Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How To Prepare for h1n1 (Swine Flu) - Soon Moderate Pandemic

When WHO World Health Organization declares the h1n1 flu to be a pandemic (and they will) it will come with a “Moderate” severity warning according to keiji Fukuda WHO interim assistant director – general for health security and environment. “It is fair to call the situation moderate. We know this infection can be fatal in a number of individuals. This includes people who have some underlying medical conditions and it includes women who are pregnant – but it also includes people who are perfectly healthy. So we do have some hesitation calling such an infection mild” said Fukuda. (Source WebMD – “WHO: World Closer to Swine Flu Pandemic”) Like many I had hoped that the severity would remain mild, but it doesn’t look like that will happen.

According to the article “The WHO has been dragging its feet over declaring a worldwide pandemic to avoid causing undue alarm and to allow it time to develop specific guidance for different parts of the world.”

I’ve been reading the book, “The Great Influenza”, by John M. Barry. This is the same book that Pres. Obama is reading, and recommended by infection disease expert Dr. Michael Osterholm. Mr. Barry gives a warning in the last chapter called “Afterword.” He says that a MILD pandemic would be more deadly today then the one in 1968 due to several reasons. 1) More people today have impaired immune systems like the “elderly, cancer survivors who have undergone chemotherapy or radiation, transplant recipients, those infected with HIV, and others.” Recently Dr. Richard Daines, NYS Health Commissioner, said that some underline medical conditions are “lung disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes, and pregnancy.” Mr. Barry noted that in past pandemics those “most likely to die were pregnant women.” 2) Barry goes on “…even in advanced countries a Pandemic would stretch the health care system to the point of collapse, and beyond it.” This is due to cutting cost and fewer hospital beds then during the 1968 pandemic. In hospitals there will be a shortage of life saving respirators due to the number of ill.

Mr. Barry, and Dr. Osterholm, and others have warned of trade being disrupted during a pandemic today. They warn that medical supplies like antibiotics, hypodermic needles, and hospital masks could run out. Even food supplies and chlorine (that purifies our water) might be interrupted. Services like electricity, and garbage disposal could be interrupted, partly due to a high number of absent workers due to illness. A pandemic will also be a blow to our economy.

In the past Dr Osterholm has recommended that we stockpile 4 to 5 weeks of necessary supplies to better prepare ourselves. I believe that we are not being told to save supplies today because it might cause panic. The following is a checklist of general supplies…

*Bottled Water

*Nonperishable Foods

*Prescription Medication & Vitamins

*Flashlight & batteries

*Portable Radio

*Paper Products – tissues & toilet paper

*Baby Products – formula, diapers

*Extra Cash on hand

*A “Family Plan” (to stay home during a flu outbreak if necessary)

*I would add a means to heat your house because of possible electrical interruptions.

click here for more ideas

The scenario Mr. Barry writes is one of a mild pandemic, however, this fall we will be hit with a moderately sever pandemic which will amplify these problems. A pandemic usually lasts 1-2 years, and comes in waves. One day we might find the city we live in shut down like Mexico was. Churches, schools, restaurants, food markets were closed, and everyone was asked to stay home for a week or so. It could happen to us. Trade is expected to be interrupted during a pandemic affecting the availability of some necessary items at times. I hope that you will save 4 to 5 weeks of necessary items so that you are more prepared for the two flues that will hit us this fall. One of these flu’s will come with a bit of a bite.

UPDATE: I found this website - by the U.S. government. It has some good information. It suggests saving 2 weeks of supplies, but I've heard 4-5 weeks by an expert.

Related Story by Associated Press: "WHO says it may declare swine flu pandemic soon"


Lady Banana said...

I hope you are not getting too worried about this. I know it might get worse when winter comes but I really doubt (hope) it will be all that bad. Did you know more people die from malaria each day in the world and don't even get a mention. Plus we are having a measles epidemic which is not getting much coverage (yet). So please don't get too worried. By the way, UK is testing for it, we had a new delivery of testing packs just 2 days ago!

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Lady Banana,

You might want to read the related item by Associated Press. I was unable to post it before.

I hope that it doesn't get bad, but I think that we need to be prepared. The U.S. gets most of it's food, and other items from other countries. UK probably does too. If trade is interrupted we will run out of many items. Heck, even if Hong Kong stopped trade we will be in trouble. It seem that almost everything here is made in Hong Kong.

The world has not had a pandemic in about 40 years, and things have changed since then. We are not as self-sufficient. I just hope that people prepare because we don't know exactly what will happen. Please be ready my friend.

EastCoastLife said...

We are being very careful here in Singapore. We had SARS once, we can't be too relax.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi EastCoastLife,

Yes, I have heard that countries that had SARS are more careful. Singapore has learned a good leston. To many people here in the U.S. are looking at it like it's just another flu, but it's not. I hope it dosn't get any worse, but the amount of deaths in Mexico, and N.Y. City have me concerned. This will not be a mild, ordanary flu.

S'onnie said...

I know our country leaders are showing concern as we have now had our first confirmed case where the person has not traveled back from the USA /Mexico (currently all other confirmed cases were people who have traveled back to nz from usa/mexico

I am fairly prepared because my father used to be civil defence coordinator for the area where they lived so the same items we have for an earth quake can be used in a pandemic

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi S'onnie,

I'm very glad to hear that your prepared. I heard the warning when there was talk of the Bird Flu, but didn't prepare. Now I have to hurry and catch up.

Speedcat Hollydale said...

I do NOT like it!

I was working when one person "thought" they had it ... around everyone. Turned out the test was negative, yet it scared the tar out of me. Regular flu is bad enough!!!!!

BTW ... your blog explodes using Internet Explorer, so you are loosing readers. MOVE the Google Friend / Follow widget to you footer on the bottom of the page. VERY LAST

This fixes the problem. It has been a major glitch everywhere, yet I seem to be the only one that understands the fix. The widget causes a hiccup, or "delay" in loading, then subsequent widgets do NOT correctly. This explains why some blogs work and some do not. It's all in the placement of the Google Friend Connect widget and WHAT FOLLOWS IT.

This does not happen with Firefox, but "by far" most internet browsers are still Internet Explorer.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Speedcat,

Thanks for telling me! I done did it.

Talk about scary, I just realized that New York City has 820 confirmed cases of h1n1, and 15 deaths! That's more then half the
h1n1 deaths in the whole U.S. It should be 1 or 2 deaths per 1,000. N.Y. City is looking like Mexico when there death ratio increased. Now I understand why it has been labled a "moderate" pandemic.

Speedcat Hollydale said...

I have noticed the New York stats. Anywhere that has populations in tight quarters (ie subways, busses, large lines, etc) you have a much greater chance of rapid transmission.
For instance, where I live in suburbia my contact with others in close proximity is very small. This allows me to take precautionary measures, like hand washing, after say money exchange.

So ... how are you??? How's everything ! :-)

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Speedy,

I’m glad you’re doing your homework and realize what is happening. Too many people are looking the other way.

I’m good. Wish I had my home computer working instead of having to go to the library, but I need to pay the bill first. I hate not being in closer touch with my people on the net.

How have you been?

Speedcat Hollydale said...

crazy crazy busy!

I have one day off (today) because of a cancellation. Headed out of state this week, etc etc. This is my one chance to spend some time at home in the last month.

Think I might nap ;-)

GREAT day for me ... much needed breather.

Awake In Rochester said...

Glad that your keeping out of trouble! Te he! A nap sounds good.

Hey, who are those two(?) women cowriting your blog? Gee, you just can't keep the ladies off of you. ;)

meleah rebeccah said...

Thank You for posting this. Swine Flu is hitting my town and scaring the beejesus out of me.

Dr. Deb said...

Very good advice. Swine flu is in my town.

Lilly said...

Its interesting and as you know my daugher got it too. It seems its affecting younger people they are saying. I think its going to get bigger and bigger myself so people need to be prepared.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Meleah,

Yes, it can be scary. I hate how the media has stopped reporting on it. I would feel better if I was updated.

Hi Doc Deb,

Just be careful. It's starting to show more here too. I know that NY city has been hit hard.

Hi Lilly,

In some past pandemics the first wave hits the young, second hits the old, and third comes for the rest.

It's not even flu season here, yet it's hit some areas very hard already. So I think it will really snowball here come flu season.

Anonymous said...

John M Barry mentioned in one of his interviews that Scientists can't develop a vaccine until the virus emerges. At the moment we have the mild strain, but if a deadly strain emerges - does that mean they won't have a vaccine for the new 'deadlier' strain before it mutates?

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Anonymous,

Scientists have been making vaccine the same way for ages. Unfortunately there is no fast way. Experts have said that it will take about 6 months to make a vaccine and the first batch will be a small amount. The larger batch will be in 2-3 months at best. If the stain mutates the vaccine may not work as well, or not at all. This pandemic is listed as a "Moderate" one by the WHO.

To answer your quest... yes, one of the fears is that this stain will become deadlier, or that it will mix with the H5N1 Bird Flu and become very deadly, and the vaccine will be of no use.

Some think that there are two stains already because in New York City and Mexico, etc, the flu has been deadlier.