Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pandemic Box - A Survival Kit for Disease

     In case you aren't aware yet, there is a new substrain of bird flu.  H7N9.  There have been a number of cases reported out of China.  The disease has resulted in severe illness in all cases, and death in a number of those who have been infected.  The source of infection and transmission mode hasn't been discovered yet.  Should it turn into a full blown pandemic will you be ready?

     Avian flu is on the radar as the next possible candidate for a worldwide pandemic.  If it should happen, it would not be the first time that human's have been hit by large scale disease.  It happened in the middle ages with the Black Death.  The Black Death killed half the population of Paris, a third of the population in the Middle East.  Overall it is estimated that 175 to 200 million people died.  During the Middle Ages this was a significant portion of the population

     The 1918 Influenza is another example of a major pandemic, and it was the first pandemic occurrence of the H1N1 influenza.  The second was the pandemic outbreak of H1N1 in 2009, and it was better known as "swine flu".  It was determined that the 2009 pandemic killed at least 18,000 people, and likely more in unreported cases.  However in the 1918 outbreak the death toll was somewhere between 50 and 100 million people.

     It is these two major pandemic sources that people reference when they start talking about avian flu.  In birds this flu is very contagious.  The fear is that this virus will be passed on from birds to humans (which has happened a number of times now), and then that the virus will mutate further so it can pass from human to human.  The biggest fear is the rate of mortality.  Mortality is determined by the number of confirmed cases of a disease to the number of confirmed deaths.  In example the 1918 flu had a mortality rate of 2.5%.  Bubonic plague has a mortality rate of 50 to 90% when untreated but with early diagnosis and treatment that rate drops to 15%. 

     The current mortality rate for avian flu is at 60% and that is the biggest cause for concern.  While it is not likely that avian flu would keep this level of potency should it mutate and start spreading human to human, studies suggest that the rate would be somewhere between 14% to 33%.  This is the biggest fear people have when it comes to avian flu, because should their be a pandemic, one in every three people effected could die from the this flu.

     There hasn't been a pandemic yet, and that is good.  However you don't want to be planning for a pandemic when its already underway so its time to start developing a plan for a pandemic now, with what I call a pandemic box.

     When I first started planning for this type of disaster I had to decide first if I would need my preparations to be mobile or whether they would be better for staying put.  I quickly decided that if there was disease running rampant, I would likely be bugging in, so creating a bug out bag centered around disease preparations just didn't seem to be that practical, hence the box.

     So where do you start with your preparations?  The first place to start is with basic preparations that don't even have to be a part of your pandemic box.  These are basics such as extra food, water, light sources, and first aid.  Just like pretty much every other disaster, a pandemic would effect being able to acquire these basics, perhaps because of disruption to society, but also because going outside could put you at more of a risk.

     Most survivalists and preppers will have these basic preps already so its time to get started on your box.  The main things that you want in your pandemic box is prevention items.  Remember once you get sick you have a 1 in 3 chance of dying, so your best bet to survive a pandemic is to simply not get sick.

Prevention Items to Have:
-extra soap
-clean water
-hand sanitizer
-surgical masks
-surgical gloves
-disinfectant wipes

     Once you have prevention items, you then may want to look into getting a second level of prevention, in quarantine items.  If you have friends or family coming to your home in the middle of a pandemic you don't want to turn them away.  However human's can have influenza viruses for up to seven days before showing symptoms!  So to let people in, you may need to place them under quarantine until you can determine if they have been infected.  Keeping some basic supplies will allow you to create a separate space to make sure someone coming into your space won't get you sick

Quarantine Items:
-clear plastic tarp
-duct tape

     Now, while the goal of your kit should be prevention you also have to prepare for the worst.  What if you get sick?  You have to have the supplies to help get better.

Flu Items:
-fever and pain relievers
-cough drops
-antiviral medication (these are by prescription, at least in the United States and you would have to get them from your doctor or pharmacy)

     There are also a few items not to have in your flu kit, even though they may seem like an idea.  These things can actually make the flu last longer or get worse, or at the very least it won't help make you better.

Don't Items:
-cough medicines

     These items can help stop  you from coughing and expelling the phlegm in your body.  It is important to get rid of this from your body because the phlegm will actually help keep the virus in your body.

     A box of preparations like this is fairly inexpensive to put together and add to the rest of your preparations.  Then should we ever find ourselves facing a pandemic, at least you will know that you have the basic preparations to get you through the disaster.


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