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October 30, 2008
Preparing For Pandemic Flu And Self-Imposed Quarantine
SOCORRO, New Mexico (STPNS) -- There is a Thanksgiving dinner is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Luna.
I came across an eye-opening and important article that I felt needed to supersede this week?s Project Noah level of preparation.
It is about preparing for an influenza pandemic. It concerned me personally because of family members who came down with more than the regular flu last season.
I am already getting phone calls this year from family members who are feeling ill.
Experts say food prices will continue to rise for at least another four years and no one can yet see the end of global credit problems.
On top of these worries, we are entering the flu season. This is where our emergency preparation will step in, because there is a more threatening kind of flu to prepare for than the relatively mild one with which we are familiar.
It is very real and looked closely at by world leaders as a ?pandemic.?
In 2006, the impact of the 1918 flu pandemic was reviewed as part of a series of state-by-state Pandemic Planning Summits.
To better understand how to prepare our families, let?s look at what professional planners are implementing.
One real preparation includes an emergency ?self-imposed reverse quarantine.?
Don?t ?spread the love,? as I tell my children and family. This could entail remaining in our homes or apartments without venturing outside for days or weeks, depending on the severity of the flu.
It will be a must to have a supply of food on hand in case of such an emergency.
Should a SIRQ be required, there may be as little as a few hours or days to prepare.
Once word is out in the community, grocery stores and pharmacies will quickly empty of needed supplies.
If a pandemic strain of flu is brought into the country by someone flying with a plane load of passengers, it could spread very rapidly across the world as each traveler carries the disease to their final destination.
Thus we have the Center for Disease Control, which watches for, monitors and tries to prevent such events.
When a pandemic strikes, we will be confined to our homes. The convenience of running to the grocery store will not be a possibility for however long our quarantine lasts.
Food storage will become more important than ever. Since I have discussed food storage before, the question today is: which foods do you need to have on hand to keep our healthy family members healthy and to help those who are ill to recover?
To care for family members who are ill, there are several specific foods that should be stored. A pandemic flu is much more serious than a seasonal flu.
However, many of the treatments for those suffering and recovering remain the same. When children are young and suffer from a seasonal flu, we are advised to feed them the BRAT diet as they recover.
These foods also will help adults and all who are suffering from a pandemic flu.
? The ?B? in BRAT stands for Banana. We really can?t store these effectively, except to freeze a few. Bananas freeze best when left in the skin and stored in a freezer bag.
They are great blended into a drink or added to banana bread, but after being frozen they are not great for eating.
As an option, you could store freeze-dried bananas and reconstitute them like dried strawberries in cereal.
? ?R? stands for Rice. Rice is easy to store and should already be a part of your three-month supply, as well as long-term storage.
Rice is easy to digest for anyone recovering from a stomach or intestinal illness and also for anyone who has had surgery and is on a limited diet.
White rice is what you want. Long grain, short grain, it doesn?t matter, but it needs to be white. It will store for 20-plus years if kept in a cool, dark and dry environment.
Pests and rodents love rice, so be sure to store it in rodent-proof containers.
When suffering from the flu, people experience aches. A warm rice pack placed on an area that aches is wonderful.
Make a few now or store a little extra rice so you have some to make rice packs when they are needed. Just sew a little pillow filled with raw rice.
? ?A? stands for Applesauce. Applesauce is one of those foods that should be on every shelf. It is easy to digest, perfect for infants and can be used in many recipes, making it easy to rotate.
If you are considering planting fruit trees, you should consider apples. Apples store well in a cool environment.
Our ancestors stored and ate them all winter without refrigeration.
They also are easy to can and to have on-hand for a pandemic.
? ?T? stands for Toast. You will not be able to store large amounts of bread, but you can store flour and wheat to make your own.
If you still have not learned the art of bread-making, invite a friend or family member to teach you. There is nothing better than the smell of baking bread. That alone would cure me.
A few more foods are essential:
? Chicken soup ? Studies have shown there are real health benefits from eating chicken soup. It helps relieve chest and nasal congestion and may inhibit inflammation that leads to the sore throat and phlegm we hate.
It also is nutritious and fights dehydration. Of course, chicken soup tastes good and is easy to digest.
? Herbal teas ? They are easy to digest, feel good on a sore throat and help to keep you hydrated. Dehydration is the largest cause of death from the flu.
Herbal teas like chamomile are soothing to the stomach, calm the nerves and help relieve cold symptoms.
Don?t overlook fennel and raspberry herbal teas for their benefits as well. Flavored gelatins ? After surgery or serious illness, the first thing you may be given to eat is gelatin.
They are easy to swallow, ease the craving for something sweet, are easily digested, kids love them, they help prevent dehydration and gelatin takes very little time and effort to prepare.
All of these are important when you are a caregiver and your time is spent treating those who are ill.
? Otter Pops ? As I mentioned before, dehydration for those battling the flu is a huge problem. Otter Pops provide liquid in a form the kids will love.
These are easy to place in the freezer and are ready in a few hours.
? Juice ? Juices are another way to maintain hydration. They can be used as drinks or frozen into popsicles. Juices other than citrus are the best to store for use during an illness because they are less acidic.
? Ginger ale and lemon-lime sodas ? These are great to settle the stomach, but do not rely on them as hydration sources. Sodas dehydrate the body.
If you can find ginger ale made with real ginger, there could be some legitimate benefits in treating nausea, settling the digestive tract and even relieving arthritis symptoms, according to some research.
Ginger flavoring is not enough ? I am talking about real ginger as a food ingredient. You also can visit a health food store and get some dried ginger or ginger capsules ? though clearly, fresh ginger has the most benefit.
It is important to store liquids, from the chicken soup to the frozen pops to the real ginger ale.
Food storage is an absolutely essential part of planning for a pandemic or other health emergency. Don?t delay.
It?s apple season. Find some applies and start canning or drying. Homemade applesauce can even be a thoughtful Christmas gift in an attractive jar with a personal label.
Printed copies of the full 12 months of Project Noah can be obtained by sending a self-addressed stamped (plus 17 cents extra postage) legal size envelope to Kaye Mindar at P.O. Box 42 Luna, NM, 87824.
The final canning session of the season will be Dec. 6 at the LDS church.
The monthly sessions will resume in January or February. Contact Joyce Laney for more information.
Quote of the Week
?Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.?
~ Ray Bradbury
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