Public health experts are worried that we are unprepared for a global infectious disease pandemic. In the early 20th century influenza wiped out over 50 million people. The AIDS/HIV virus infected 70 million. In the past decade, we’ve battled Ebola, SARS, West Nile, and Zika. What steps can you take to be prepared if a superbug (whether natural or engineered) becomes a pandemic?
Prior to a Pandemic:
- Store a few weeks of water and food in your house, so that you can wait out an outbreak. FEMA recommends at least two weeks. However, 4-6 weeks is recommended by many experts. A gallon of water per person per day is a good rule of thumb for water. This is cheap and easy to do!!!!
- Have a battery-operated radio, as well as a number of charged flashlights and lamps.
- Have a few extra weeks of any prescription medications as well as any over-the-counter medications you regularly take. Have a stocked first aid kit.
- Plan on regular services provided by banks, hospitals, and stores to be disrupted. Have cash on hand in case ATMs are down.
- Do not count on the internet and cell phone being available. Pre-plan with loved ones about how to communicate and what to do should there be a major pandemic.
- Consider buying face masks that will limit the spread of disease.
During a Pandemic
- Once a pandemic has occurred, it is important to avoid contact with infected persons. If possible, stay home from work and school and other travel outside the home. Avoid flying!
- Wash your hands regularly. Practice good hygiene.
- If you have purchased face masks, use them.
- If you get sick – quarantine yourself! Do not become part of the problem by spreading the infection.
- In the case of a major pandemic, expect panic and possible societal breakdown.
The CDC has created a graphic novella of what to if there was an outbreak of a virus that caused zombies. What we should do with a non-zombie virus pandemic is (largely) the same as what we should do if there were a zombie causing virus. Here’s the great novella: https://www.cdc.gov/phpr/documents/zombie_gn_final.pdf