Simply stated, it is when a particularly potent strain of the flu virus, one that our immune
systems are not prepared for, sweeps over the globe quickly with devastating effects. What
makes it both scary and dangerous is that it seriously effects the people you would think would
to be most able to cope with the flu, specifically the young and the healthy.
In 1918 as WWl was winding down a new influenza virus was sweeping the globe, it became
known as the "Spanish Flu" (Poor Spain was not involved in the war so they had no media
black out, so their newspapers published the effects of this flu when no one else did.....ergo
the "Spanish Flu") This flu was doing what no other flu had done in recorded history, namely
killing the "healthy". The reason it killed the healthy is due to the flu's ability to use the hosts
immune system against it's self. The stronger your immune system the sicker you got. In
medical terms it's called a "Cytokine Storm". Your body fights the infection and then becomes
overwhelmed. Those with a compromised immune system, chiefly the young and the old, who
are the usual victim's of the flu, are not as adversely effected.
We have, on average, a flu "Pandemic" about every 30 years or so (Spanish Flu 1918, Asian
Flu, 1957, Hong Kong flu 1968) so we are a little over due for the next one. In the early 2000's
the "Bird Flu" (all flu's are bird flu's..... and swine flu's for that matter, we share that with
them) Otherwise known as H5N1 became a real threat. The H5N1 virus was extremely deadly
killing nearly 50% of it's victims, luckily it didn't spread very easily, it also did what few other
virus's do, it kept coming back...(and still does).
In the early part of 2009 a new strain of flu the H1N1 (The H's and N's used to describe these
flus are the chemical mechanisms that the virus uses to first enter and then exit human cells)
Arrived on the scene, it quickly became known as the "Mexican Flu". The "Mexican Flu" had the
potential for causing havoc in the general populace due to the "newness" of the strain. If your
body has not been exposed to a virus is has no natural immunity! The H1N1 swept, and is now
sweeping the globe killing it's victims. So why aren't you hearing this on the nightly news? The
truth is that in a regular year, the flu kills nearly 30,000 people world wide, a tragedy to each
family to be sure, but these deaths are usually the very young and very old.
So why should we be concerned? There are a couple of reasons, carriers of the flu are
contagious for, as much as, two days before they are symptomatic, they can be spreading the
illness with out even knowing it. Also Flu's change over time. They mutate, change and grow.
In medical terms it's called drift and shift. They can change from fairly benign organisms that
give you a fever and a cruddy feeling, to killing you in mere hours! If the H1N1 can match up in
a victim that already has the H5N1, we could see a virus that could kill over 100 million people
So how can you prepare?
Here are some simple steps:
* Social Distancing, humans carry the flu, avoid them as much as possible.
* Avoid people with coughs.
* Wash hands frequently.
* Have available hand sanitizers, masks, disposable rubber gloves.
* Don’t stick your hands in your eyes, nose or mouth.
* Masks help you not put your hands on your face. Glasses keep your fingers away from your
* Everything you touch can kill you (grocery store items, filling station fueling nozzle, building
door handles, restroom faucets and doors, customer service pens, credit card machine pens,
grocery carts, restaurant menus, arm chairs in the doctor’s office, magazines in customer
* Establish a family care plan. See www.ready.gov for additional details.
* If you live in a city, arrange for window shade alerts. A specific window shade always pulled
down at night, always put up upon arising in the morning. Watch each other’s windows to
make sure your neighbors are OK!
* Coordinate with neighbors for backup support for feeding. Set up a telephone call system to
check on neighbors. Consider GMRS, multiple mile radios (change the default code), for
communication in case you can’t get a telephone dial tone. As in any emergency, too many
people checking up on each other can overload the phone system.
* Arraign to work from home.
* Hold meetings by teleconference instead of face to face.
* Spread workers out. Keep distance between them.
* Quarantine critical workers to keep them away from people.
* Have paper towels available to be used for opening restroom doors. Have a waste basket
outside the restroom door so the towel can be thrown away after exiting.
* Have hand sanitizers available.
* Cross-train employees to make sure each task in the business can be done by at least three
* Provide for a backup authority for making decisions in case all decision makers are out sick.
* If the influenza comes back in January, decide when you reach the point where you shut
down for “X” number of days.
* Companies can expect 25% to 40% absenteeism for 4-8 weeks.
* Workers may need time off to take care of themselves or their family. They may be gone for
five days more than once.
The influenza could come in waves of 2-3 months and could mutate so you get it a second time.
Prepare for 30 days of water, fuel, groceries, vitamins, medications. Prepare to survive without
help from the outside.
The Pandemic Rule: No one is coming to help.
To see my Powerpoint presentation on pandemics Click Here