8 Easy Tips For Surviving Flu Pandemics (And the Coronavirus!)
The world has seemingly gone into panic mode over the past few days.
We here at Survival Cat suspected the Coronavirus would be about as deadly as bird flu or mad cow disease (who remembers those?) and disappear into oblivion after a bit of news coverage.
Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case.
In fact, it seems like everyone we know is currently working from home, avoiding any public gatherings, and linking article after article on social media and into group messages we're apart of.
Heck, even Saturday Night Live is currently offline!
So how bad will it get?
We can't answer that question, at least not yet, but what we can tell you is how to avoid getting it.
We're going to discuss this with overlap with the regular seasonal Flu, as there is a fair amount of crossover in both transmission and avoidance.
The primary differentiation is that--as of now--there is no available vaccination for the Coronavirus and there is also the possibility of the disease becoming airborne.
If you're interested in understanding the specific differences, check out this article by John Hopkins Medicine.
Reading it isn't necessary, to implement the advice below.
Moreover, much of what you read here is really only necessary if its particularly bad where you live, like in Italy.
Point number one coincides with what you probably by now already associate the word, "Coronavirus," with...
1. Wear a surgical mask in public.
Influenza is a virus that enters the body through contact with mucous membranes, so you must protect your nose and mouth at all costs.
If you cannot get a mask, try putting a bandanna tied securely over your nose and mouth.
Furthermore, do not touch or rub your eyes, nose, or mouth.
2. Restrict and ration towel usage.
Each member of your household should have an assigned towel, washcloth, dishcloth, and pillow.
Label towels with masking tape to avoid mix-ups and wash all towels with bleach.
If possible (more so if someone is already sick), all household members should also sleep in separate bedrooms.
3. Sneeze and cough into your elbow.
Sneezing and coughing into your elbow will prevent germs from reaching your hands and spreading through contact.
Recommend that others in your household or party follow suit.
4. Keep your hands clean.
There is a specific way to wash your hands in a bathroom while also leaving the bathroom unscathed.
Unscathed in germs, that is.
When washing hands in a public restroom, first pull the lever on the towel dispenser to lower a towel, then wash your hands.
Rip off the dispensed towel, then use it to pull the dispenser lever again and to turn off the water faucet.
Discard the first towel and then tear off the second towel and use it to dry your hands and then open the bathroom door.
While you have the door propped open with your foot, go ahead and discard the towel.
5. Sanitize before touching areas with high germ potential.
Disinfect light switches, doorknobs, computer keyboards and mice, telephone receivers, refrigerator door handles, sink faucets, and the flush handle on the toilet.
Do not use public telephones.
6. Empty the trash often.
Do not let used tissues pile up in wastebaskets; they may carry the flu.
Wear disposable rubber gloves or heavy-duty work gloves when emptying trash.
Wash the gloves frequently, or throw them out after each use if you opted for the disposable kind.
7. Avoid areas with recirculated air systems.
Do not get on an airplane and avoid entering buildings that use recirculation systems designed to reduce fuel consumption (In the United States, many such buildings were erected during the 1970s energy crisis).
In other words, postpone any overseas travel plans you have and stay out of large public buildings if you can, particularly of the skyscraper variety.
8. Do not enter areas where people congregate.
Hospitals, prisons, daycare centers, college dorms, movie theaters, checkout lines, and other places where large numbers of people cohabitate or group closely together should be avoided during the pandemic.
It's time to bust open a copy of convict conditioning to stay in shape, Netflix or another streaming service for entertainment, and usage of Skype or Zoom for work.
9. Bonus: Take Regular Precautionary Measures
- Get a flu shot as soon as they become available.
- Wash your hands frequently and immediately upon returning home from the outdoors - at least 20 seconds at a time.
- Not all masks are equally effective. For best protection, use an N95 "respirator" mask that completely covers the nose, mouth, and chin.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
- Stay home if you can - and avoid large crowds.
- Maintain a 3 to 6-foot distance from other people when traveling outside.
- Clean and disinfect hard surfaces you will regularly come into contact with.
- Let anyone breathe in your face.
- Touch your face without washing your hands first.
- Maintain poor hygiene.
Much of the above might sound extreme.
Do you really want to be that guy or gal who walks around everywhere with a mask?
As we said, do what you think is best with respect to the current situation in your place of living, and leave the rest.
Regularly washing your hands is always a good habit regardless of flu pandemics though.
But we're sure you already knew that--not to sound smart.
As always, please let us know if you have any comments, questions, or thoughts you'd like to share.
We WANT to hear from you, especially amidst all this chaos and hysteria!
-Miles @ Survival Cat
If you're gearing up for your next adventure or prepping for potential disasters, take a peek at our catalog and see if there is anything you need to complete your kit or stow for the future.
Some of the information presented to you here today is from Joshua Piven's book, The Ultimate Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook - an excellent on-the-go addition to any hiking pack or bug-out-bag.
However, something like the SAS Survival Handbook will be more practical for everyday use while outdoors.
For prepping and first aid, our favorites are Just in Case: How to be Self-Sufficient when the Unexpected Happens and The Survival Medicine Handbook: THE essential guide for when medical help is NOT on the way.