Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Prepare: Swine Flu Preparedness At Home

Whether it is the swine flu or some other variant, let's get prepared at home for whatever may happen. My daughter happened to get a cold this weekend, and with the Labor Day holiday, it was a way to simulate a "bug in" scenario with the flu being the "man made disaster".

My daughter started feeling bad on Friday night. She had a runny nose and sneezed several times while watching television. We took her temperature and were relieved to find she did not have a fever.

We put her to bed early, but first, she took a dose of OTC (over the counter cold medicine for her age), brushed her teeth and gargled well.

The next day, we stripped her bedding as well as all the bedding in the house. It was washed thoroughly in hot water with plenty of detergent naturally. We sprayed down her bed mattress with Lysol and I dusted the carpets well with baking soda, baby powder and corn starch and vacuumed. This will not kill germs, but will help remove built in odors and may trap some dirt in the carpet.

We have water resistant covers on every mattress. These can be cleaned as well and should be before,during and after a virus makes its appearance.

While awake, my daughter carried a tissue or paper napkin at all times. Into this she coughed, sneezed, etc. The paper was then disposed in the toilet. Never leave them around on surfaces or in the trash can - the virus germs must be removed from the home. She washed her hands several times a day with warm water and soap.

The other children kept their distance from the sick child and were given separate activities and meal times to avoid sharing of dishes, cups or utensils by accident.Kids will be kids. All surfaces were sprayed regularly with Lysol to kill the virus.

My daughter was still hungry despite being sick. Her top request was for "smooth" things to eat; her throat hurt. We served several different kinds of soup, applesauce, and warm drinks. This was a problem because we were running out of variety early on.

We try not to overdose children on over the counter medications in our home. Instead, she took plenty of elderberry and zinc lozenges, elderberry syrup and natural cough drops. She also regularly took peppermint candy.

She was given two hot showers a day. In the shower we put a few drops of oil of lavender, peppermint, oregano and eucalyptus.

Finally, we made sure she had plenty of rest and stayed in bed. That meant lots of distractions like books, games and videos. We did her outside out back for fresh air and sunshine though, just know crazy activity or exerting play.

So keep these things in mind:

Have plenty of clean bedding on hand.
Keep plenty of cleaning supplies available.
Stock over the counter medications (multiple bottles) as well as alternative remedies.
Stock lots of comfort foods for sick people. Buying a few cases of different soups can be a lifesaver.
Have plenty of activities line up for the home bound.

It was a good drill, but Dad is tired this week. I can only imagine how hard it must be in a real pandemic.

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