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What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

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  • What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

    This thread is a little bit different than the thread where we discussed what we are doing to prepare for a possible H7N9 pandemic.

    It appears at this time there are many threats to public health emerging in several parts of the world:

    1) Ukraine conflict possible impact on Europe region, including possible Russia cut-off of energy supply,

    2) Continuing economic downturn in Europe and result on public health efforts,

    3) Syria, Iraq conflict in Middle East possible impact on region and world,

    4) Unrest in China. Hong Kong is experiencing democracy protests. The West of China is also experiencing unrest. Slowed economic growth is predicted for the country which will impact emerging middle class possibly causing more dissatisfaction.

    5) Coronavirus MERS in (mostly) Saudi Arabia is transmissible between humans. CFR is not really known due to lack of tracking in general population. There is no proven drug or vaccine. Supportive therapy helps survival.

    6) H7N9 and various other novel flu in Southeast Asia, mostly China. The spread is not known. The CFR is not known. Humans can infect other humans. Flu drugs may have an impact. Vaccines are underdevelopment.

    7) Ebola epidemic in West Africa is spreading within already affected countries. Projections for growth in these populations is exponential. It is not known how many are infected/dead. The CFR of known cases without treatment appears to be about 90%. A very dire situation. At this time ebola is not truly "airborne" BUT it can be transmitted via air in droplets. A worse case scenario would be a mutation in this pathogen that allows fully airborne transmission - like flu, for instance. There is no proven drug or vaccine. Supportive therapy appears to help survival.

    So.....

    This is quite something.

    This is what I am doing. My family is getting check-ups to be sure we have our health in the best condition possible. I renewed a 90 day supply of my maintenance drug yesterday. Tomorrow I am renewing my contact lenses supply. In major disruptions I think my drug and some other items will not be obtainable due "just-in-time" supply chains.

    I am going to look at the seasonal flu vaccine. It is probably, at most, 70% effective. But since I am older and have a co-morbidity, maybe something is better than nothing. I have never had any bad reaction to any vaccine. Some years I take the flu vaccine. Other years I do not. I am not "anti-vaccine" and I am not pro-vaccine either. I think each person needs to look at their personal situation, and in conjunction with their family and medical advisors, make that decision.

    I did see some good garlic on sale and bought some yesterday. I have had good results using garlic supplements as a general anti-viral. But it did not save me from a horrendous norovirus a couple of years ago.

    I have hand sanitizer all over. Car. Purse. House. I also wash my hands multiple times a day. It is now a habit for me to wash my hands before I eat, after I visit the bathroom, each time I come into the house. I don't even think about it.

    I have not stockpiled any food, masks, gloves. I have some old masks in the garage. I need to see of they are still viable. I do like to buy canned food on sale so I am going to look at re-building my supply a little bit. Right now I have about a 2 week supply of food from hurricane season preparations.

    I am on a huge diet since I have gained "a few pounds" in the last 2 years. I have a co-morbidity that is a bad complication for H1N1pdm09 and, in fact, not good for any disease. I do not smoke. I have an occasional glass of wine. I am essentially a non-drinker.

    I think the best preparation for uncertain times is to improve your health as much as possible and to openly communicate with your near ones about the current unstable times. Friends and family are the best preparations for life.

  • #2
    Re: What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

    The one thing that immediately comes to mind after reading your post is that health care workers wash their hands BEFORE and after using the bathroom. You don't want whatever germs you have on your hands to be transferred to your clothes or anywhere else.
    "We are in this breathing space before it happens. We do not know how long that breathing space is going to be. But, if we are not all organizing ourselves to get ready and to take action to prepare for a pandemic, then we are squandering an opportunity for our human security"- Dr. David Nabarro

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

      See the dentist!, is what I would add toyour list Sharon.
      Please do not ask me for medical advice, I am not a medical doctor.

      Avatar is a painting by Alan Pollack, titled, "Plague". I'm sure it was an accident that the plague girl happened to look almost like my twin.
      Thank you,
      Shannon Bennett

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

        Sadly, I need to add to your list of uncertainty.

        Food prices are liable to skyrocket. California is a major producer of a vast number of our everyday foods. It is suffering from severe drought. I mean REALLY severe drought. If this continues through next year then canned tomatoes, carrots, celery, broccoli, strawberries, almonds and many other everyday food items are going to be scarce.

        We all know the price of both beef and pork have gone through the roof. For that reason it might be a good idea to stock up on frozen and/or canned chicken and canned fish.
        Please do not ask me for medical advice, I am not a medical doctor.

        Avatar is a painting by Alan Pollack, titled, "Plague". I'm sure it was an accident that the plague girl happened to look almost like my twin.
        Thank you,
        Shannon Bennett

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

          One thing I've done is to have a few extra boxes of liposomal Vitamin C on hand.

          Oral ascorbate alone has some effectiveness against viral infections, but the IV form has been shown in multiple studies to be a broad-scale antiviral. Although the studies aren't there yet, the liposomal form is promising because it allows blood levels to reach concentrations equivalent to IV, but with oral dosing -- and there are a few anecdotal success stories, such as the one in the video below.

          We also have paper-filter type face masks, gloves, and bleach.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrhkoFcOMII

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

            We are fortunate enough to live in the county on roughly 100 acres that my in-laws own. They have about 20 head of cattle so in an severe emergency we would eat and although these are beef cows, they still produce milk. Not as much as a dairy cow, but it's still milk. There is also wild game. We have a good well and a generator. We have a large garden tub that we would use the generator to fill as needed. It would hold close to 75 gal of water. Worse case the well is only 40 ft deep so we could use a hand pump or a 4" well bucket. I also have two horses that could provide transportation and/or eats in a severe emergency. Although, I suffer from fibromyalgia and allergies we don't have any real medical needs. While those things make me uncomfortable they aren't fatal so long as I don't eat almonds. We have a wood burning fireplace and we have a good sized wood lot so, while we might not be comfortable, we wouldn't freeze. I currently have a stockpile of pinto beans and I intend to add more as well as plenty of corn meal. Pinto beans and corn provide all essential amino acids as well as fiber and protein.

            My Dad who is now 65 grew up very poor. They didn't have a vehicle until he was 12. Which would mean 1961. They used a mule team and a wagon. His Mom and Dad didn't get a working toilet until after he left home. I think it was 1970 when their children put in the bathroom. The old outhouse was still sanding outside Grandma's house when I was a girl. He had 11 brother and sisters. He said he can't remember a meal when they didn't have pinto beans and cornbread. Dad and his brothers are great story tellers. One of the things I have learned from them is that they ate things growing up that most people now don't consider food. Even I grew up eating squirrel. I can see some of you cringe. Why would you eat squirrel? Well for one thing they taste good and are naturally organic/free range but the reason I bring it up is that each of you should prepared to think about alternative foods in a true food emergency.

            I've seen West African's heavily criticized for eating "bush meat", well, I grew up eating "bush meat" granted of a different sort but the principle is the same. People need protein. If you don't have other protein sources where do you look? Even in cities there are squirrels, raccoon, and even *gasp* dogs and cats. Squirrels are easy to prepare. You simply fry them or make a stew. They are easy to clean and don't need any special prep. Raccoon can be eaten as well, however, their meat is greasy. For best results you need to parboil them and then prepare them the way you want. Possums (Opossum) can be eaten, however, they are not generally very clean animals. They tend to scavenge more so even than raccoon. Thankfully, I've never needed to eat a possum, or a dog or cat for that matter. I did prepare a 'coon once so that I would know what to expect. If you were really hungry? No problem, but it's not something I would want to eat if I had other choices.

            One of my favorite stories is one my Uncle Charles tells. He and his siblings were sitting around talking about different foods they had eaten. Charles said "I don't think I could ever eat a 'possum." Grandma who was sitting nearby stated in her slow drawl, "Hummm, I suspect you have."

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

              I'm not laughing. We have 13 squirrel so far for the season. They make a great stew. We sadly do not do this to prepare for anything, it's just our local "bush meat", a part of our normal hunting. We have 4 dogs but I'd kill to protect them.

              If it hit the fan the local game would all be killed off within two weeks so that can't be considered any real resource for us. In fact, ok I'll admit it, we do nothing to prepare. Prepare for what? The only thing that would be a hit the fan scenario would be a solar flare causing CME. In that case it would be blood bath after 3 months and we likely would not live through it. We're older and some warlord would take everything we have in a matter of months. Other than that I can't think of a scenario that would require, um, preparations.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

                The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was a wake up call for me when I lived and worked in Oakland, about half a mile from the Hayward Fault. I got serious about preparedness, took several classes offered by the city and got my emergency kits together.

                Once retired I chose to move to rural Sw Virginia and my county has just 15,000 people, many of them farmers. Locally raised beef, pork, chicken, lamb and buffalo are readily available and there are several CSA's, as well as organic farmers who supply our weekly farmers market with great produce through out the summer months which is part of the reason that I have not done a veggie garden of my own but perhaps it is time to plan one for next year.

                Living in an all electric house is my biggest problem since it means no heat from the heat pump, no cooking and no water because the well pump stops working in a power outage. Just as in Oakland I have an abundance of water stored and have decided to see if a manual pump can be added to the well. If not I have about 1,000 ft of creek that runs through the property and the source is just a mile from my home so what passes through my place is very clean but of course I would still treat it.

                A fireplace with insert does provide some heat but without the blower running as well as the ceiling fan it doesn't move very far from the source. The "wall" of firewood is 80 ft long and 5 ft high. I have 2 large kerosene heaters, purchased when my heating system died in Dec and it was three weeks before the replacement was available. They use about 1 gallon every 12 hours and kerosene is currently $4.19 a gallon so it is expensive heat, even when used very judiciously.

                At 65 I no longer go backpacking or camping but still have all the gear from my younger days and much of it does double as emergency supplies. There is currently a county wide campaign to get as many people as possible to go solar and I have had an estimate done and what I could afford would provide me with half of annual electrical needs. I'm also researching adding propane as my back up heat source, something that many homes have since we get plenty of nights where the low drops below 40F, which is the temp at which heat pumps can not extract much heat from the air. Many people also have back up generators, especially those who live off of a dirt road that's off of another dirt road and when trees take down power lines it's a long time before power gets restored.

                I've decided it's time to take a detailed written inventory of my canned and bottled food stores and see what gaps may exist as well as to record use by dates so that I do make an effort to eat what's oldest. There is no shortage of books on the waiting to be rest list so that would keep me entertained for a long time.

                I am quite a homebody and the longer I live here the more I find myself stretching the time between trips to town for supplies or other errands so self isolating would not drive me crazy. A couple of old black labrador retrievers provide some companionship and entertainment too. My only prescription medication is for hypothyroidism and so running out would not be life threatening in the short run.

                In Oakland one of the issues was knowing that my home could be badly damaged or even completely lost to a firestorm and so in addition to everything else would be the need for shelter. Here it is unlikely that I'd lose that. Later today I will drop in at my doctor's office and get a flu shot and one for pneumonia.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

                  I think there are a number of chaotic scenarios short of all-out anarchy that we can reasonably prepare for in our homes. Our family has prepared like we would for a bad hurricane so that we could stay put for several weeks without having to go to the store. We don't have the resources to prepare for the "zombie apocalypse" scenario and probably wouldn't survive it anyway (and frankly, wouldn't want to). However, there are disease scenarios, that don't involve a breakdown in society, in which you would not want to have contact with others for a period of weeks or even months. Of course, having food and clean water are vital. But, if there is a disease outbreak, I wouldn't want to go to the local urgent care center or ER for non-life threatening conditions. So, we are putting together a more comprehensive first aid kit that might allow us to treat something like the need for a few stitches or wound care and infection prevention at home. I too am keeping up on my maintenance meds. We also have extra tylenol, advil, and benadryl. I suggest anyone with severe allergies have a couple of extra epi pens on hand. We also have a little extra of everything for friends and neighbors.
                  "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much." - Mother Teresa of Calcutta

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

                    You make some excellent points Jim. Now the Zombie thing, hmmm, I'd like to see that. NO wait, I've seen that movie.

                    What would you put in a expanded first aid kit?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

                      So today the CDC confirmed the first ebola case in the US who was not a evacuated health care worker from Africa.

                      Well...I expected this. With the ongoing situation in West Africa, it is only a matter of time before some cases appear in other parts of the world. I feel very bad for everyone involved. Apparently the ambulance crew who transported the patient to the hospital was quarantined today. The patient is evidently in very critical condition.

                      I am not changing anything that I am doing from my post above. I have said for awhile that the MRSA community threat, alone, should have made all of us really aware of hygiene and disease/infection prevention.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

                        Originally posted by Dallas View Post
                        You make some excellent points Jim. Now the Zombie thing, hmmm, I'd like to see that. NO wait, I've seen that movie.

                        What would you put in a expanded first aid kit?
                        I know this isn't meant for me but I thought I would share what is in mine.

                        Bandages - gauze and adhesive all sizes
                        roller gauze
                        tweezers
                        Tape
                        Gloves nitrile
                        N95
                        Suture kit with magnifier
                        iodine
                        Antibiotic cream
                        duct tape - works as sutures, for blisters and with a magazine, pillow or anything solid for a splint
                        antihistamines for allergies
                        antidiarrheals
                        anti nausea
                        zip lock bags
                        antifungals
                        baby powder
                        sunscreen
                        chapstick
                        garbage bags
                        insect repellant
                        personal medical products (meds, asthma meds, etc)
                        trauma sheers
                        alcohol
                        Glucose gel
                        Blood glucose tester
                        petroleum jelly
                        paracord
                        knife
                        paper/pencil
                        bp cuff
                        hot/cold packs
                        blue chux
                        burn kit
                        stethoscope
                        tourniquet
                        safety pins
                        hand sanitizer

                        I have more things but being in health care they are more specialized like IV supplies, BVM, cric kit, etc.
                        "We are in this breathing space before it happens. We do not know how long that breathing space is going to be. But, if we are not all organizing ourselves to get ready and to take action to prepare for a pandemic, then we are squandering an opportunity for our human security"- Dr. David Nabarro

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

                          I grew up without "modern conveniences," and don't have many now. We had electricity and pressurized water only intermittently, didn't have a telephone at all until after I grew up and left home, and didn't have tv until I was a senior in high school. The only reason my parents got one then is that my mother, who was a teacher, had assigned her music students to watch Leonard Bernstein's Young Peoples Concerts, and she couldn't watch them herself. So the idea of needing powered everything just doesn't ring a bell with me at all. A former friend used to tell people that if there was an easy way and a hard way to do something, I'd always choose the hard way. The underlying truth to that is that I know how to do things without recourse to easy ways.

                          The one area in which I am not well prepared is that of self defense, and I honestly don't know what can be done. No home is 100% defensible, and I suspect that in a truly catastrophic situation, my livestock, crops, solar system, stored food and medicinals and tools would all disappear into other people's hands. I've had to reconcile myself to that fact, and plan for what I'm able to plan for. I can deal with a long term food shortage, or with a short term pandemic situation, or with anything that doesn't reduce society to chaos and anarchy. I'm 69 and live alone, though there is family nearby, so I wouldn't survive any determined effort to take things away from me. I have to just accept that. On the other hand, my skills and knowledge would be very useful to anyone smart enough to keep me around, so perhaps that would help to ensure my survival, if not possession of my property, lol.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

                            We live in earthquake country so I already stock up water, food, etc. And, with asthma, I always get a flu shot.

                            I did stock up on N95 masks and extra nitrile gloves, along with a couple of tyvek suits and disposable aprons, just in case.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: What are FluTrackers personally doing about the various political, social, economic, disease uncertainties - Fall 2014

                              Originally posted by annaraven View Post
                              We live in earthquake country so I already stock up water, food, etc. ......
                              Same here - najor earthquakes could cut us off from supplies, services, & road access at any time, so I'm always "prepared". Additionally, most all food comes into our state by boat/containers, so if docks are destroyed in an earthquake (or immobilized by the many nearby volcanoes) we must live off our stockpile. With winter & snow/ice arriving immediately, I'll increase stockpile of paper products, more food, etc.

                              I already have a good supply of hand sanitizer, latex gloves, N95 masks, bleach, hand soap, etc.

                              We rural-Alaska dwellers worry most about unwelcome urban-Alaskans arriving and taking our supplies!

                              However, since Alaska has recent history with high TB rates, our health infrastructure is well set-up to work with quarantines, contact tracing, etc. We have 3 CDC offices just in Anchorage & and one of the US's major quarantine centers. These things should help us cope well with any ebola problems.

                              .
                              "The next major advancement in the health of American people will be determined by what the individual is willing to do for himself"-- John Knowles, Former President of the Rockefeller Foundation

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