Archive for July, 2009

Pandemic Flu Checklist for Individuals

From the Pandemic Flu Checklist for Individuals:

You can prepare for an influenza pandemic now. You should know both the magnitude of what can happen during a pandemic outbreak and what actions you can take to help lessen the impact of an influenza pandemic on you and your family. This checklist will help you gather the information and resources you may need in case of a flu pandemic.

1.To plan for a pandemic:

◦Store a two week supply of water and food. During a pandemic, if you cannot get to a store, or if stores are out of supplies, it will be important for you to have extra supplies on hand. This can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages and disasters.

◦Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.

◦Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.

◦Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.

◦Volunteer with local groups to prepare and assist with emergency response.

◦Get involved in your community as it works to prepare for an influenza pandemic.

2.To limit the spread of germs and prevent infection:

◦Teach your children to wash hands frequently with soap and water, and model the correct behavior.

◦Teach your children to cover coughs and sneezes with tissues, and be sure to model that behavior.

◦Teach your children to stay away from others as much as possible if they are sick. Stay home from work and school if sick.

3.Items to have on hand for an extended stay at home:

Examples of food and non-perishables

◦Ready-to-eat canned meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, and soups

◦Protein or fruit bars

◦Dry cereal or granola

◦Peanut butter or nuts

◦Dried fruit


◦Canned juices

◦Bottled water

◦Canned or jarred baby food and formula

◦Pet food

Examples of medical, health, and emergency supplies

◦Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood-pressure monitoring equipment

◦Soap and water, or alcohol-based (60-95%) hand wash

◦Medicines for fever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen


◦Anti-diarrheal medication


◦Fluids with electrolytes

◦Cleansing agent/soap



Other non-perishable items

◦Portable radio

◦Manual can opener

◦Garbage bags

◦Tissues, toilet paper, disposable diapers

I would add a few things to that list:

Disposable latex (or neoprene) gloves in the event that you have to care for a sick family member.

Bleach, Lysol, other disinfecting agents to clean up vomit/waste.

The CDC seems to be assuming that water and electrical supplies may be compromised at some point due to illness of the employees or employees’ families working at the utilities. They’ve recommended a 2-week supply of bottled water, but no way to heat/cook the canned foods (Kids, just shut up and eat the damn cold green beans, ‘kay?) (No, that ain’t gonna work.) So, I’d recommend you have a new bottle of gas for the grill, the camping stove, and/or charcoal for the grill just in case the second wave is larger (but hopefully not deadlier).

Unfortunately, this thing will be coming back at a time when a large number of people are unemployed/on the verge of losing unemployment benefits and really can’t afford to stock up. If you can afford to do so, stock some extra supplies for those in the neighborhood/family that can’t. The worst that could happen if this thing fizzles out (which I hope for) is that you don’t have to buy pork and beans for awhile, right?

Second Flu Wave Hits Mexico

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Hurlburt Field Hit with Swine Flu

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. — Swine flu has hit the Air Force’s special operations command in northwest Florida.

As many as 59 airmen at Hurlburt Field are suspected of having the virus, while another four have tested positive.

First Special Operations Wing spokeswoman Amy Oliver said Wednesday they won’t be testing the probable cases.

Okaloosa County Health Department director Dr. Karen Chapman calls this the first sizable cluster in the area – and it won’t be the last.

Swine flu incidences seem to be sharply increasing in Florida in the hottest part of the summer.

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Obesity NOT a Risk Factor for Death from Flu

Per Bloomberg:

July 29 (Bloomberg) — Being fat doesn’t increase the risk of death from swine flu, according to a U.S. analysis that contradicts initial reports.

About 34 percent of the U.S. population is obese, while 38 percent of patients who died with swine flu had the condition, according to a report presented today at a vaccine conference at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Extremely obese people make up 6 percent of the population and 7 percent of swine flu deaths.

For the seasonal flu virus that strikes every year, obesity isn’t considered a separate risk factor, and global health authorities were studying a possible link with swine flu complications from anecdotal reports by hospitals. After analyzing the available data, scientists at the CDC today said there was no unique threat for the overweight.

“Obesity should not be considered a new risk factor,” said Anthony Fiore, a CDC researcher. Obese patients may have other conditions that can complicate the flu, and doctors should still consider that when making treatment recommendations, he said.

I didn’t think that the reported risk was valid. News organizations (and people that make their living from fear of fat) have been demonizing the overweight for quite some time, even though the actual studies prove that overweight people live longer, healthier lives than thin people.

There have never been any independent* studies that proved that consuming animal fats was less healthy than consuming vegetable fats, either. *sigh* Or that organic diets were healthier, or raw diets, etc. In fact, independent studies often prove just the opposite.

*Independent study means that the study is not being paid for by the people promulgating that particular diet/lifestyle.

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If the Military is Planning on a Bad H1N1 Wave This Fall, Shouldn’t You?

From CNN:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. military wants to establish regional teams of military personnel to assist civilian authorities in the event of a significant outbreak of the H1N1 virus this fall, according to Defense Department officials.

The proposal is awaiting final approval from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The officials would not be identified because the proposal from U.S. Northern Command’s Gen. Victor Renuart has not been approved by the secretary.

The plan calls for military task forces to work in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There is no final decision on how the military effort would be manned, but one source said it would likely include personnel from all branches of the military.

As a former military member, I know that the military compulsively plans constantly to protect against threats to the country. That is what they do because they know they can be called up at any time for anything so they damn well better be prepared, because deploying thousands of people for any reason requires a plan of action.

As a person who lives in a hurricane-prone area, I am constantly amazed by the number of people who have no plan whatsoever. A storm starts brewing in the Atlantic or Caribbean or Gulf, and there are people that start putting up hurricane shutters, checking their food supplies, and stocking up. A lot of people do *nothing*.

The tropical storm turns into a hurricane, and a watch is issued. More people start to prepare. Tourists are evacuated. Nursing homes and disabled people in the areas that may be affected are moved to shelters. People in low-lying/storm surge prone areas are urged to evacuate. Many do. A lot don’t.

When the hurricane warning is issued, supplies are mostly stripped from area stores. Service stations are empty. Indeed, most places are already closed. Highways are clogged. There are a lot of panicked people that didn’t prepare earlier looking for supplies that aren’t there. Some people go surfing in the awesome waves.

If the hurricane hits, the non-prepared people call the emergency responders requesting assistance but none can be provided until after the storm is over. Some have to leave their houses because they are breaking apart due to wind or tidal surge. Some of those people make it to another shelter. Some of them don’t, and their bodies are found when the waters recede if they don’t drift out to sea or are buried beneath silt and debris.

We’re in the flu watch category right now. It could be that when school starts, nobody becomes ill because the students were all exposed last school year, at summer camps, or at day care, and all the preparation will be for nothing. Then the unprepared can point and laugh at the people that prepared for the worst just in case as complete idiots.

The CDC and WHO have warned us several times that the fall wave of the flu could be massive. Nobody knows yet. The flu has been simmering away in the US during the non-flu season, quietly killing people who now have access to the best health care available.

If the flu roars back in the fall, people may not have access to the best health care available because the medical people may be sick, the hospitals in hard-hit areas may be overwhelmed, there may not be enough ventilators to accommodate all those who are gravely ill, and the flu may mutate to become resistant to antiviral medications. The only way to slow the rate of infection will be through the use of quarantines.

Y’all might want to make sure you have extra jars of peanut butter and jelly just in case. I checked my pantry. I’ve got 12 lbs. of peanut butter but only 3 lbs. of SwampMan’s favorite jelly. I need to go shopping.

With 75 lbs. of flour in the freezer and 2 lbs. of yeast in the pantry, I don’t think I’ll need to worry about having enough bread (grin) unless I become sick, but I had the swine flu shot back in ’76 as did @ 40 million others. Those of us that survived the shot may still have some immunity. I hope.

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Are U.S. Taxpayers Obligated to Provide Long-Term Care to Injured Illegal Immigrants? Jury Says NO.

STUART, Fla. — A jury has found in favor of a South Florida hospital that quietly chartered a plane and sent a seriously brain injured illegal immigrant back to Guatemala over the objections of his family and legal guardian.

Health care and immigration experts across the country have closely watched the court case decided Monday in the sleep beach town of Stuart. They say it underscores the dilemma facing hospitals with patients who require long-term care, are unable to pay and don’t qualify for federal or state aid because of their immigration status.

The lawsuit sought nearly $1 million to cover the estimated lifetime costs of the man’s care in Guatemala, as well as damages.

If Guatemalan hospitals and/or government steps forward to pay lifetime costs of injured illegal Americans, then I can see where the family might have a reasonable expectation of having their family member cared for.

If we’re going to cut back on health costs, the no brainer solution would be to quit providing medical services for free to illegal aliens.

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Two Trillion Tons

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Sometimes Being Forgetful Can Be a Good Thing

I had a couple of duck eggs from an abandoned nest in the incubator that I “meant” to throw out a couple of weeks ago because I thought that they should have hatched already. After all, their siblings are now two weeks old. So, imagine my surprise when I turned on the bathroom light this morning and heard noises in the incubator. Upon opening the lid (I forgot to turn the incubator heat off as well as discarding the eggs), I found a little duckling running about frantically searching for mom and other ducklings.

I didn’t want to try to raise a single duckling because it would be *very* unhappy and *very* vocal in his/her displeasure. I took it outside trying to find a home for it. It ran as fast as its unsteady little feet would carry it to a peeping pen of chicks that were three times its size and tried to squeeze through the chick wire, peeping in distress at not making it. I put it inside.

The other chicks freaked out. Most of the chicks fled immediately to the top of their shelter box. The chicks that didn’t fit up there ran wildly peeping in distress around the box. This was not going well.

The bantam hens with the ducklings came to investigate. I took duckling out of the pen. One of the hens called it worriedly. Duckling didn’t speak hen. She fussed at it, calling it away from the dangerous human. Duckling sat. The other ducklings followed the other hen, so it attempted to follow them. As they are @ a week old at this point and it is newly hatched, it couldn’t keep up and ducklings and hens moved away, leaving it. Bummer.

So, I found a nest with a couple ducks attempting motherhood and dropped it off. Last time I checked, duckling was sitting contently nestled up against duck, and duck made a spirited attempt to remove my fingers when I reached in to check on it. I hope this works out and the pup doesn’t eat it tonight.

So, there you go. If you are forgetful and don’t tidy up when you should, sometimes instead of exploding rotting stinking eggs you save a life. But not usually.

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Obama in Mom Jeans

Stolen shamelessy from Paco.

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Might Not Be a Bad Idea to Stock Up Now

From CNN:

At last count, the CDC said there are 43,771 H1N1 reported cases in the U.S., along with 302 deaths that have been linked to the illness.

In a normal flu season, about 36,000 Americans die from influenza and related complications.*

Models predict the 2009 H1N1 flu will peak in October, with many cases being diagnosed in September, according to Dr. Robert Belshe, director of Saint Louis University’s Center for Vaccine Development.

“We’ll be in the midst of it before we know it,” Belshe said.

Swine flu could sicken one in five people this fall, and Belshe said he worries that the number of serious health complications and deaths as a result of the H1N1 virus could soar.

“It’s looking more and more like we’re going to have a big flu outbreak this fall as soon as the kids get back to school,” Belshe told CNN Radio.

“Influenza is unpredictable, but I believe this pandemic will hit pre-teens, teens and their parents hard, and as many as 60 million Americans could be sick with the flu. It’s critical that we find a way to protect people from this disease.**”

Sooooo, the latest SWAG at this time is that we’re going to get whopped hard by the flu before a vaccine is available. That is probably correct as we’ve been seeing the death rate from the flu double in Florida in the past few weeks.

Considering that there isn’t a vaccine available at this time and that the only response available for public health officials to try to cut the infection rate in the event of a big outbreak would be quarantine, I think it might be a good idea to have food storage adequate for the family for several weeks, particularly since the infectious waves seem to be for @ 12-week intervals. We received a letter from the State of Florida that recommended a 90-day food supply in the event of a pandemic a couple of years ago.

Oral rehydration solutions can be made at home or purchased; my thought on this is that since the flu strikes quickly, it would be best to have some on hand for immediate use just in case adult(s) in the household responsible for caring for others is/are the one(s) stricken.

I’m going shopping next week. I suppose there is a possibility that this could burn itself out and not return in the fall, in which case the worst that will happen is that I’ll have lots of soup, beef stew, and Gatorade in the pantry.

*In a normal flu season, the CDC doesn’t count flu deaths. The only deaths counted have been pediatric deaths, and only for a few years. The 36,000 is just a guess and, considering the low actual pediatric death rates, probably wildly inaccurate.

**If that many people develop the flu, the hospitals/medical personnel would be overwhelmed. Slowing the spread through quarantine until a vaccine is developed would probably be done.

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Because I Don’t Go Dancin’ on Friday Night No Mo’, Here’s Some Oldies

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