“Kung Flu” and Preparedness

The novel Coronavirus outbreak in China popped into the news while I was busy at SHOT Show last week. Since then it has become a “viral” news story (groan).

Regardless of the virus’s source (seafood market? Biological lab?), the bottom line is that it is transmissible among people and containment has not thus far been successful.  With today’s rapid travel, a local epidemic can shortly become a worldwide pandemic. That’s why this has been all over the news, and that’s why it’s making people nervous. But is it really a risk to YOU?

I’m here to say – don’t be jumping to push the Armageddon button just yet. But there is a wake-up call in here somewhere. I want to shake people out of their stupor about infectious diseases in general and their potentially serious social impact. I also want to remind people what their personal responsibilities are.

First of all, I need to say that if you are blasé about garden variety infectious diseases, but then are panicking about the Coronavirus, you are being stupid – sorry.

If you don’t make sure your vaccinations are up to date against the viruses and bacteria we CAN control, but then panic about a disease in the news, I have to question your good judgement.

CDC estimates there were over 61 THOUSAND deaths from Influenza just in the United States alone in the 2017-18 Flu season. Did you even give a flying fu__ -lly formed thought about that at the time? Did you get your flu vaccine THIS year?

No? Then why are you all wrapped around the axel about the novel Coronavirus outbreak and researching containment bunkers, if you didn’t even bother to protect yourself with what is already available against an existing threat?

The bottom line question I’m asking is – are you prepared for ANY infectious disease outbreak at home which might impact your family and interrupt public services for a few weeks – or longer? Not just some new virus overseas. Have you done what you can to protect yourself and your family from even local garden variety infectious disease outbreaks? (That includes vaccinations, hand washing, etc) 

Have you done what you can to help protect your community? (That includes staying home from work and school and sports when you are sick.) I know these aren’t popular things to say, but in my day job I don’t get paid to be popular. My job is to try to keep your kids and the community healthy, and tell you the truth. I’m saying take care of the more local already existing risks and own-up to your own responsibilities to your family and the community before you go getting all bent out of shape about a virus in China.

Now, I’ll step off one soap box and onto another. 

*Ditches stethoscope and dons camo “prepper” hat*

I have to ask – do you have a month or more’s worth of stored food in case the grocery store trucks aren’t allowed through a quarantine of any sort? What if it’s as simple as you and your spouse both being down with Influenza and can’t get to the store for several weeks? Can you get by without a grocery run? This is stuff to at least think about, if you haven’t already.

Do you have a thermometer in your supplies? How about basic meds like Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen? Can you take care of a basic case of regular flu or even viral diarrhea without leaving the house or running to the doctor? Do you keep basic care and recovery foods like bullion cubes, crackers, chicken soup, and oral electrolyte solutions on hand without a store run? If you don’t, why not? You should. 

If your child is sick you don’t want to drag him/her out to the store and expose everyone else in the public (Or him to them.) If YOU are sick, you shouldn’t be out in public either, nor will you feel like being there. And if there is a quarantine you may not be permitted to go out at all. You should plan ahead.

You are not being a crazy prepper if you simply have more food (and water and soap and medicine) in the cupboard than your neighbors. You don’t even have to tell them about it (and probably shouldn’t). 

You don’t need a worldwide pandemic as an excuse to stock up on basic supplies for a health emergency. You should be doing it anyway, and you should be prepared against the “boring” seasonal illnesses too – not just the Killer Zombie Virus.  The peace of mind provided by even basic preparedness will be worth it even in a normal flu and “daycare crud” season. 

Even without Kung Flu in the picture, being able to simply reach into the cupboard for Pedialyte – rather than being forced to drive to Walmart at 3am with a puking kid  – is simply priceless.