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Some common-sense precautions during a possible pandemic

Wednesday, Feb 26, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* HuffPo

Though there is no immediate threat of contracting the [COVID-19] disease in the U.S. and all of the cases are contained, the Department of Homeland Security’s website offers a number of specific ways that people can prepare for a pandemic and what to do during one.

These proactive measures include:

    * Stocking a two-week supply of water and food.
    * Ensuring you have a continuous supply of regularly needed prescription drugs.
    * Stocking up on nonprescription drugs and other health supplies. This includes pain relievers, cough and cold medicines and vitamins.
    * Locating and storing copies of personal health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources for personal reference.
    * Having a plan with family members and other loved ones on how they will receive care if they get sick or what will be needed to care for them in your home.

During a pandemic, health officials urge practicing good hygiene to limit the spread of germs and prevent infection. This can be done by:

    * Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
    * When sick, keep your distance from others to keep germs from spreading.
    * Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
    * Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth to prevent infection.
    * Getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing your stress, drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious food.

I would also add avoiding shaking hands. That’s going to be tough for me.

Don’t go crazy and panic, but use your common sense.


  1. - SWIL Voter - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 10:59 am:

    I’m very confused by the messaging and which aspects of this thing I’m supposed to be safeguarding against. The list of supplies, is that because we’ll run out of those things, or is the idea that we may need to just stay in our homes for awhile? What’s up with the bottled water? Is there a fear it may enter the water supply or that we’ll somehow experience domestic water service interruptions?

  2. - Outsider - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 11:06 am:

    SWIL-these are generally good preparedness practices regardless of the type of event.

  3. - Jibba - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 11:06 am:

    Sometimes I let the deep freeze get low. Been slowly filling it since January. You never know when you might have to stay indoors for a few weeks.

  4. - Just Me - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 11:07 am:

    It’s amazing how often we shake hands unnecessarily. I’ve taken to holding my notebook in one hand and my cell in another so people don’t try and aren’t offended when I don’t extend it. I do it to avoid the cold/flu as I can’t get sick this time of year.

  5. - Evanston - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 11:15 am:

    I always shake hands too. I have had to remind myself many times in the last few days not to shake hands. It is not natural for me to not shake hands. I was told that at the current time people should have no contact including fist bumps but just a polite nod of the head.

    I got the flu shot but still got the flu B a few weeks ago.

    Being older, I need to avoid these viruses even more then when I was younger

    My sister wouldn’t even give me a hung the other day and she hugs everyone. She is avoiding hugs to everyone and this is very hard for her.

  6. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 11:18 am:

    ==Avoiding close contact with people who are sick==

    That’s impossible if you work with the public, especially a public school system. You’re surrounded by sick students and staff in close quarters every day.

  7. - Merica - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 11:32 am:

    This is a great opportunity for the State to establish a plan for such an event. Things for management to consider:

    - In the event of a pandemic, State employees may have to take care of elderly family members;
    - State employee parents will have to remove children from day cares. Daycares are a breeding ground for viruses and they spread from child to adults.
    - Schools may close and parents will have to care for school aged children.
    - Public transportation and large events should be avoided

    Conclusion: the state needs to implement work from home policies and/or allow parents to bring children to work if necessary.

  8. - Jocko - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 11:38 am:

    I don’t know if this works for COVID-19…but frequent hand washing (and not touching your face) does wonders.

    I was never so healthy (or as exhausted) as when my daughter was in the NICU…following their prevention guidelines.

  9. - olddog - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 11:41 am:

    === What’s up with the bottled water? Is there a fear it may enter the water supply or that we’ll somehow experience domestic water service interruptions? ===

    This is just a guess, but I’ve seen other tip sheets on preparedness advising local authorities to work out staffing levels in advance to ensure municipal services including police, fire protection, water treatment, etc., aren’t interrupted in case of lockdown and/or quarantine.

  10. - RNUG - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 12:05 pm:

    == I would also add avoiding shaking hands. That’s going to be tough for me. ==

    We’ve gone to a fist bump with a few close friends undergoing chemo that have weakened immune systems. Seems to work …

  11. - very old soil - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 12:14 pm:

  12. - RNUG - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 12:17 pm:

    I’ve read adviseries from a number of sources, including some from overseas. Some of them include stocking up on industrial bleach, to be used in pans outside the house to run your shoes through for a minute or two before a rinse in plain water (think that was from Australia CDC equivalent).

    Right now, the truth is nobody can definitively say anything; it is all just informed speculation.

    Stocking up on certain items just makes sense. We already get 90 days supplies of most prescriptions; one painkiller we can only get 7 days at a time. And a diabetes medicine only 4 weeks at a time. Gloves are an obvious item, but I keep a supply of nitrile ones in the garage anyway for working on cars.

    Right now, I think I will go with the advice from A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy: Don’t Panic (banned punctuation,).

  13. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    ==Though there is no immediate threat of contracting the [COVID-19] disease in the U.S. and all of the cases are contained==

    Really? It’s difficult to imagine that it is not already here and widespread. It is present asymptomatically, and most people who do display symptoms have a mild case with cold-flu type symptoms.

    ==frequent hand washing (and not touching your face) does wonders.==

    Indeed, it does, even with this new version of the corona virus. You can even shake hands, just wash them before you touch your face or eat.

  14. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 12:41 pm:

    “Stocking a two-week supply of water and food.”

    Seven gallons of water per person, per week.

    And don’t forget your pets.

    – MrJM

  15. - RNUG - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 12:51 pm:

    == people who do display symptoms have a mild case with cold-flu type symptoms. ==

    Since that describes me most of the winter anyway, I’d never notice …

  16. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 12:57 pm:

    Also, we are already in the middle of the annual flu pandemic, which is deadly, and the annual cold pandemic, which is less dangerous.

    So, you should be washing your hands anyway.

  17. - anon 1962 - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 1:04 pm:

    We are only days into reports from western countries on Covid19.

    It is well documented that the info from country-zero is manipulated by centralized government media.

    It will take about two weeks of watching the infection/death charts to know how the info was/wasn’t manipulated by ccp prc.

    Unfortunately the testing regime in the US has been unimpressive.

  18. - logic not emotion - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 1:04 pm:

    I always question the wisdom of “shaking hands and saying hi” at church on Sundays. Great place to spread stuff.

  19. - Benniefly2 - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 1:13 pm:

    I am with SWIL Voter here. The advice above is generally pretty sound, but the water thing is nonsense. Your water supply should be fine unless there is sewage in it or something, and if your water has sewage in it you have bigger problems. The virus won’t travel through your municipal water system or local well to your house. If it did, washing your hands at a sink or taking a shower would be a bad terrible idea.

  20. - Anotheretiree - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 1:14 pm:

    I put on a glove to pump gas last week..thought of the 100’s who have touched it. Do self checkout,min wage clerks probably cant take off work.Go to the store late. Looked at masks at Home Depot last night…about cleaned out.Potential is bad. Similar to 1918 virus..novel virus, no herd immunity and infects deep in the lungs.We cant do what China did so I don’t see this containable.

  21. - thoughts matter - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 1:17 pm:

    The hygiene part I can do (ecept for avoiding all the sick people). The other part won’t be something I will accomplish 100%.

    I can’t work from home. Some of our medicines are only 30 day supplies (and we keep trying to ask for 90). Insurance won’t let you get 30 day supply refills more than 1 week ahead of time.
    You can’t buy fresh food and think it will stay good for longer than 2 weeks.
    I’m not likely to have a few trees cut down to get copies of all of our medical records from the various doctors and hospitals.

    How many of us actually eat every meal at home for a two week period? When (if ever) was the last time you stayed in your home for two weeks straight?

  22. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 1:33 pm:

    Nearly 7500 people perish daily in America alone…one every twelve seconds…for comparison.

    The human herd spooks easily…and often.

  23. - Anonasaur - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 1:47 pm:

    It’s great advice to always wash your hands regularly. I also try to avoid surfaces that are frequently touched (doorknobs, touchscreens, anything in the CTA). However, this fear mongering madness has gotten a little out of control…even in this comments section. If 87,000 are infected in China then that’s 0.00006% of their population. Let’s say they’re under reporting the number and a million people have it. Ok that’s 0.001% of the population. They have 1.386 billion people in the country. Now there’s an overall 2% fatality rate and for people under 50 it’s a 0.2% fatality rate. So I highly encourage everyone to stay hygienic but to just relax a little bit.

  24. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 1:49 pm:

    ” the advice from A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy: Don’t Panic (banned punctuation,). ” And always keep a towel handy.

  25. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 1:53 pm:

    This is pretty basic, but wash your hands often and don’t
    touch your face with your hands….

    I think the flu is more of a danger,
    but I’d postpone international travel
    for a couple of months if I had to go overseas…

  26. - RNUG - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 3:14 pm:

    == but I’d postpone international travel for a couple of months if I had to go overseas… ==

    Probably more like 6 - 12 months until they get a good handle on it.

  27. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 4:38 pm:

    Some context from JAMA: “Lost in the discussion about COVID-19 is the fact that the US is experiencing a severe influenza season that has already resulted in more than 16, 000 deaths.” COVID-19 deaths in US: 0. COVID-19 patients: 53. US Flu patients: 29 million.

  28. - FormerParatrooper - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 7:18 pm:

    Good hygiene and commonsense will do more right now than anything else. As far as the guidance of supplies to have on hand at home, a good idea year around as natural and unnatural disasters rarely give advance warning.

    My company does a lot of buisness in China, we have suspended work and travel for the foreseeable future.

    The Home Depot and Lowe’s I went to here outside of Sacramento CA today, very little stock of face masks.

  29. - Michael Feltes - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:55 pm:

    “The advice above is generally pretty sound, but the water thing is nonsense. Your water supply should be fine unless there is sewage in it or something, and if your water has sewage in it you have bigger problems.”

    The New Madrid fault comes to mind immediately as a source of bigger problems. I’ve been neglectful on emergency preparations. While I’m laying in supplies for the possibility of having to work from home for a couple of weeks, why not also go to the extra effort of preparing for more severe emergencies?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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