Monday, April 27, 2009

Pandemic Prep

Now I'm not a crazy. I'm really not.

But I am feeling the desire to prepare my home for a highly possible pandemic flu outbreak. Note: I said "highly possible" not "highly likely." (See, not a crazy.)

The truth is there have been two confirmed cases of swine flu in my state in a town only 35 minutes away--a town that some people in my city commute to. So I'm just going to make the preparations that I feel good about. It's all any of us can do, right?

I mentioned before that I attended a pandemic flu workshop put on by a member of the local Red Cross. Based on some of the red cross recommendations here are some items I am making sure we have in the home:

  • Thermometer
  • Fever reducing medicine-for adults children and infants
  • Bleach
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Fluids with electrolytes
  • "Lite" salt for making adult electrolyte solution
  • Paper towels
  • N-95 respirator masks
By far the craziest-sounding thing on that list is the N-95 respirator masks. (But they are useful for home-improvement projects as well.) They are used for going out into public in an area with a flu outbreak, or they are used in your home when caring for a member of the family that has the flu.

Dehydration can be one of the serious side-effects of the flu so it's important to have electrolyte solutions. I want to have a bottle of Pedialyte for each of my boys--right now I only have one. You can buy Gatorade/Powerade for adults, or purchase some "lite" salt and make your own at home with the following recipe:

Dehydrade Electrolyte Replacement Drink (Good for ages 12 and up--also I just made up the name, pretty catchy though)

Mix together the following:

1 quart (4 cups) water
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. "lite" salt
3-4 Tbl. sugar

Flavor with lemon juice or sugarless Kool-Aid powder.

I've never made this but I would think that it would come together best by simmering to dissolve the solids and then cooling to room temperature.

The Red Cross also recommends storing a minimum 2 week supply of shelf-stable food that requires little in the way of preparation.

Since we have no immediate plans to leave here, I need to build back some of the food storage I had been slowly working through while getting ready to move. We're coming into tornado season as well, we were under a tornado watch yesterday actually. So I have a number of reasons to make sure my family's emergency plans are in order.

I know I'll never feel sorry for being adequately prepared.

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