Warning, this is a long post!
Ok, swine flu is alive and well in Mexico and has been found in New York and other US states too... I am not thinking that it will develop into the pandemic/epidemic that it did back in 1918-1919. Back then it infected more than 50 million people (the total of the world's population was only 500 million at that time) and 675,000 Americans died in the US alone. I thought I would write out some pointers to help in case it does come to your neck of the woods.
Read where there is no doctor by the hesperian organization. I think the website for the books is http://www.hesperian.org and they have other titles such as: Where There Is No Doctor, Where Women Have No Doctor, A Book for Midwives, Helping Children Who Are Blind, Helping Children Who Are Deaf, Helping Health Workers Learn, Where There Is No Dentist, HIV, Health, and Your Community, A Health Manual for Women with Disabilities, and Disabled Village Children.
Reading this book will help you understand some things you can do to keep from getting sick.
Anyway, here is some pointers.
#1. DON'T PANIC. When we panic, we stop thinking. A therapist I knew once told me that the reason we panic is a primitive reaction. It engages that flight or fight behavior and we start REACTING instead of ACTING. And we certainly want to act during a crisis, not react.
#2. Don't plastic your house up. Good gravy, there is no way we can live like that. Duct taping plastic over your windows, doors and everything else will only end up with you being tired, sore, and eventually short on oxygen... That is if you actually manage to duct tape every opening. Houses are so full of air holes you will NEVER get everyone of them. So it's a futile effort that wastes your energy when you could be doing something more productive to help yourself out. Don't live in a tent in the middle of your house over the swine flu.
#3. Wear a MASK when going out in public. I am not talking halloween masks here. Get a good mask that filters out down to .01 microns. They are for dust and fumes. Learn to use it to block everything properly. My problem is usually as I breathe, I am feeling air come out the top of the mask and into my eyeballs. Not good! If it comes out that way, then it can go IN that way. And that means that germs are bypassing the mask and coming in directly around the mask. This means that the mask is doing no good to keep the flu germs out. May as well take it off. Neither do you need a full on gas mask. Most people don't wear them right anyway. And it's kind of overkill.
#4a. wash your hands! I know your mom told you this, your grandma told you this, your teacher told you this... But do you DO it? If you weren't doing it before, do it now. If you can't remember to wash your hands then carry around one of those bottles of hand sanitizer. they work! and you can buy it anywhere now. I even bought three small bottles of it at the dollar store for the lovely price of 3/$1.00! I bought a huge bottle of the stuff at Fred's and I refill the small bottles. It's much cheaper this way. And remember to USE it. After you shake hands with someone, use it. After you touch a shopping cart, use it. After you open a door, use it. Be obsessive. Offer it to other people.
#4b. Shower or bathe a lot. Showering is better than bathing. Why? Bath water is warm, and it steams, the germs come of you into the water, which you just allowed into your body via the warm water opening your pores as well as in the steam that comes off the water is now germy. I don't know if there is science behind this thought or not. It just seems gross to be sitting in a slurry of germs. Showering washes it all down the drain. Anyway, it takes the germs off your body and down the drain and away from you. This is the whole objective, get the germs off of you and out of your home.
#4c. Lysol spray, I use it in the air, and on all surfaces. Chairs, counters, toilet seats, sinks, door handles, phones, bed, floors and on my shoes and coat. It will kill the flu germ as well as a lot of other. This is not to say I live in a 100% sterile environment. I only use it when I go out or after I have visitors. So about once every 2 - 3 days. This is just to get whatever germs I, or someone else, bring into the house back gone. I don't like to do it all the time because I am chemically sensitive and room fresheners, lysol, bleach, most soaps and more all send me into an allergic reaction. Not bad, but mostly centered in my sinus cavities and just enough to make me miserable. I spend most of my life blowing my nose, especially when I go out. The civilized world is going to be the death of me with all it's chemical crap.
#5. Don't eat out. who knows if the person prepping your food has been washing their hands? Who knows if your server just exchanged money at the cash register with someone who was sick? Flu and Cold germs can live for longer than 12 hours on inanimate objects. And it only has to be on your skin for 15 minutes in order to infect you.
#6. Be smart. Avoid people who are visibly sick. If they look tired, are coughing, sneezing or whatever, avoid them like they have the plague. (or pandemic in this case.) If you have a co-worker who is sick and still comes into work, talk with your boss/supervisor about it and see if they can intervene and send the person home. (It's your bosses place to protect the workplace and they should ALREADY be doing this, but some people in a supervisory positition aren't as good at this as others and may need the prompting to know that they have to do this to protect you and your co-workers as well as the financial instability of the work place. 1 person sick is an inconvienence. Then entire staff sick is a shut down and a whole lot of money lost.)
#7. If you ARE a supervisor at work or a boss, check on your employees! Make sure that if someone is sick they are getting treatment, or are at HOME and not at work infecting everyone else. It doesn't matter if it's a cold or the swine flu. Working sick is non-productive in anycase. It's better to be home for 3 or 4 days and be sick than at work making mistakes and other people sick.
#8. Take your Vitamins, Get some rest, Do some excersize, drink lots of water (or other beverages, new findings have now said that ANY fluid is good for us so long as most of it is water or clear fluid. Kidneys still filter water so it doesn't matter), get some sun so you can produce some vitamin D, eat healthy food and stop eating junk food. Stop eating out! Most of the food we eat out is not healthy for us, it's too high in salt, sugar, fat and too low in vitamins, protein and minerals. Even if you are eating at a sit down resteraunt and not at McDonalds, Burker King, A&W or whatever, don't fool yourself, it's still not as good for you as what you can make at home. And you can have "fast food" at home anyway. Last night dinner was stew and bisquits. Dinner prep was 7 minutes and then cook time was 8 minutes. Open cans of , carrots, green beans, potatoes, corn, garbonzo beans, beef broth and 2 cans of beef with gravy. dump 1/2 the liquid off the veggies, and then dump all cans in a huge pan. Set to boil. Mix up the bisquits and cut them out (I used a house shaped cutter to celebrate our new mobile home) and bake at 450 F for about 8 minutes. The stew boiled the entire time I was mixing the dough and baking the bisquits. Turn off the stew when the bisquits come out and TADA! Stew and bisquits, all in only 15 minutes. If you don't have time in your life for a 15 minute meal prep then 30 minutes to eat, you need to cut back on activities in your life as these activities are going to help make you sick.
#9. If you ARE feeling sick, know the symptoms of what you have. See if they match with a cold, allergies, or the flu. Our Doctors are going to be overloaded with people right now who all think they have the Swine Flu. Some will have colds, some will be allergies, some will be the flu. Call your local health department, or check the CDC website for the Swine Flu symptoms (moderators, anyone want to get the symptoms and post them here?) as well as the symptoms for other similar illnesses. Know the difference between a cold and the flu.
#10. If you don't HAVE to leave your residence, and I mean HAVE to leave not want to leave... then don't leave home. Period. If you don't have to go to work, or the store, or the gas station then don't go. Stay home, and be a recluse. Hubby and I are going to town today to get water, propane and gas. If we didn't HAVE to go, then we wouldn't. We are going to town on Thursday (4-30) for his next Dr. apt. If we could change it we would. After that we aren't leaving home for another week or two. We will definitely be limiting our time out. We'll stay on the property and live like hermits. Anyone who comes to see us will be closely eyeballed until we know they don't have anything.
#11. Bear in mind that if this DOES turn into a pandemic/epidemic that some public services may suffer. If you are getting water from a public supply or electricty or whatever, it could stop. These things are pumped by machines and these machines need human intervention or they will simply stop working. Make sure you store water, food, fill all vehicles with gas, have alternate means to keep warm/cool, (this is where that tent in the middle of the living room/bedroom can come in handy), and be prepared as you can be.
#12. Medical equipment: Nyquil, Dayquil, Pedialyte, Rubbing alcohol (for cooling a body with a high temp), blankets, water (for cleaning and drinking), clear broths, high protien shakes, vitamins, thermometer, ibuprofin for aches and aspirin for fever. These are all small items that you can provide for you and your family that will make getting through an illness easier. Antibiotics won't help with a cold or the flu. These two illnesses are ones that you just have to let the body fight through. I have heard people say that they don't take these drugs because they "just cover up the illness and don't get rid of it". I have heard this many, many times in my 37 years of life and I will say this now... This statement is just macho bull. Get over the testosterone people (men and women alike!), take the darn meds and deal with it. It is a lot better to take the meds and feel only like almost roadkill, than to take the meds and feel like you are 100% roadkill. If taking the nyquil makes it so you can rest, or keeps you from popping blood vessels in your lungs or throat from coughing, or helps to keep the fever down then it's a major help in your getting better. And yes, I have coughed so hard and often in the past that I was coughing blood from popped capilaries in my lungs and throat. It's not a fun thing.
#13. If the pandemic/epidemic comes to your neck of the woods, keep your kids home! Call the teacher, let them know you will be keeping your kid home from school until it passes and ask them what school work they are working on so they don't fall behind. Since you are of course a decent parent you know this already it shouldn't be a problem to continue with their lessons. If the pandemic/epidemic is in your area they probably aren't going to have many kids anyway. More than likely the schools will shut down pretty quickly if they find out that the pandemic/epidemic is in their area.
#14. If you can, leave the area or batten down the hatches and stay where you are. This is actually one of those strange things that leaving the area may actually SPREAD the disease more than stopping it. If you don't know you have been exposed (flu virus can live up to 14 days in a person before the infection breaks out, during this time you can and are infecting others before you even know you are sick!) and you go to the rural area to stay with family or friends, then you have the possiblity of making them sick as well. On the flip side, if the pandemic/epidemic comes to your area and you stay where you are then you definitely raise the possiblity of your getting it or your family getting it. So remember to ACT and not REACT and think about which is better for your family, friends, neighbors.
Ok, any one have anything else to add? What did I miss?