[personal profile] elzregina
First, I admit I do not read the newspaper or listen to the news...unless I am at work and of course, everyone else has the news on as it is today.  Swine Flu is swamping the headlines.  I believe the media is hyping it up.  BUT with that said, let me remind you of a few things:

WASH YOUR  HANDS! WASH YOUR HANDS! WASH YOUR HANDS!  Have everyone around you wash your hands.  Make sure the new mantra at work is "wash your hands" before you sit at your desk. Wash your hands when you get home, before you hug/kiss your children and/or significant others.  Have them do the same.  Soap and water...15-20 seconds. Be careful of what you touch...doorknobs, etc. can help transfer the virus to you.  Don't be around coughing/sneezing people.

If you get sick, stay the frick home!!  Don't infect anyone else. And please don't call 911 if you have "flu-like" symptoms, because it won't get you Tamiflu any quicker. Only the sickest folks will be tested and only those folks will receive it.  

Please know that the ERs will be packed.  You will be there hours and hours and hours with hundreds of other sick people.  Stay out of the hospital!!    Also, those who respond to your 911 calls are primarily there for LIFE OR DEATH emergencies.  Having flu like symptoms is not LIFE OR DEATH.  Treat it accordingly.  BUT on the other hand, if you have a pre-existing condition that puts you at a greater risk, do what you need to do.  We will still transport you...but do not be offended if medics come to the doors masked, and if they throw a mask or non-rebreather mask on you as well.

Get enough sleep.  Reduce alcohol.  Eat nutriously.  Give your immune system the best boost you can.  Take your vitamins. Drink lots of water. Open windows and doors and air out the house when possible.  Get some sunshine.  Exercise, etc.

JUST IN CASE, stock up on a few things (stolen  from [livejournal.com profile] turnberryknkn ): 

As I wrote on Sunday, the world watches with interest the new cases of swine flu. It will most likely blow over. And if it doesn't, then there are simple steps you can take to be prepared.

Of all the major mega-casualty disasters, a flu pandemic has the advantage of causing no direct property damage (unlike an earthquake, dirty-bomb, etc.). Which makes it that much easier to prepare for and survive. A few simple steps you can take today will help make your life (and the lives of the people with you) much easier, should this be the year a 1918 class world-wide pandemic, or merely a SARS class regional pandemic, returns.

Remember, in the event of a major pandemic, quarantine restrictions -- and simple fear -- will result in shut-down of major transportation links and regular deliveries of goods for at least days. Which means you won't be able to buy the things you'd want, if you haven't done so beforehand. Which further means *now* is the time to drop by your grocery store or supermarket to get the simple stuff you'd want if you and everybody else in America comes down with the flu. The things you want to get before all three-hundred million of your neighbors try to make a run on the grocery store at once. Things like

  • Anti-pyretics: What do you take when you have a fever or aches? Tylenol? Advil? Etc? Stock up on that. The stuff has a shelf-life of years, after all, so there's no reason you can't stock now on a big bottle in your cabinet or whatnot for you and everyone else living in your home. (That last part being important: if there are four people living at home, and they each need one tablet every four hours, that's twenty-four pills in a single day. Even a 100-tab bottle will last only four days -- and the flu can last for a week or two.)

    And don't forget, if you have infants or small children at home, you'll need to stock the appropriate drops or whatnot. You want that stuff on hand now, and not plan on trying to get it when all the stores are closed due to quarantine and all the other parents want it, too.

  • A thermometer: do you know where your home thermometer is? Do you know how to use it? You'll need one on hand to figure out whether you have a fever or not -- and that will make a difference in terms of a lot of the medical decision making that will occur in a pandemic emergency.

  • Decongestants / Antihistamines: What do you take when your nose is stuffy? Make sure you have a two week supply of that. Again, now, not when one-hundred-million people have stuffy noses all at once.

  • Your other medications: You should always have at least a two-week supply of your essential medications on hand. If the flu hits, you may be too ill to go back to the pharmacy; your pharmacy may be closed because of quarantine; and your pharmacist may not get his supplies of other medications while emergency conditions require mass delivery of medications to fight the flu and help flu victims survive flu-associated complications.

  • Kleenex and toilet paper: Think of how fast you run through a box of kleenex when your nose is running like a faucet. Now imagine everyone in your house doing the same thing. For two weeks. Now imagine the local grocery store closed because of quarantine -- and even if it were open, deliveries of kleenex are not going to get through when limited transportation links are being used for critical medicine, food, and fuel.

    Seriously -- kleenex, paper towels, et al. don't spoil. They're easy to stock. But imagine how miserable you'll be if you don't have anything to wipe your nose with. Stock some.

  • Flu food: Think about it -- when you've had the flu before -- the full-bore, high fever, stomach-churning flu -- there are certain foods you do want to eat and certain foods you don't. So having a closet full of long-life food you *won't* want to eat when you have the flu won't do you much good. Nor will the closed grocery stores. Think about the kind of food you like to eat when you're really sick -- chicken soup? Cream of rice? Crackers? etc. -- and make sure you've got about two weeks worth of stock of *that* in your closet.

    Bottled, non-refrigeration requiring juices, clear soups, etc -- also a good idea, for the worst part of the flu when you're throwing up everywhere and can't hold anything else down.

    And your babies and your pets will need food you won't be able to get from the grocery store, either because you're too sick or the store will be closed. Make sure you have a stock of food for them.

  • Water: Everyone should have three or four gallon jugs of water -- per person -- sitting around, just in case. After all, in the event of a major disaster -- including the flu -- you might lose water. In the case of the flu, either because essential people needed to keep water utilities running or to repair damage will be too sick to report, or because spare parts won't be able to be delivered. And if you and your family has the flu, you'll really want water.

  • Cleaners and paper towels: So imagine everyone in your house throwing up and being snotty all over everything. You're going to run through a lot of cleaning supplies. And then when you run out... right, no grocery stores. Imagine how gross it's going to be when you run out. Don't run out. Stock up.

  • Porable radio: This is one people don't often think of. But think about it: in a flu (or other) pandemic, the people needed to keep the lights on will get sick or be too afraid to go to work, and supplies of parts and fuel will break down. And the priority will be keeping the lights on for the make-shift mass causualty wards, hospitals, supply distribution points, etc. And unlike other disasters, you *won't* want to go gather with other people where the power *is* on. Gathering around other people is the *last* thing you want to do -- or that they want you to do.

    So if you have no power -- and no internet, because you have no power, or because *that* is down; and no cell phone service because there is no power, or *that's* down; and you can't go talk to your neighbors, how will you get news? How will you know what roads are closed or open, or where supplies can be found? You'll need something with batteries (or better yet, one of those wind-up radios which doesn't require batteries) that can pick up radio broadcasts, so you can get messages and news.
Incidentally, these are mostly the sorts of things you ought to be doing *anyway* to prepare for *other* disasters. Here in St. Louis, for example, most of these same things are going to be applicable to the great New Madrid earthquake that is due Any Time Now. So with a few flu-specific additions (tylenol, thermometer, kleenex), you'll be doing what you ought to be doing anyway, and be prepared not just for this flu pandemic, should it come, but for disaster in general.

Dispatch heard today:

Dispatch: "18-14 respond to 123 Main St. for a 32 year old male with flu like symptoms".

18-14: "Great."



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