doing that work. More on that later. I will say I slept better. I enjoyed the more natural rhythm of winding down my day as the sun went down and getting up as it got light.
4) We got dirty. Yesterday my wife was wiping away black stains left in a few places presumably by me having gotten it on my hands while cooking. Like I said, camp stove cooking was dirty. It was also harder to get the dishes clean. I had to boil water specifically for this purpose. Sure I got some dishes clean without hot water but some required it to get really clean. We didn’t wash any clothes during these two days but we would have had to if the experiment had continued. I understand “wash day” much better now. Boiling a pot of hot water in the backyard one day a week to get all the clothes, linens and dishes clean would be helpful if it’s harder to do that work throughout the week. We also didn’t bathe during these two days. Well actually that’s not entirely true. I boiled water on Saturday before we went to a dinner party and used a hand towel to wipe down and clean up. I call this technique “Sink Showering” when I do it after a bicycle commute but in this case the hot water came from a pot on the camp stove. Good hygiene is quite possible without running hot water but it would take more of an effort than it does now. Having said that I regularly skip showers from day to day so just because one has access to running water doesn’t mean one will shower daily.
5) We missed music. By far the most traumatic part of this experiment for Keaton, our three year old daughter, was the lack of prerecorded music. She was upset at not having it when she wanted it, especially at bedtime. My wife plays the piano and
signs sings. I play a hand drum. We both have dabbled with the guitar at points in our life and we have one of those but not having access to music on demand was definitely sad. This is something we’re thinking about for our future. We want a way to play prerecorded music that relies as little as possible on electricity from the grid.
We did listen to the radio. I have a hand crank radio that also runs on rechargeable batteries. It’s good for news and for listening to sports but commercial music radio is awful. By the end of the weekend Keaton told us she would ask Santa Claus for music electricity for Christmas.
6) I had to ride in the rain. I didn’t drive all weekend. I’m used to riding to work in the rain on my bicycle and then drying off and maybe having to ride home in it again but it rained all weekend and every time I wanted to go anywhere I got wet. It was not especially cold so it wasn’t dangerous just uncomfortable. I realized I do need to install the fenders I’ve been meaning to put on my bike and I don’t have a good rain jacket that would make short bike trips or just being outside when it’s raining much more pleasant.
Things that didn’t come into play.
We didn’t do any laundry as I mentioned and we didn’t do a lot of bathing. We put most of that off until the weekend was over. This would not work, of course, as a long term strategy. Our cell phones held a charge for the whole weekend. I didn’t need to run any machinery like a tiller or a power saw. This work can be done by hand of course but one of the things we noticed during the course of the weekend is that while much can be done by hand it takes longer. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I felt more involved with tasks that I did by hand on this particular weekend but that are usually done using fossil fuel energy. But I don’t think many of us planning for a future with less energy have a sense of how much less work can be done and how much more of our time will be needed to address household stuff.
We have about 1000 gallons of rainwater harvesting capacity. It was already full and it rained all weekend filling our tanks faster than we could use the water. For a long period of time without water from our municipality we would need more storage capacity and a great filtration system.
The temperature got down to 35 on Sunday night but it had been warm the previous few days. Our central heating system would not have turned on even if it had been powered. However this experiment would have been different if carried out in January or August.
We left one electrical circuit on. It only powers a chest freezer and the small 6 cubic foot refrigerator we have in our kitchen. We did try to use more dried and canned food for the weekend. Mostly this cheat was to keep from spoiling the food we have stored and wasting that savings but we recognize that if we had been without electricity for longer we would have to come up with an alternative.
Jennifer drove. She took the girls to gym on Saturday morning and from there to a birthday party. 15 miles on a bike in the rain with 2 children would not have been feasible or fun. She showered and got ready for the birthday party at the gym. She got ready for church at her parents house which is a half mile from our home. She did turn down an invitation to stay there on Sunday night and we all enjoyed another night of quiet and the slow darkening of our home before bed.
On Saturday we went to a dinner party at a neighbor’s house. It was potluck and we took a bean and corn and tomato dish. We got in ready in a crock pot and took it to our neighbor’s house several hours early and plugged it in to use their electricity. This prompted interesting conversation at the party. We also used the last of our frozen corn.
The dialog that occurred between me and my wife and our neighbors will continue and I think will serve us well. I’ll end with an example. For whatever reason I’ve always thought about adding photovoltaic capacity to our house as an all or nothing proposal. It has seemed beyond financial reach to do that- to switch over to producing all of our electricity needs. This weekend helped me realize two things. First we can build upon past energy reductions strategies to make even less energy necessary for household operation. Second we could add a small amount of PV to power items such as cell phone and other battery chargers or a small refrigeration unit. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. This idea grew out of our experience this past weekend and has a real world feel to it.
This weekend was never intended to be either a tortuous experience or the end all and be all of post peak carbon planning for our family. It was meant to give us a greater appreciation of the energy and convenience that we take for granted. It was also intended to help us identify ways we can live more conservatively and recognize potential changes we should make in advance of decreasing access to energy and resource availability. It has bolstered our confidence about meeting our needs in an uncertain world and has opened up questions about changes we might make.
This guide provides practical advice on how to deal with the effects financial difficulties can have on your physical and mental health -- it covers:
- Possible health risks
- Warning signs
- Managing stress
- Getting help
- Suicide warning signs
- Other steps you can take
Possible Health Risks
Economic turmoil (e.g., increased unemployment, foreclosures, loss of investments and other financial distress) can result in a whole host of negative health effects - both physical and mental. It can be particularly devastating to your emotional and mental well-being. Although each of us is affected differently by economic troubles, these problems can add tremendous stress, which in turn can substantially increase the risk for developing such problems as:
- Compulsive Behaviors (over-eating, excessive gambling, spending, etc.)
- Substance Abuse
It is important to be aware of signs that financial problems may be adversely affecting your emotional or mental well being --or that of someone you care about. These signs include:
- Persistent Sadness/Crying
- Excessive Anxiety
- Lack of Sleep/Constant Fatigue
- Excessive Irritability/Anger
- Increased drinking
- Illicit drug use, including misuse of medications
- Difficulty paying attention or staying focused
- Apathy - not caring about things that are usually important to you
- Not being able to function as well at work, school or home
If you or someone you care about is experiencing these symptoms, you are not alone. These are common reactions to stress, and there are coping techniques that you can use to help manage it. They include:
- Trying to keep things in perspective - recognize the good aspects of life and retain hope for the future.
- Strengthening connections with family and friends who can provide important emotional support.
- Engaging in activities such as physical exercise, sports or hobbies that can relieve stress and anxiety.
- Developing new employment skills that can provide a practical and highly effective means of coping and directly address financial difficulties.
Even with these coping techniques, however, sometimes these problems can seem overwhelming and you may need additional help to get through "rough patches." Fortunately, there are many people and services that can provide help. These include your:
- Health care provider
- Spiritual leader
- School counselor
- Community health clinic
If you need help finding treatment services you can access our Mental Health Services Locator for information and mental health resources near you. Similarly, if you need help with a substance abuse problem you can use our Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator.
Specific help for financial hardship is also available, on issues such as:
There are many other places where you can turn for guidance and support in dealing with the financial problems affecting you or someone you care about. These resources exist at the federal, state and community level and can be found through many sources such as:
- Federal and state government
- Civic associations
- Spiritual groups
- Other sources such as the government services section of a phone book
Suicide Warning Signs
Unemployment and other kinds of financial distress do not "cause" suicide directly, but they can be factors that interact dynamically within individuals and affect their risk for suicide. These financial factors can cause strong feelings such as humiliation and despair, which can precipitate suicidal thoughts or actions among those who may already be vulnerable to having these feelings because of life-experiences or underlying mental or emotional conditions (e.g., depression, bi-polar disorder) that place them at greater risk of suicide.
These are some of the signs you may want to be aware of in trying to determine whether you or someone you care about could be at risk for suicide:
- Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
- Looking for ways to kill oneself
- Thinking or fantasying about suicide
- Acting recklessly
- Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life
If you or someone you care about are having suicidal thoughts or showing these symptoms SEEK IMMEDIATE HELP. Contact your health care provider, mental health crisis center, hospital emergency room or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for help.
Other Steps You Can Take
- Acknowledge that economic downturns can be frightening to everyone, but that there are ways of getting through them - from engaging in healthy activities, positive thinking, supportive relationships, to seeking help when needed from health professionals.
- Encourage community-based organizations and groups to provide increased levels of mental health treatment and support to those who are severely affected by the economy.
- Work together to help all members of the community build their resiliency and successfully return to healthy and productive lives.
For further information on mental health or substance abuse issues please visit The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Some people swear cast iron is the only proper cooking utensil. They’re wrong, of course, because as good as cast iron is, there are some foods that react poorly with cast iron, either damaging the cook pot or altering the taste of the food so radically as to render it inedible. For those foods, stainless steel or pyrex works best.
Cast iron has a lot to recommend it for most cooking tasks. It’s versatile and durable, able to go from stovetop to oven and back again, and can even be used on the table. It cooks over open fires and buried in ashes. If you heat it slowly, it will heat evenly, and will hold the heat a long time. It can be heated hotter than pyrex. Cast iron griddles make marvelous pancakes and French toast and grilled cheese. Treated well, it will be as non-stick as Teflon coated cookware.
The problem is that most of us have not used cast iron cookware right, and so we have a mess we shove to the back of the cabinet. We may have inherited a cast iron pot that spent years hidden in a dark cabinet from a relative who misused it. Maybe we heard how great cast iron was and we picked up a find at a garage sale or a flea market. And maybe, we were all gung ho and bought a brand new cast iron skillet and now we have this rough, shiny pot that mocks us from among the pots and pans.
However you acquired your pot, you will have to clean and season it, and take care of it. Then we’ll have to teach our descendants how to care for it so when they inherit it, they’ll take care of it, too.
Let’s assume you inherited a rusty baked on mess of a dutch oven or chicken fry skillet. First thing you have to do is clean it, and it’s gross. You can hardly look at it and are reluctant to touch it. If you have a modern self-cleaning oven – or know someone who does – your task is greatly simplified. If it’s your own oven, I recommend buying an extra rack that you will only use for cleaning disgusting cast iron pots and pans. This is because the rack will darken and warp slightly when left in the oven on the self-cleaning cycle, and it will stick when you pull it out. If you only use it for cleaning the cast iron (or if you also do things like bluing and browning knives and gun parts, you can use the rack for that, too).
Do not do the self-cleaning oven method on cast iron ware with wooden or plastic handles (and yes, there are clueless manufacturers who put plastic handles on cast iron) because the extreme heat of the self-clean cycle will either burn or melt the handles.
If you don’t have access to a self-cleaning oven or your cast iron ware has wooden handles you’ll have to use good old elbow grease and some steel wool to scrub it clean. I recommend cleaning as much out as you can with scrapers first. Soak it in hot water for no more than 45 minutes, then tackle it with scrub brushes. Rinse it often under hot water until it’s clean. Once you have removed all the grunge, you’ll need to dry the cast iron as thoroughly as possible with towels. At this point, it will rust. You may even see signs of rust forming as you dry it. This is normal.
Since using the self-cleaning cycle on the oven will also leave your cast iron ware rusty, the next step is to treat it for rust. For this, you’ll need to soak the cast iron ware in a solution of half white vinegar and half water, completely submerged for no less than one hour and no longer than four hours. Use a timer if you need a reminder. Once the rust is off, rinse the pot under running water, dry it thoroughly with a towel, then finish drying it in a warm oven (350ºF) for a few minutes. If there’s still some rust, use a fine grit sandpaper to rub it lightly off and then buff with a soft cloth.
Now, you’ll need to season it because this process has removed every bit of seasoning it may ever have had. This is the same process you use for brand new cast iron cookware. Coat the whole thing inside and out with a very thin layer of vegetable oil. Place a foil lined cookie sheet on the bottom rack of your oven and place the pot on a rack just above it upside down. Heat it on the oven at 350ºF – 400ºF for 45 minutes. Buff it with a soft cloth or paper towel as soon as it’s cool enough to handle. Repeat this 2 or 3 more times before using it.
Now that you’ve spent all this time cleaning and seasoning your cast iron, you need to take care of it. Unlike Teflon coated pots and pans and pyrex cookware, cast iron cannot be run through a dishwasher or put up wet. Even well-seasoned, it will rust – and you’ll have to go through the above process all over again. Cast iron ware is actually simply to care for than most people think.
1. Empty the pot or pan as soon as you are done cooking by transferring the food into a serving/storage dish
2. When it’s cool enough to handle without getting burned, scrape any excess food out
3. Rinse under hot water and use a plastic scrub pad to scrape off any cooked on foods
4. Except for the initial scrubbing of a crusted and nasty inherited/flea market find of cast iron, never let cast iron soak in water at all, not even for 1 minute – rinse only
5. Dry immediately
6. Set the dried pot or pan on a low burner for no more than 5 minutes to make sure it is thoroughly dry.
7. While the pot or pan is still warm, very lightly coat the inside with vegetable oil to seal the cookware from moisture (and thus preventing rust) and to help preserve its non-stick nature
8. Never put cast iron in a dishwasher
9. When you put the cookware away, do not put the lid directly on the pots or pans – place a paper towel, cloth towel, or a section of that shelf liner that looks like an open-weave burlap to allow air circulation and prevent moisture buildup that could lead to rust.
Rust is your biggest enemy in caring for cast iron.
Now, in cooking with cast iron, there are three important rules you need to pay attention to:
1. Never pour cold liquids into a hot cast iron pot or pan. The temperature difference can cause it to crack.
2. Always have lots of oven mitts and hot pads around when using cast iron as these pots get very hot, even the ones with wooden handles.
3. Never store food in cast iron. The acids will damage the non-stick seasoning and accelerate rusting as well as weakening the cast iron.
I have been getting my backpack and car kits updated and doing a lot of wilderness survival review lately. I decided to make myself a good fire kit since I didn’t have one that met all of my needs. I came up with the one you see in the picture and I believe it is all the fire kit I will ever need.
The kit has 3 ways to start a fire, 5 types of tinder and a way to make more char cloth if needed (if you have a 100% cotton shirt on in the bush).
After building my kit I decided I would try and sell them since I have never seen a fire kit that comes with this much. I teamed up with GoingGear.com (a great store in general) to sell these kits. They are priced at only $14.99 right now so I’m not making a fortune on these. If you buy one let me know what you think. Please send me both good and bad opinions because one of you might see a way to improve it that I have missed.
Fir Kit Contents:
- Unmarked/Unpainted metal tin
- Char cloth
- PJ cotton balls
- Fine steel wool
- Wax and sawdust fire starter
- 1/4″ x 3″ firesteel
- Chrome capsule lighter
- Hacksaw blade piece
Click here to check out the going gear product page for this kit. (I’m told they will have video’s up soon reviewing this kit)
Fear, Anger and Fatalism over swine flu in Mexico - link
Deadly flu strain threatens Mexico and U. S. - link
Worried about Swine flu? Wash your hands - link
FACTBOX: Economic costs of a flu pandemic - link
Swine flu could infect trade and travel - link
FACTBOX: New flu strain is genetic mix - link **
FACTBOX: How swine flu spreads in humans - link
FACTBOX: Some facts about past flu pandemics - link
CDC says "worried" about swine flu outbreak - link
Possible swine flu outbreak at NYC prep scho0l - link
CDC says too late to contain U.S. flu outbreak - link
Mexico fights swine flu with pandemic potential - link - in at 7:30 pm
Mexican doctor: real figure is 200 situation out of control - link!!!!!!!!
Check out Catman's site on this info too!
Scientists isolate genes that caused the 1918 spanish flu - link
me thinks that this is how they made this one - we shall see eh?
Be alert. Be aware. Be prepared.
God Bless and Prep On
Hopefully everyone has been putting some things together in preparation for emergencies/hard times/name your situation, and these things would help those who have done so immensely should there be circumstances that require everyone to stay at home. Some of my thoughts on this issue:
--I was telling my husband that if they declared a pandemic and told everyone to stay home, the first thing I would do would be to fill everything that I could with water. If everyone stays home, chances are that regular water services will be cut off. We have some water in storage, but nowhere near what we would need for 3 months worth, which is the general number that I've heard about how long a quarantine would last.
--Over at Colorado Preppers, there is an excellent post about Preparing for a Home's Power Outage. Hope we never have to use these pointers, but there's a lot to think about in case we do have a power outage.
--In particular for Idaho readers, and anyone who lives near an Albertson's that has this sale running, there are a couple of good prices on storage items if you want to run out and strengthen your supplies. As far as I know, you do have to have one of those oh-so-nifty Albertson's cards. Progresso soups, which last time I checked at the local national chainstore were $1.68 (hopefully I don't have them switched with Campbells dinner soups, which I think are currently going for $1.62) are $1.50 each if you buy 4. (It's one of those things where if you buy $10.00 worth at $2.50 each, you get $4.00 off at the register, making it 4 for $6.00, hence $1.50 each. Aughhh, I don't even like reading that....but it's a good deal, compared with current prices.
There are also some pretty good prices on cold cereal, which would come in handy for power outages.
--These are only some of the thoughts I have--I just hope people have already been preparing for something like this, and that this doesn't turn into a pandemic. Someone who is very emergency preparation minded sent an e-mail this morning, part of which I'm cutting and pasting here:
" Will this be a pandemic? Or is it just another hard flu? You will have to decide for yourself what this is at this point and whether or not you will quarantine yourself and your family before the government says to. Now is the time to keep up with the news and rely on prayer for guidance for your family.
At the very least this is a wake up call to have the recommended three month minimum supply of food, water, medicine and all necessities. If this becomes a pandemic we can expect to be quarantined for three months. The government has been warning us for several years so most of you, hopefully, believed it and prepared. If not, get to the stores before the shelves are empty. Call your doctor NOW if you need a 90 day prescription refill and get it as soon as you can. It will never hurt to always be 90 days ahead on essential meds.
Please do not underestimate the time a disease will take to spread. With our methods of travel added to the ventilation systems in large confined areas and the number of times we go to malls, sports activities, etc., one person who was exposed a day ago could unknowingly begin the infection of thousands of people before really feeling sick him/herself.
What am I doing? I am taking my own advice and staying home the rest of the day and checking the news frequently. Am I panicking? No. I am watching and waiting, going about my usual routine and not doing anything differently than planning to not go out into crowds. I am regretting I didn't see this sooner because I did go shopping this morning and I would not have had I been aware of this article."
Get as prepared as you can while you can. Wishing everyone the best, and hoping that our food storage/emergency supplies will not be needed until another day, if ever....