The Best Prep for Bird Flu
The idea of bird flu hitting U.S. shores can be scary. WebMD tells you how to do your part to prepare for the worst.
Facing a Pandemic continued...
"We mirror the Centers for Disease Control and FEMA guidelines," he
says. "We are creating a plan and when we get it, we will drill it. If
there is suddenly a ground zero and Person A gives it to Person B and Person C,
we will spread the word about flu hygiene [hand washing and so on]. We also
will be planning to create wards [of hospital beds]. We will turn the lights
on; get triage going." Probably, says Kalina, people will be sent to places
other than hospitals, where vulnerable people would be more susceptible to the
Skinner adds that the CDC is developing software called FluSurge for
hospitals to use in their planning and detection of viral spread.
Home Care May Be Crucial
Woodson advises his patients to prepare to stay home unless they are really
severely ill. In other words, we are back to pioneer days.
Extrapolating from past viruses, Woodson says statistics suggest, although
this is not a sure thing, that some people will not contract bird
flu, should it go transmissible. No one knows exactly why, but they
could be immune. According to these calculations, some will get it and will be
very ill and contagious. Others may get a light case or no case, but will show
antibodies, meaning it got into their system and they have formed antibodies
against the virus.
The well people will take care of the sick. And a lot of this care will
probably be done at home.
"This is flu," Woodson says. "You can do a lot of
care for people using low-tech means."
On its web site, the CDC lists supplies to have on hand, including
over-the-counter painkillers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen
(Advil or Motrin) for headaches and muscle pain, and antidiarrheal medicine.
Plenty of cleansing agents, such as hand cleaners and detergent, also are
The CDC recommends stocking nonperishables such as:
- Canned foods
- Protein or fruit bars
- Dry cereal
- Dried fruit
- Bottled water
- Baby food
- Pet food
Also on the CDC list: flashlights, batteries, portable radio, manual can
opener, garbage bags, diapers, and toilet paper.