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Preparing for a Human, H5N1 Bird Flu outbreak

Updated: Monday, December 17, 2018 6:01 AM EDT
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Preparing for a Human, H5N1 Bird flu outbreak.

The following are guidelines suggested by the US Department of Health and Human Services in case of a avian influenza ( Bird flu ) outbreak in the United States. These guidelines should also apply to anyone preparing for an outbreak.

Buy extra canned goods each time you shop, along with other non-perishable foods such as dried beans, rice, peanut butter, crackers, canned juices, granola bars, powdered milk and bottled water. Widespread flu infections could require grocery stores to close or to limit deliveries if employees are too sick to work. Such stocks can also be used in other types of emergencies.

Have non-prescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins. If you have young children, stock up on baby food and diapers.

Stock up on batteries and candles, and be prepared for rolling brownouts or blackouts, and the possibility of no phone service.

WEBMASTER NOTE:

Most people also ask about face masks and if they really offer any protection against the bird flu, hopefully the next few paragraphs will give you a little more information in that regard.

The best masks to buy are rated N-95. This means that the respirators filter out at least 95 percent of airborne particles during testing using a "most-penetrating" sized particle of 0.3 microns. These types of masks will filter out most flu particles in the air (seasonal and bird flu).

But no expert really expects face masks to prevent the spread of a pandemic flu virus in a community. Most people wore some sort of face mask during the Spanish Flu of 1918, yet there was still a terrible pandemic.

If you are caring for someone with the bird flu then most experts will tell you to wear a mask no matter what other precautions you have taken.

The best way to limit the spread of flu isn't a face mask. It's following these simple hygiene rules:

  • Wash your hands often using soap and water. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • When you cough or sneeze, use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose. Discard used tissues in a wastebasket.
  • Don't have a tissue? Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve.
  • Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing. Use soap and water or an alcohol hand sanitizer.
  • Stay at home if you are sick.

 

Keep yourself informed of the current bird flu situation. Experts are saying that people infected with one of the current bird flu strains may not even show symptoms for as much as 8-17 days after the infection. This means the infection could enter the US and not be detected for that period of time.

Don't panic, because the virus may never mutate into something that can pass from human to human, and to live your life thinking that a pandemic is just around the corner would not be good for you or the people around you.

Have fun, enjoy life, just be prepared for the unexpected. Remember it's always better to not need something and have it, then to need something and not have it.

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