How to Survive an Impending Killer Flu Pandemic
"The only thing harder than preparing for an emergency is explaining why you didn't."
Flu pandemics occur with predictable regularity, generally about three per century. The last major one was in 1918 when approximately 50 million people died. There were two more of less serious magnitude in 1957 and 1968.
Today there is a new, extremely virulent strain of virus ermerging in Southeast Asia which is already responsible for killing dozens of people. So far those infected have contracted the illness directly from birds but health officials are concerned that if and when the virus mutates so that it can be passed from human to human it will lead to a worldwide pandemic far more severe than that of 1918.
Hope for the best, but plan for the worst...
Addressing the Pan American Health Organization's (PAHO) 46th Directing Council meeting in Washington on September 27, 2005, WHO (World Health Organization) Director-General, Lee Jong-wook stated that there will be another influenza pandemic and failure to prepare for it appropriately will have "catastrophic consequences".
"There is a storm brewing that will test us all. We must anticipate it and prepare to the very best of our combined ability," he said.
Perhaps it won't happen. Perhaps it will all fizzle out and die away. Some believe it's Y2K all over again. They cite the fact that more people are killed by lightning every year than have been killed by the bird flu.
We urge everyone to examine the evidence for themselves. If, after looking at all the facts, you think it's all scare mongering hype, at least you've done your due diligence.
Our conclusion, after examining the facts, is that the danger is far too real to ignore. It costs very little to prepare but it would be disastrous not to if this killer virus ever gets loose.
By preparing now you'll enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that you and your loved ones have the best chance for survival.
What You Can Do to Prepare Now
Fortunately there are a number of steps that every one of us can take to minimize the risks to ourselves and our families.
And let's not kid ourselves...we won't be able to count on the government for help. Hurricane Katrina taught us that.
Keep Informed. If and when the virus mutates so that it is being spread from human to human, it is likely to start in Southeast Asia. Pay attention to the news. When you hear that this has taken place, it's time to act. We might have two or three months before the pandemic reaches North America, but with international travel so fast and easy it could be much sooner.
Do not travel to areas where you know the flu virus is found. The Center for Disease Control has a website that will give you this information.
Prepare your Children for Homeschooling. Most outbreaks get their start at schools. You can be certain that the schools will be closed. And even if they're not, you should give very serious thought to keeping your children at home.
Minimize Contact with Others. The virus can be transmitted for two days before a person is showing any symptoms and for a week after symptoms have disappeared. You never know who isn't and who might be infected.
Wash Your Hands. The most common way for the flu virus to invade your system is from hand to mouth contact. Every time you touch an object that others have touched you stand the risk of being infected. If someone carrying the virus sneezes in a room, everything will be contaminated. You can easily become infected by just rubbing your eyes or by touching your lips.
It's important to know how to wash your hands.
If you looked at your fingers under a microscope your finger prints would resemble deep canyons. They make ideal places for the H5N1 virus to settle. Just running some water over your hands and giving them a cursory wash only removes the viruses that are on the surface. The ones that lurk deep in the canyons of your finger prints and the creases of your palms need to be scrubbed out with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. (Hum Happy Birthday to yourself twice as you wash. ) Afterwards you need to thoroughly rinse the soap away because it will contain trapped pathogens.
Put a QUARANTINE sign on your front door. This will effectively deter any would-be thieves. Here is a sample that you can print out.
Stock up on Food and Water. Most supermakets only have enough food for about a week. It's critical that you stock up on enough food to last you for the duration which could be 3-4 months.
Update your Will. Hopefully this won't be necessary but not all of us are going to survive.
Get a Flu Vaccination. There is no vaccination yet for this particular strain of flu but a vaccination will give you protection from contracting any other flu which could weaken your system, making you more prone to fall victim to the dealier avian strain.
Buy Enough Anti-Viral Medication for Every Member of you Family.
Currently the only drug that can help mitigate the effects of the avian flu virus is oseltamivir, otherwise known as Tamiflu. The world supply is very low, and not nearly adequate to provide sufficient protection for everyone, so you should stock up on this drug immediately. You can buy it online, but do your shopping because the price varies considerably. And once a pandemic strikes, it will be impossible to get at any price.
Life Insurance. Make sure your life insurance is adequate, and check the fine print. Some policies have clauses that don't cover you in the event of a pandemic.
Stock up on face masks. You will need to wear these when you absolutely have to come into close contact with others. It's likely that any public businesses or government offices that remain open will make it mandatory that you wear a mask before entering. Make sure that your mask has a rating of N95 or higher.
Prepare a quarantine room. If anyone in your family becomes stricken, he/she should be immediately moved to a location that is isolated from the rest of the house. This room should be as far away as possible and should be stocked with food and water, medical supplies, sanitation facilities, communication, cleaning tools, entertainment (books, radio, TV, etc.)
Communication. There's a good chance that TV and radio stations will no longer be able to broadcast if there is a power failure in your area. A good quality battery operated radio, capable of receiving short wave stations will enable you to stay informed of developments in the outside world.
Power. There could be an extended interruption to your electric power. You should consider alternative lighting and heating methods. Battery, propane, kerosine, and gasoline generators are possible options.
Protection. New Orleans showed us how quickly civilization breaks down under catastrophic conditions. And that was mild in comparison to what we could be facing in a pandemic. The bottom line is this: most people won't take the necessary steps to prepare for disaster. And once it hits, they will be panic stricken. And they will do anything to try to save themselves. Which includes trying to take whatever you have that they might want.
You will need to have some means to protect your family. If you own firearms, make sure you are stocked up with ammunition. Remember, you won't be able to call a patrolman if you find an intruder on your property.
Find a Place in the Country. If you live in the city, you will be surrounded by anarchy. Catastrophes such as this always lead to civil disorder. If you can escape the city you will be much safer. If you don't have one, consider purchasing a trailer. If you can't afford it, consider a tent.
Understanding Avian Influenza