Flu Pandemic Preparedness

Receiving an influenza vaccination.

Receiving an influenza vaccination.

How much do you know about flu and its effects, and are you prepared to stay healthy and safe from any flu pandemic? While some people have discounted flu shots as a conspiracy for the government to inject RFID (Radio-frequency identification) chips, a deadly disease or a mind-control agent into the bodies of the masses, there’s something to be said for an entire school shutting down because forty percent of its students displayed flu-like symptoms. Some parents said their children had the H1N1 virus, but the majority aren’t being tested, so this particular district only knows that it’s some form of flu.

According to that news article about the school closing:

Doctors said the best way to protect children against the virus is to make sure they get the H1N1 vaccine, expected to be available in mid-October.

But a national poll released Thursday suggests that many parents won’t be following that advice.

The poll, by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Michigan, found that only 40 percent of U.S. parents plan to have their children vaccinated against H1N1 flu, while 54 percent said they would get their children vaccinated against seasonal flu. Forty-six percent indicated they weren’t worried about their children getting H1N1 flu, and 20 percent said they believe H1N1 isn’t serious.

The poll was conducted in August, surveyed 1,678 parents, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 to 5 percentage points.

Another reason given for not receiving the flu shot is to avoid making the pharmaceutical companies even richer than they now are. No matter the conspiracy, whether or not your family decides to receive shots for the flu or for the H1N1 flu is up to you. No one, that we know about, will be herded onto buses and sent to concentration camps if you refuse the flu shot. But, if you get the flu (and one of us did last week), then suddenly you might seem to understand how the world can grind to a halt if a pandemic occurs. No matter if you’re sick or well, businesses cannot function if more than half the work force is missing.

How to Prepare

Masks do not help. Painter’s masks were designed to keep you from inhaling large particles of dust and paint, not bacteria. Surgical masks were not designed to protect surgeons – they are used to protect the patient, not the doctor, from contamination. Influenza virus will float around and through these masks and enter the body through eyes, nose and mouth. However, the N95 respirator may help as a means of protection if you feel it is needed.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the ‘N95’ designation means that when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95 percent of very small test particles. If properly fitted, the filtration capabilities of N95 respirators exceed those of face masks. However, even a properly fitted N95 respirator does not completely eliminate the risk of illness or death.

How can you prepare yourself? No matter how healthy you are, you can get the flu. But, you can help make that illness a little less overwhelming if you are healthy. Eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep  and – yes – washing your hands are important tips. Our flu-bug person got her flu after a wine tasting, where she shook hands with folks and then ate finger foods without washing her hands. But, you also can get flu just being within close quarters of other people during a flu outbreak.

A pandemic requires preparedness planning, too. No matter if you believe that a flu outbreak may or may not affect your life, if you have a proclivity for survival during tough times, then you might prepare yourself for a pandemic. This preparedness is especially important if you believe that flu shots are a government conspiracy:

  • Prepare to stay home for a length of time from three days to even a month. Supplies for this type of situation include enough food, water and other supplies to keep a family going for four weeks.
  • Stock up on cough medicines and other flu medicines that may leave the shelves in a hurry should a pandemic strike a neighborhood. Sometimes the items you need most are the first to leave the store shelves during a time of crisis.
  • Be very careful about hygiene. This should not be a problem if you stay at home, as this type of crisis is not like a tornado or hurricane, where you would lose power and water.
  • With that said, the Red Cross warns that if a flu pandemic strikes and enough people cannot attend to work situations, neighborhoods may go without power, water and trash pickup. Additionally, public places such as banks may be closed and hospitals may be overwhelmed. Even mail service could be disrupted. The Red Cross also has tips on how to prepare for a potential pandemic.

We do not take a stand on whether or not you should get a vaccine for the flu, no matter the strain, because this is a free country and you do have a choice. Additionally, we’re far from the year 1918, when 20 million people died across the globe from a flu epidemic. Now, we have vaccines that may help some people avoid some flu strains. However, if you decide to avoid the flu vaccine for whatever reason, then it might be wise at any rate to prepare for a neighborhood-wide flu outbreak so you and your family can remain as safe as possible.

That’s what survivalists do.

PS – even if you don’t trust the government, their Web site, http://www.flu.gov/, provides many great tips on how to survive a pandemic as a business, a family, a school and even as a faith-based organization.

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