Monday, October 26, 2009

H1N1 Flu National State of Emergency

President Obama has declared a National Emergency because of the H!N! swine flu, which frees up certain resources, lends him certain powers and loosens certain restrictions. All of which are temporary.

While H1N1 is certainly virulent, one of the fastest spreading strains of flu recorded, it does not seem to be particularly deadly. Which is fine by me. But if it mutates and becomes deadly things change drasticly.

If you get it you need to take care of yourself and your family.

One of the really important things is hydration. You can live for a month without food but only a few days without water. While there are many electrolyte products available and certainly useful there is something I discovered from the running industry and that is to rehydrate with Jello, it has a lot of water, sugar and protein, make it normally but instead of putting it in the frig to firm up just drink it, you can still put some in the frig to firm up and enjoy later. If you are worried about vomiting stay away from the red versions as they could hide blood in the vomitus.

To reduce the amount of work you have to do use disposable plates, cups and utensils. If you are fighting the flu you won't have a lot of energy to wash dishes even with a dishwasher and you can bag it up without too much worry over cross-contamination.

If someone in your family has it and you don't some protective gear might be helpful like a mask and safety glasses. An important thing to remember is if you are using protective gear the most likely vector of infection is the outside of the face mask you touch it then touch your eyes, nose, mouth or ears and you cross-contaminat yourself, so make sure to dispose of them properly and then sanitize your hands. N95 masks are good for particulates, it will not stop a virus by itself, but mostly it will be hitching a ride on a water dropplet from a cough or sneeze, so even a simple surgical mask would help a lot.

To properly sanitize your hands squirt ~1Tbsp of sanitizer on to your hands or use soap and water and scrub for at least 30 seconds. If you are using alcohol gel hand sanitizer make sure it contains at least 60% alcohol or all it does is spread it all over your hands.
After washing your hands use paper towels so you don't cross-contaminate via the towel.

If you want to go to the doctor or hospital call them first so they can make any necessary arraignments to be ready to receive you or that you need to take before you get there.

In the case of quarantine you may have to survive at home for a couple of weeks until it is lifted, so having a 2 week supply of your regular foods, canned or frozen, would be a good thing and don't forget things like powdered milk and evaporated milk (one can per quart brings up the fat content enough to make it good).

Cold and Flu kit
Favorite cold and flu medications
Water bottle or sippy cup
Electrolyte mix (Gatorade, Pedialyte or DIY (1 teaspoon (5ml) salt, 8 teaspoons sugar and 1 liter of water))
Flavored gelatine mix
Broth, bullion, soup
Cough drops
Bowl or emesis tray
Plastic/paper plates, cups and utensils
Barrier gloves, face masks, disposable aprons.
Facial tissues
Hand sanitizer (=>60% alcohol)
Paper towels
Food and water for 2 weeks