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Old 04-14-2013, 11:07 AM   #1
CanadaSue
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Default Flu - The 'Come As You Are' Pandemic

From the outset, we're behind the eight ball when it comes with dealing with a potential pandemic caused by a novel strain of influenza. Novel strains, (with a few notable exceptions), tend to arise in Asia & in countries/areas where people live in close proximity to poultry & pigs leading to ideal conditions for the emergence of new strains.

There's a long road between a new strain & a new strain that can not only infect humans but can infect humans from other humans. I'll leave that to the flu boffins to fight over & sort out. Frankly, the minutia of academic flu research as fascinating as it is, isn't as crucial to me as knowing if pandemic will play in Peoria.

The first problem we face is identifying a truly pandemic or potentially pandemic strain. It stands to reason people working closely with poultry/swine in Asia may be exposed to all sorts of permutations on influenza. The bug is a mutative slut with new genotypes popping up constantly. Most exposures may go nowhere. Some may lead to JUST enough of an infective load to generate antibodies with no illness. A few may lead to mild sniffles & even fewer to genuine illness; making people sick enough to FEEL it. A rare, very rare few ahve pandemic potential.

How do you tell the difference early on? I submit unless you have poultry/pigs/other birds dropping like flies... you don't. Kids get sick, the elderly get sick, we ALL get sick & most of us don't immediately suspect an emerging pathogen capable of wiping out large swaths of humanity. Instead, we bitch & curse that we're tired, stuffed up, better cancel that PTA meeting tonight. We drag ourselves through our daily workload & hope to feel back to normal in a few days.

And then unexpectedly, somebody dies. Wait? WHAT? Okay, ONE unusual death might be written of as happenstance but if they're surrounded by others or other serious illness, ears perk up. Evetually word filters on up to those Who Need To Know but with flu, that can be several generations closer to Big Trouble. By the time testing/isolation protocols are decided & implementation begun, the virus probably has well & truly flown the coop.

In many cases, literally. Birds don't respect quarantine zones. Not all people will slaughter or turn in for slaughter poultry. Quarantine zones? Someone always gets in/out of affected areas.

Flu vax, even the newly approved FluBlock take many, many months to produce. Flublock only buys an extra few weeks & doesn't appear to be as effective as all that. Tamiflu? Treatment maybe but how long can you take it as a preventative.

If this new one goes pandemic, by the time a vaccine is available in reasonable numbers, we'll be well into a first wave - probably close to that one ending.

If this one is trying to launch itself as a pandemic - it's got some work to do yet. The reported cases/deaths remain few - very few really. Too early to tell what's going to happen. The spring migration is on & this puppy may cook during nesting season, then hit come fall. Or it could 'try' now. I don't know if conditions will help it launch at all.

I'm not doing much more than watching closely right now. I'm going to pick up hand sanitizer - with the end of seasonal flu season, it goes on sale this time of year & I can always use a bit more. My thermometer needs replacing but did anyway. If things start looking a little hinky - I'll pick up some fresh OTCs for symptom management but right now, that's it.
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Old 04-14-2013, 09:18 PM   #2
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Like most I scratch my head over what preparations I can make .

Very few really . I still have some old Relenza , Tamiflu and masks .
Perhaps I will acquire a few big bags of rice etc but I do not really
think there are going to be sudden food shortages although perhaps
some panic buying will denude shopping malls for a little while .

.
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Old 04-14-2013, 10:14 PM   #3
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The best prep at this point is watchful waiting. As you're getting close to seaosnal flu time anyway, make sure you have recent purchases of your favourite OTC meds for symptom treatment. I don't make specific recommendations here - like religion, sex & politics, OTCs can be a highly personalized matter! "OTCs" can include Granny's chicken soup, herbals & other non-traditional, (in the modern sense) remedies - whatever you've had the best luck with & have the most faith in. Never underestimate the power of placebos - never. It may seem early to make sure your OTC stocks are up to snuff but recently we've seen shortages in quite a few of these - there are supply chain problems with shortages of some basic ingredients.

Prep for an impending pandemic is best staged - just like a pandemic can be. Right now, we don't know what's going to happen. Surveying what we already have & what gaps need filling is a good step. A realistic assessment of one's own health is also crucial. Eat well, sleep well, get fresh air & exercise & TRY to minimize stress. Enjoy the neat little things in live - find some balance.

If if starts turning ugly, start making sure you have what you need & get it early enough so you can avoid, (potentially ill), crowds later. Timing can be interesting, especially if you're not flush with funds. You want to beat potentially infectious crowds, buy when there is plenty at reasonable prices but not tie up every cent you have in something you may not necessarily need. Lots & lots of fluids, water, juices, Kool Aid, whatever you find best when you're getting through fevers & recovering. Keep kids' tastes in mind - better to get something liquid that's 'not nutritious' down them then nothing at all if they don't like it. Soups, apple sauce, pudding, jello...

Once a pandemic is in country & getting closer - serious preps should start - just in case. Silly as it sounds, keep up with laundry. With flu you can go from feeling a little bit sleepy after lunch to begging to be measured for your coffin by supper. Ask anyone here who's had a tough bout of it this year - they'll tell you. And recovery can be VERY slow. By the time it hits your community you MAY have been exposed. Time to get well aquainted with masks, gloves, hand sanitizer. Don't worry about looking like a fool - there will be plenty of 'idiots' joining you. Avoid crowds. Can activities you don't need - meetings can be missed, held later, etc.

Once your aquaintances, family, (non-household but same town), friends & workmates start coming down with it - get ready to deploy your preps. Clear your bed side tables of non-essentials. Keep clean laundry in bedrooms close to where they'll be needed. Garbage bags are fine for temporarily collecting laundry. Clutter can be sorted out post illness. Liquids should be stashed in the fridge along with apple sacue & other light things. Make sure you can open the damned containers. I found out the hard way one year I didn't have the strength post fever to reef open a sealed jar of applesauce! They're not the cheapest way to go but buy some of the SnackPack type sizes. You won't be able to each much more than that anyway, they keep a long time & even a 3 year old can be trained to bring you one & a spoon from a low cupboard if you're down for the count & the kids aren't.
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:11 AM   #4
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It's time to stock up on non-perishables for hurricane season anyway, so I'll just add gloves, masks, sanitizer/wipes, Sambuccol. Don't forget to stock up on pet food, paper products, and vices, otherwise you'll be tempted to go to the store.
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