5 April 2017

How highly organized people can survive a global pandemic

By Lucien Crowder

A pandemic has broken out. It’s just some variety of the flu, but flu is what killed tens of millions of people in 1918 and 1919. You are increasingly alarmed by what you see on the news—the virus has arrived in your country, relatively few individuals are immune, and a high percentage of people who catch the bug take a one-way trip to the graveyard. “This is very serious,” you say. “What can I do to protect myself?”

Sorry—it’s too late for that now. Prep time's over. At this point the operative issue is to assess what you should have done but did not do:

  • Store enough food and water for two weeks; preferably enough for four to six weeks; longer if possible
  • Ensure that your food supply consists of non-perishable items that “don’t need to be refrigerated, prepared, or cooked”
  • Be sure to store your water supply in clean plastic containers
  • Stock a supply of coats and blankets if appropriate for seasonal weather conditions
  • Keep a battery-operated radio on hand
  • Squirrel away a month’s supply of any medications you take
  • Store a month’s supply of antiviral medications (keeping in mind that such medications lose effectiveness over time)
  • Complete your health-care cache with pain relievers, stomach remedies, cold medicines, and a first-aid kit
  • Get copies of your health records from your doctor, hospital, pharmacy, and so forth. If you find this prospect overwhelming, avail yourself of “the Blue Button,” an online tool provided by the Department of Health and Human Services (US residents only)
  • Stay vaccinated. There’s no guarantee that vaccinations will help, but there’s no guarantee that they won’t
  • Keep cash on hand
  • Devise a plan to care for children whose schools or daycare centers will be closed
  • Stockpile face masks. N95 masks are preferred, but men should be prepared to shave because N95 masks work poorly when confronted with facial hair. For this purpose, stockpile razors and shaving cream (and extra rations of water in clean plastic containers?)

But again, it’s too late for all that. You’re hungry, thirsty, cold. You never purchased N95 face masks and your cough is getting worse. About the best you can do now is to keep a close eye out for societal collapse. It’s a real concern at this stage of the game, as George Dvorsky of Gizmodo informs us.

Then again, through initiatives such as One Health, it’s possible that the next global pandemic will be prevented. Your lack of foresight might go unpunished after all!

Here’s hoping.

 

Publication Name: 
Gizmodo