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Disaster Preparedness News
Swine Flu Spreading Rapidly: Are You Prepared?
If you've watched or read the news over the past couple of days you would know that the Swine Flu is moving quickly. Saturday there were 8 confirmed cases of the swine flu in the United States, as of Tuesday night the CDC website reported 64 cases in the United States in 5 different states (CDC). The Swine Flu which originated in Mexico is suspected in more than 150 deaths in Mexico, and has spread not only to the United States, but cases have been confirmed in Canada, the UK, Spain, Israel, and New Zealand (WHO). There have been no fatalities in the United States yet but as the virus spreads it is expected that the death toll will rise.
There are now 5 people being hospitalized with the virus in the U.S., and as it continues to spread the virus has the potential to mutate and grow stronger. The Swine Flu has also been upgraded to Phase 5 on the WHO Pandemic Influenza Phase Chart-meaning sustained intercontinental human to human transmission (WHO). The scariest thing about the Swine Flu is that those that are dying in Mexico from it are healthy and in their 20's, 30's, and 40's (L.A Times). Unlike the regular seasonal flu which kills thousands of people over the age of 65 in the United States every year, this strain of the virus is killing healthy young people.
Often following the declaration of a pandemic, first thing that happens is people need to go into quarantine. Second, once in quarantine daily services to the public would slow down, even come to a halt. Going to the grocery store wouldn’t be an option, it could be closed. Schools, places of employment, even the banks could close. Contact with the outside world for an extended period of time may not be an option. Mexico is already experiencing this right now, all public events have been cancelled, schools closed and public transportation has been halted (SFGate). Third, with the stop of daily services our economy would greatly be affected. People wouldn’t be going out to dinner, to the movies, to the mall, even to work. Our economy is already fragile, and a pandemic would mean a longer recession. Mexico is losing millions of dollars a day; the United States doesn’t have millions of dollars to lose right now. President Barack Obama has asked for $1.5 Billion to help fight the Swine Flu. The President obviosly sees the threat and severity of the situation and what it can turn into. The State of California declared a state of emergency to tackle the swine flu outbreak on Tuesday in order to deploy funds in the fight and prevention of the Swine Flu (YAHOO).
QuakeKare has been receiving calls from people around the country wanting to know what emergency preparedness supplies they need. QuakeKare offers a Pandemic Flu Preparedness Kit for an emergency such as this. Within the kit you will find a N95 Respirator Mask. The N95 Respirator Mask that is in the QuakeKare kit is designed so that the smallest particles go through the filter material before the infected air is breathed in. The CDC website lists the N95 Respirator Mask as the Mask to have on hand in the case that you have to come in close contact with anyone who might have the virus (CDC). Also in the Pandemic Flu Emergency Kits are supplies to protect your entire body from exposure including a Tyvek body suit, goggle, hand-sanitizers, gloves, and more. With the potential of a pandemic looming over the United States not only are products/resources needed to protect your physical body from contamination, but also in the case that the virus spreads to your community you need to be prepared for the possibility of quarantine. In case of a quarantine, a home emergency kit containing emergency food and water is essential.
With the Spanish Flu of 1918 an estimated 50 million people died, and as CNN contributor BobGreene reminds, “that was in a world in which citizens visiting distant countries was a relative rarity” (CNN). With the way people travel now, there are virtually no borders in the world anymore. In the end you can’t depend on the government to save you, you need to be independent and take responsibility and prepare for what may lie ahead.
By Shante Morrison
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