N=1 has tagged me, via e-mail, to blog about pandemic flu preparedness.
Frankly, I know zip about pandemic flu preparedness. I know that a pandemic flu, like the one in 1918, would be a disaster of major proportions, and that we're not very prepared for anything like that here in the U.S. (we're not very prepared for most disasters, sad to say). I also know that if possible, the best way to avoid infection is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people; N=1 talks about that quite a bit in her post.
By coincidence, one of the chapters of my fourth novel, Driving to November, is set during the 1918 flu epidemic. The fantasy premise of the novel is that there's a magical, hidden valley in central Nevada (the Brigadoon of the West!). The only people who can get into it are those who've been conceived there or are traveling in close promixity to other people who have been. The advantages of such a valley are obvious: there are no property taxes, and it's a great place to hide stolen goods or hide from unpleasant external events, like flu pandemics. (Downside: no phone service or TV/radio reception, and some bad juju in the more magical parts of the valley . . . among other things.) Many of the conflicts in the book revolve around isolationism versus involvement -- different characters have very different opinions on how much they want to be a part of life Outside -- and in the 1918 chapter, one character is desperately awaiting the return of several others who've left the valley to meet a returning troop train (troops returning from WWI spread the flu, often along railroad lines).
So I've done a little bit of research on flu history, but my current flu preparation plan consists of getting a flu shot every year and washing my hands a lot. And in the event of a pandemic, that wouldn't cut it.
Okay, so I know zip, and I'm going to have to read all the linked sites here to catch up. In the meantime, here are N=1's instructions:
So here’s the challenge and the meme:Banner: check. Links: check (even though I just stole N=1's links). Grocery list: . . . ummm . . . I guess I'll buy extra peanut butter and ibuprofen (such a yummy combination!). Tags: In the interests of spreading this information beyond the medblogging world, I hereby tag Lee, Inez, Elliot, JB, and Tom.
Become a pandemic flu preparedness blogger for a day.
Write a post about pandemic flu preparedness, add the banner gif to your website, supply at least a couple of links to pandemic flu preparation websites, and tag five or more bloggers.
Add two items to your next grocery shopping list to begin to stockpile essentials:
Some ideas for starters include jars of peanut butter, cans of beans, cans of tuna, salmon and other fish, cans of fruit, jars of applesauce, prepared pasta that doesn’t need refrigeration, cooking or rehydration, cans of vegetables, crackers, jars of tomato sauce/spaghetti sauce, cans of stew and hash, boxes of powdered milk, and bottled water and juice. On the medication side, have unexpired bottles of aspirin, acetominophen, naproxen sodium or ibuprofen, triple antibiotic cream, sterile gauze, pepto-bismol, and have bleach and a quaternary disinfectant on hand.
Here are some good references about pandemic flu planning:
Flu Stories: HHS Flu Summit Looks At Tool Kits
HHS Pandemic Flu Leadership Blog
Trust For America’s Health
You get bonus points if you can write a funny post about pandemic flu preparedness (I know, I have a sick sense of humor), and/or if you can connect pandemic flu preparedness to any of the following topics: Cursillo, Quaker parrots, recumbent bicycles, Scripture, science fiction, yoga, tea, comics, or reasons to save the world.
You all know who you are.