Have you ever watched a zombie or apocolypse movie and thought, “Thank goodness that’s all fiction”? Well think again, because those zombies aren’t too unforseen as you think. Ever heard of the 1989 flu pandemic, aka, “Spanish Flu”? That, along with the 2009 flu pandemic, involved H1N1 influenza virus. The Spanish flu pandemic was one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. It infected 500 million people in the world and killed 50 to 100 million- that’s about 3-5% of the world’s population. (Billings, Molly. “The 1918 Influenza Pandemic”. Virology at Stanford University. May 2009.)
The second of the two pandemics involving H1N1 was in 2009, also known as the swine flu. This flu pandemic killed between 151,700 and 575,400 people during the first year the virus circulated (First Global Estimates of 2009 H1N1 Pandemic Mortality Released by CDC-Led Collaboration”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 25 June 2012).
It’s easy to assume that viruses effect young children and the elderly due to a weaker immune system. However, both the 1918 and 2009 flu pandemic affected the young/middle-aged more than any other age group. The 2012 CDC study (sourced above) estimated that 80% of 2009 H1N1 deaths were people younger than 65 years of age, while 80-90% of typical seasonal flu epidemics occur in people 65 years or older.
Well then, how am I supposed to protect myself for the next pandemic? Give me all the details!
Regular Protection before evidence of pandemic:
1. Stay healthy, stay vaccinated
2. Always, always, always wash your hands
3. Clean surfaces regularly
4. Always have food with long shelf life, only to be used during an emergency
5. Create an emergecy kit ahead of time:
- Supply of drinking water (one gallon/per person/per day)
- Important documents/medical needs:
- Copies of medical and insurance information
- Store your passports in kit (until you need them for vacation/trips)
- Extra glasses or contacts
- Copious amount of hand sanitizer
- Over the counter drugs
- If you have medical issues make sure to have supplies to monitor, i.e. blood pressue, glucose, etc.
- Anti-diarrhea medicine, acetaminophen, ibuprofen
- Cold and cough medications
- Flashlight, battery operated radio, extra batteries (consider wind-up flashlights/electrionics)
- Utensils for each person, include a can opener and dishwashing supplies
- Sold first aid kit
- Bandages, gauze, disposable gloves
- Special items (infants, femine needs, etc.)
- Have cash, and as much of it as possible!
- Entertainment (think of your sanity as well!)
- Magazines, books, games
- Paper, pens, markers
- Extra clothing, bedding materials, blankets
- Toilet paper, tissues, garbage bags
Preparing for an uprising pandemic:
1. Have an emergency plan
- Have a plan on how to get in touch with each other and where you will meet
- Plan with your family to stay home for a week or so during the uprise of the pandemic
- Keep a list of emergency numbers
- Put “ICE” (In case of emergency) next to family member contacts in cell phone
- Know what routes you will use if you have to evacuate
- Keep gas tank full and fill up every chance possible
2. Make sure to have surgical masks and gloves
- especially if you have to leave the house or someone in your house hold is infected
- pruchase masks with bio-filter
3. If someone in your household is infected:
- Quarantine them in a room with a door, preferrable furthest from common areas
- Always stay at least 20 feet from them
- Make you and victim use a mask if in close quarters, even if for a short period of time.
- WASH HANDS! WASH HANDS!
4. Call your neighbors to exchange information and to keep updated on each others situation
5. Constantly clean phones, computers, desks, couches, etc.
6. Have tools handy such as hammers, axes, screw drivers –Never know if the zombies will try to get into your bunker!
Always remember to plan ahead. You will perfect your planning methods with experience. But do not learn the hard way, keep up with your vaccinations and your daily health- stay hydrated, wash hands and keep away from those who are sick!
Good luck on the next apocolypse!
Written by Dr. Douglas T. Mehaffie