Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pandemic Protection ~ What Can You Do Part 1

Pandemic Flu
Are You Ready For The Flu?
I have done a number of Blog Posts about the possibility of a flu pandemic but perhaps its time to talk about what you can do to protect your self if the worst happens. To protect yourself you must have an understanding of how the flu spreads.

Influenza or the flu as most of us call it can be spread several ways. One is when an infected person sneezes mucus directly into the eyes, nose or mouth of another person. Another is the airborne route when someone inhales the droplets that contain the virus produced by an infected person coughing, sneezing or spitting. And of course the good old dirty hands that our Mothers warned us about is one of the best ways to spread the flu through hand-to-eye, hand-to-nose, or hand-to-mouth transmission, either from contaminated surfaces or from direct personal contact such as a hand-shake.

So lets say you wake up one morning and you turn on the news only to find that health authorities are saying they have an outbreak or possibly a pandemic starting to spread around the world. What can you do? Well the first and most obvious precaution is to simply isolate yourself and your family from others as best as possible. Hopefully you have your supplies stored and ready so you don't have to run to WalMart and face all the possibly sick people. However if you do have to go out for supplies you can take precautions to mitigate the risk. Obviously a full military biological warfare outfit would be great but if you are the kind of person who has no supplies at home you probably don't have a biological warfare outfit in your closet. However you can at least dress in a way that will help lower the risk of catching the bug. You must cover your mouth and nose and eyes. A surgical mask or even a workshop dust mask will help stop the larger droplets from infecting you. Even something like a scarf or other cloth can lower the risk but it needs to be tight to your face. Swim goggles can provide good eye protection as they are tight fitting but any kind of large glasses are better than nothing.
Gloves are extremely important. Surgical gloves may be best but rubber kitchen gloves are not bad. Again anything is better than nothing so even work gloves or driving gloves can help.

Dispose of or decontaminate your clothing. It wont do you any good if you bring the bug home on your clothing so take it off outside and don't take it in. Burn it or wash it with disinfectant. You could boil it if you have the time. And don't forget that good old sunlight will often kill the bugs so just hanging out in the hot sun for a few days will help.

Decontaminate yourself. Get a shower with lots of soap and hot water if you can but even a cold shower is better than no shower. In fact you may want to shower outside first if you can. If you have a pool or hot tub take a dip in that. All the chemicals in the water will help.

Isolate yourself from the other members of your family if you can. If its possible you should avoid contact as much as possible. Consider living in the garage or the tool shed for a week or two. If you cant do that then try to isolate your self in an extra room like the spare bedroom.

Don't let your new supplies contaminate you. Wipe them off with disinfectant before any one handles them with bare hands. If you cant wipe them of remember that the bugs cant live on the surface of them for long. So every day the supplies sit out in the open the safer they get to touch. Two or three days will kill most viruses on most surfaces but twenty days is best. If you must touch them use gloves and wash your hands after.

Isolate your family from each other. You cant tell if any one in your house may be sick so its best if you can to have as little contact with each other as possible. I know this could be hard or even impossible in a survival situation but do the best you can. Avoid hugging, kissing and hand holding. Disinfect doorhandles and any other commonly touched surfaces as much as possible. Don't share eating or drinking utensils. In other words run your house like a hospital. It wont be fun but it could save your life.

Remember that people can have the flu and be spreading it to others and yet not look sick themselves. People who contract influenza are most infective between the second and third days after infection. Children are much more infectious than adults and shed virus from just before they develop symptoms until two weeks after infection.

Contact with outsiders should be avoided. But one cant always avoid this so if you are forced to have contact then you must decontaminate and isolate yourself from your family after. Remember the virus could be spreading in the air so stay as far away from outsiders as you can. No one knows how far a virus can spread in the air outside but most experts agree that if you stay 100 feet away from others when outside your chances of being infected are low.  

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