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The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been all over the news lately, and for good reason. Pandemic diseases like the 2019 coronavirus and H1N1 are on the rise. Knowing how to survive a pandemic or disease outbreak will be an important tool in your preparedness arsenal.
There is precedent here. It was a mutated H1N1 virus that caused the great pandemic of 1918. One that proved fatal to millions around the world. These coronaviruses are the most likely to evolve into forms deadly to human beings.
Additionally, there are other infectious diseases that give health officials and government leaders chronic insomnia. Two of the deadliest, and most likely disease agents, are smallpox and Ebola.
100 years after the Spanish Flu, COVID-19 may be the next great pandemic that we face. Are you prepared? Do you have a plan of action in place for the 2019 novel coronavirus?
Surviving a Pandemic
A pandemic is not a matter of “if” but rather a matter of “when”.
No matter the actual causative organism, any pandemic would likely impact our global society in specific ways. The good news is, nearly any type of infectious disease can be contained, controlled and prevented using some common techniques.
Experts are quick to point out that a large-scale pandemic would overwhelm the health care delivery system rather quickly.
Some mutated flu viruses such as H1N1 and H5N1 cause a respiratory collapse in a large number of victims, making the use of respirators imperative in saving lives. Unfortunately, the total number of hospital respirators in the entire U.S. was approximately 100,000 only a few years ago. Consequently, most were in use for the treatment of acute medical conditions.
During a flu pandemic, a triage system would be in place. If you’re elderly or suffer from a severe chronic disease, your chances of surviving a pandemic are minimal.
It’s rather obvious that the best way to survive is to avoid getting sick. As it happens, the easiest way to do that is to avoid the presence of sick people.
The federal and state governments are likely to put quarantines in place, more politely called “social distancing” these days.
Quarantines would be put into effect through a step-up system, starting perhaps with a ban on visitors to hospital rooms. This would escalate to school closures and end with a moratorium on public gatherings until the pandemic had abated.
What to Stockpile for a Pandemic
Basic survival items to stockpile for a family would include a supply of over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Water and rehydration drinks like Gatorade are critical. Cough suppressants like Robitussin and other medications to battle flu symptoms will be important.
Other good home-nursing items include a fever thermometer, rubbing alcohol, disposable tissues, and toilet paper. These are supportive care measures and are likely to benefit you more than antibiotics of little use in treating a viral disease.
A severe pandemic would likely cause disruptions in public utilities as workers become sick or stay home to nurse family members.
For this reason, including alternate power options in a home preparedness plan is advisable. Deep-cycle batteries charged by a generator or running vehicle, solar panels, propane heaters, and battery-operated lanterns and radios are all good additions to a preparedness plan.
Beefing up home entertainment and education options will be necessary. Paper and electronic books and games, movies and videos will keep everyone entertained during a prolonged period of social distancing.
Here are a couple of videos that provide great tips for surviving a pandemic:
Gear for Surviving a Pandemic or Outbreak
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency PreparednessReliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water ContainerIn The Swim Chlorine Pool Shock – 24 X 1 Pound Bags3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator Assembly 6391/07003(AAD), Large, P100 Respiratory ProtectionDuPont TY122S-XL-EACH Disposable Elastic Wrist, Bootie and Hood Tyvek Coverall Suit 1414, X-Large, White3M 90028-80025 Face Shield (1 Pack)
- You will need a lot of water in a pandemic. Be sure you have ways to filter and purify water. A LifeStraw personal water filter is perfect and lightweight and can be taken anywhere.
- I wouldn’t rely on water being available all of the time, so have water stored just in case. An Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container is perfect for this job.
- Liquid bleach or pool shock to disinfect and sanitize everything. I would recommend having about 5 gallons per person, per household.
- A couple of boxes of exam gloves per person. I would suggest a variety of sizes, small, medium and large.
- Antibacterial Soap (with Benzethonium Chloride).
- Quality P100 or N100 respirator mask.
- Large roll of clear 4 mil plastic and thick, strong duct tape – for setting up an isolation room.
- At least 10 Family HazMat suit assortment in M, L & XL. It would be best to have one suit per day.
- Heavy-duty black 3 MIL garbage bags per person.
- Professional face shield and eye protection.
- Toilet paper… a lot of toilet paper. No joke.
- Hand sanitizer
All of the above gear can prevent the spreading of an outbreak. However, diseases and viruses can always still be spread no matter how careful you are.
Always practice a pandemic drill and the best advice I can give; do not panic. Panic causes mistakes. Mistakes lead to death.