Many health professionals fear that the world will soon face an influenza pandemic. You risk severe illness or even death if you’re not prepared when the flu breaks out. Here are 5 ways to prepare for an influenza pandemic:
1. Stay Home
Do what you can to stay home. Hopefully you’ve prepared ahead of time for general emergencies, and have some essential supplies on hand. Staying home will protect you and your family from coming into contact with others with the flu. Think ahead now about how you could arrange to work from home for a short time, or take care of other important errands that typically require you to leave your home.
2. Store Water
Do you have enough water to last you two, three or four weeks? You need to store at least 1 gallon of water per day, per person, for drinking, cooking and hygiene. You’ll need enough water for 30 days in an influenza pandemic. That’s 30 gallons of water per person in your household. You can start by filling any empty containers you already have with water. Buy five gallon buckets if you live in a small space and storage is an issue. If storage is not a problem, 55 gallon barrels are a great way to store a lot of water. You should also buy water pouches to put in your emergency survival kit, or find a pre-made kit that includes several.
3. Store Food
You’ll also need to eat without going out for 30 days. This should be easy if the power stays on. When you go to the grocery store, double everything you buy until you build up to an extra 1 month supply of food. However, you have to prepare for power outages as well during an influenza pandemic. If workers can’t go the power plant because they’ve got the flu, how will you cook? It’s important to have freeze-dried or dehydrated food stored in #10 cans, which only require water to prepare. You can also buy ready-to-eat meals which (like #10 cans) have a shelf life of at least 5 years.
4. Wear N95 Masks
These will help to protect you from unhealthy contaminants if you have to leave your home during an influenza pandemic. You’ll need to purchase several N95 or N100 masks though, because you can only use one mask for several hours. They need to be replaced periodically, because they lose their effectiveness over time.
5. Store Medications
You may have to fight infection, and you can avoid leaving your home by having the medications and vitamins you need on hand. You should buy an extra 30 days worth of supplies of prescription medications and vitamin supplements. Store fluids with electrolytes to help you fight against dehydration. You’ll also need medications to treat fevers, such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen.
You don’t have to panic during an influenza pandemic if you have the right supplies stored. The key is to do what you can to prepare to stay home, so that you avoid exposure to viral infection.