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Friday, April 4, 2014

Preventing Public Health Emergencies when the SHTF

Original Article

by Travis
For fans of The Walking Dead, it’s clear that secondary public health emergencies, like outbreaks of flu, tuberculosis, cholera, etc., can be a big problem…even if the primary catastrophe at hand is an outbreak of a zombie infection. On season 4 of The Walking Dead, we have seen many in the network of survivors fall prey to a disease outbreak that is causing flu like symptoms, including a disturbing bloody cough known in the medical community as Hemoptysis. Diseases like this can easily spread in post SHTF conditions where reduced hygiene, malnutrition, and close quarters promote the immunosuppression and disease spread. Therefore, at the first sign of any disease outbreak, it’s important to take action and prevent it from taking hold and causing a serious secondary disaster. Some of these actions include:
  • Maintain distances of at least 6 feet between individuals in your group. Many diseases spread through the formation of tiny droplets of saliva during sneezing or talking or by physical contact, such as hand shaking. Maintaining distance helps prevent these droplets from reaching another person’s nose, mouth, or eyes through the air or by transfer through contact.
  • Every member of the group must continually remind and enforce regular hand washing by all members of the group. Hand washing is especially important after someone covers their mouth during a cough or sneeze. A hand washing should involve warm water, soap, and at least 25 seconds of vigorous scrubbing.
  • Every member of the group must continually remind members of the group not to touch their mouth, nose, or eyes.
  • Regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces or surfaces contacted by bodily fluids, including knobs, buttons, handles, toilet seats, sinks, eating utensils, etc., with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Bleach is cheap to stock, so stock up!
  • The use of surgical masks helps contain any coughs or sneezes and also serves as a great reminder not to touch one’s own face. Surgical masks are not thought to be sufficient to protect someone from getting infected, rather they serve to contain infections to an infected individual.
  • Boost the immune systems of members in your group by promoting plenty of sleep and taking supplements like vitamin C and D & E, St. John’s Wort, and Green Tea. These supplements boost the immune system, serve as anti-virals, and block cytokines that are often responsible for an overreaction of the immune system that can cause death. For more information on these suppliments and what is known as “cytokine storm,” check out my article entitled “Preventing ‘Cytokine Storm’ Death from Pandemic Flu”.
  • Anyone who exhibits symptoms should be quarantined away from others for a period of 7 days. Those who bring food and provide care to these individuals should wear appropriately fitted N95 masks, gowns, and gloves. These basic personal protective equipment require a bit of training, including the following:
    • Anyone wearing an N95 mask must put it on correctly and conduct a user seal check. Some key aspects to wearing a mask correctly include: placing the top strap of the mask above the ears over and around the temple areas of the head, placing the bottom strap of the mask below the ears and around the back of the neck, pressing and conforming the nosepiece to the nose by pressing from the nasal bridge down towards the cheeks. Conducting a user seal check by quickly inhaling or exhaling while feeling if any air is leaking between the mask and your face and thus, bypassing the filtering mechanism. Re-adjust the mask until no air can be detected passing between the mask and your face.
    • Gowns should be removed and disposed of prior to removal of gloves. o Gloves should be removed according to the following video instructions http://youtu.be/S4gyNAsPCbU.
    • Disinfect any tools, dishes, or utensils used to care for the individual with a bleach solution. o Wash your hands after providing care.
 
The information, concepts, or opinions from CatastropheNetwork.org are intended for informational purposes only and must be evaluated by the reader, in consultation with a professional, to ensure viability for their individual situation.