September 16, 2005

Scary News For The Day

Avian Flu: Is the Government Ready for an Epidemic?

One the one hand, it's like any disaster, and we should prepare. But unlike an earthquake, this makes me feel more than a little hopeless. It's going to kill me regardless, so why bother? On the other other hand, pandemics are one of my life long 'big fears', so that probably fuels the 'hopeless' aspect. But what really upsets me is thinking about protecting my family, and if I get sick, what will happen to them? One of the downsides to being the family 'fixer,' I guess. My mum was ill a great deal, in and out of hospital, when I was young, and my father was emotionally useless, so I was the grownup at a young age. So my first reaction is to circle the wagons and organize the crap out of any given situation :) Can't really do that in this case.

Welcome to doom and gloom corner.

A little later: I've been mulling after reading a few things on the potential Avian Flu pandemic. What are we actually supposed to do? I'd like to know beforehand, as opposed to during, myself. For example, let's say you have your supplies and there's a pandemic. Should you self quarantine? I know back in the day, people would just stay home as much as possible so they wouldn't get sick. So do you stay home, basically quit your job, to hell with the creditors, and batten down the hatches? What about face masks? Will they help at all? What should, and what can we do, as far as caring for the sick in our own families since the medical system is going to be overwhelmed? Are there any medicines that could aid that you could actually get in advance to put in your emergency kit? What if you're someone like me who's had pneumonia twice and has asthma? Is there any other precaution we should take in dealing with a disease that kills by heading straight to the lungs? Should I get an oxygen tank? Heck if I know!

See? This is how my brain works, frightening as that is.

Later: World has slim chance to stop flu pandemic

Posted by Ithildin at September 16, 2005 11:28 AM | PROCURE FINE OLD WORLD ABSINTHE

If it helps, facemasks will do you very little (if any) good.

I recall reading that back during the Flu Epidemic in 1918, it was a crime (!) in some communities to cough without covering your mouth (something I often point out to my father at the dinner table, to no avail).

Self-quaratine is probably about the only thing you can do, and even then I'd guess it would only work if you had several days warning. Otherwise, you could be exposed to the virus before quarantine.

Happy thoughts.


Posted by: docjim505 at September 16, 2005 4:44 PM

I've heard that some people are stockpiling a flu drug...Tamiflu, I think it's called. I've also heard of people preparing their homes with several months worth of food and other supplies, basically setting up for a long-term self-quarantine. I have no idea whether either of those makes any sense at all.

Posted by: Deb at September 16, 2005 7:52 PM

Deb, I'd heard that people were getting tamiflu as well, but i'm not sure how they get it. In my experience, doctors aren't to keen on giving out prescriptions prior to being sick. Maybe they get it from Mexico or something online?

Posted by: Ith at September 16, 2005 7:54 PM

Believe it or not, some of us members of the PMS (Paranoid Mothers Society) where just having this discussion. Since the massive government (both local and federal) failure to help the Katrina victims, the need to protect ourselves has really taken the forefront in our conversations. What to are a few helpful hints from our "nursing expert" of the PMS. Masks, yes...there are some excellent ones that filter out microns worth of pollution. They can be found at the Allergy free website. Stores and supplies in the house....since the flu will cause a massive dehydration of the body, a suppliment replacement will be good to have on hand such as pedialyte or gatorade...even old fashioned remedies such a cola syrup or the old sugar on an ice cube allows some water and sugars to enter the system and help keep the body functioning and the stockpiling of supplies for a quarantine...very recommended. A store of disinfectants as simple old clorox bleach will be needed to keep the sick area and all the towels and linens as clean as possible so once infected, it won't spread to the rest of the family. Speaking of the rest of the family our "expert" recommends a huge suppliment of C such as the energy drink Emer-Gen-C to keep immune systems functioning. There is also a fabulous nasal spray that I used back in my teaching days that kept all kinds of infections, colds, and fevers at bay (I taught elementary so I know how fast one cold spreads through a classroom). Unfortunately, I forgot the name but will do some research and ship it on if you like.
In our talk, one mom found her old "Foxfire" books from her college days that showed how to live off the land and resources that are available to you...we had to laugh since it seems our lives have gone full circle as we discussed some of these same issues back in the days of the nuclear and biological scares!
Hope this information your site!

Posted by: janeye at September 17, 2005 6:11 AM

I have bird flu and im grwing feathers im developing a beak i want to fly iiiii SQUAWK SQUARK

Posted by: condor at September 18, 2005 6:37 AM

Pandemic? Hmmmm....Well if your number is punched
there is not much you can do. This reminds me of the period in history when you could be perfectly healthy when you woke up, and by afternoon you dropped dead on the street. If something THAT nasty is coming...Ouch!

Posted by: Bob at September 19, 2005 3:55 PM

Janeye -- thanks :)

Posted by: Ith at September 21, 2005 9:39 AM

Discover magazine had an interesting take on the spidemic. The hypothesis is that TB complicated the flu. That would seem to be supported by the ages of those who died - young and apparently healthy, but old enough for TB to have weakened their respiratory system. Unlike most flus, the infants and very young children weren't dying in the numbers you would expect.

Posted by: Linda F at September 22, 2005 3:35 AM