Prepared Citizens

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  • Previous Posts

  • Michael Osterholm Quotes:

    “What we need to be doing now is the basic planning of how we get our communities through 12 to 18 months of a pandemic.”

    “Ninety-five out of 100 will live. But with the nation in crisis, will we have food and water? Are we going to have police and security? Will people come to work at all?”

    “It's the perfect setup. Then you put air travel in and it could be around the world overnight.”

    “We can predict now 12 to 18 months of stress of watching loved ones die, of wondering if you are going to have food on the table the next day. Those are all things that are going to mean that we are going to have to plan -- unlike any other crisis that we have had in literally the last 80-some years in this country.”

  • US Health and Human Services

    Secretary Michael Leavitt

    "If there is one message on pandemic preparedness that I could leave today that you would remember, it would be this:

    Any community that fails to prepare with the expectation that the federal government or for that matter the state government will be able to step forward and come to their rescue at the final hour will be tragically wrong,

    not because government will lack a will, not because we lack a collective wallet, but because there is no way that you can respond to every hometown in America at the same time."
  • Joseph C. Napoli, MD of Resiliency LLC

    "I think a new meaning is evolving for resiliency and resilience.

    In some contexts the words are being used to mean the strength to resist being impacted by an adverse event rather than either the “capacity to rebound” or “act of rebounding” from adversity.

    Therefore, resiliency and resilience appear to be assuming the meaning of fortitude, that is, “the strength or firmness of mind that enables a person to encounter danger with coolness and courage or to bear pain or adversity without despondency” as defined in the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary.

    If so, we are coming full circle with science accepting a religious moral virtue – fortitude – as written in the Bible’s Book of Wisdom"

  • Faith Based Resources

    John Piper
    Jonathan Edwards
    Pink-Saving Faith
    Pink-Christian Ethics

    "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves"
    (2 Corinthians 13:5).

    Why Faith Groups Must Care

    When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper


    Be Not Afraid
    Overcoming the fear of Death
    by Johann Christoph Arnold

    While I am not a professional journalist, I do embrace the code of ethics put forth by the Society of Professional Journalists and the statement of purpose by the Association of Health Care Journalists and above all else I strive to "do no harm".

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  • Definitions

    from Wikipedia

    Pandemic Influenza

    An influenza pandemic is an epidemic of the influenza virus that spreads on a worldwide scale and infects a large proportion of the human population.

    In contrast to the regular seasonal epidemics of influenza, these pandemics occur irregularly, with the 1918 Spanish flu the most serious pandemic in recent history.

    Pandemics can cause high levels of mortality, with the Spanish influenza being responsible for the deaths of over 50 million people.

    There have been about 3 influenza pandemics in each century for the last 300 years. The most recent ones were the Asian Flu in 1957 and the Hong Kong Flu in 1968.

    Seasonal Influenza

    Flu season is the portion of the year in which there is a regular outbreak in flu cases.

    It occurs during the cold half of the year in each hemisphere.

    Flu activity can sometimes be predicted and even tracked geographically. While the beginning of major flu activity in each season varies by location, in any specific location these minor epidemics usually take about 3 weeks to peak and another 3 weeks to significantly diminish.

    Individual cases of the flu however, usually only last a few days. In some countries such as Japan and China, infected persons sometimes wear a surgical mask out of respect for others.

    Avian (Bird) Flu
    Avian influenza,

    sometimes Avian flu, and commonly Bird flu refers to "influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds."

    "Bird flu" is a phrase similar to "Swine flu", "Dog flu", "Horse flu", or "Human flu" in that it refers to an illness caused by any of many different strains of influenza viruses that have adapted to a specific host.

    All known viruses that cause influenza in birds belong to the species: Influenza A virus.

    All subtypes (but not all strains of all subtypes) of Influenza A virus are adapted to birds, which is why for many purposes avian flu virus is the Influenza A virus (note that the "A" does not stand for "avian").
    Adaptation is non-exclusive.

    Being adapted towards a particular species does not preclude adaptations, or partial adaptations, towards infecting different species.

    In this way strains of influenza viruses are adapted to multiple species, though may be preferential towards a particular host.

    For example, viruses responsible for influenza pandemics are adapted to both humans and birds.

    Recent influenza research into the genes of the Spanish Flu virus shows it to have genes adapted to both birds and humans; with more of its genes from birds than less deadly later pandemic strains.

    H5N1 Strain

    Influenza A virus subtype H5N1, also known as A(H5N1) or simply H5N1, is a subtype of the Influenza A virus which can cause illness in humans and many other animal species.

    A bird-adapted strain of H5N1, called HPAI A(H5N1) for "highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of type A of subtype H5N1", is the causative agent of H5N1 flu, commonly known as "avian influenza" or "bird flu".

    It is enzootic in many bird populations, especially in Southeast Asia. One strain of HPAI A(H5N1) is spreading globally after first appearing in Asia.

    It is epizootic (an epidemic in nonhumans) and panzootic (affecting animals of many species, especially over a wide area), killing tens of millions of birds and spurring the culling of hundreds of millions of others to stem its spread.

    Most references to "bird flu" and H5N1 in the popular media refer to this strain.

    As of the July 25, 2008 FAO Avian Influenza Disease Emergency Situation Update, H5N1 pathogenicity is continuing to gradually rise in wild birds in endemic areas but the avian influenza disease situation in farmed birds is being held in check by vaccination.

    Eleven outbreaks of H5N1 were reported worldwide in June 2008 in five countries (China, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam) compared to 65 outbreaks in June 2006 and 55 in June 2007.

    The "global HPAI situation can be said to have improved markedly in the first half of 2008 [but] cases of HPAI are still underestimated and underreported in many countries because of limitations in country disease surveillance systems".

    Pandemic Severity Index

    The Pandemic Severity Index (PSI) is a proposed classification scale for reporting the severity of influenza pandemics in the United States.

    The PSI was accompanied by a set of guidelines intended to help communicate appropriate actions for communities to follow in potential pandemic situations. [1]

    Released by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on February 1, 2007, the PSI was designed to resemble the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

    From the Massachusetts Health and Human Services


    refers to separating people who are ill from other people to prevent the spread of a communicable disease.


    refers to separating and restricting the movement of people who have been exposed to a communicable disease and are not yet ill.
  • Additional Information

    Creative Commons License
    Prepared Citizens by Catherine "Jackie" Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
    Based on a work at

    The posts on this site are subject to change. Mostly due to errors in spelling or grammar. I never said I am a professional journalist. I have new appreciation for the job that they do. Also, not all comments made by others will make it onto this site. Comments that advertise a commercial product do not get posted most of the time.

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  • standingfirm

Vigilance Without Being Vigilantes

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 25, 2008

A health care crisis requires something of us consumers. We are not experiencing just one health related crisis, as most of us are aware we are actually struggling on several levels at once.

Not only dealing with the economic and insurance related matters, we are also combating changes in infectious diseases themselves. This is all swirling into a perfect storm which will have a serious impact on each one of us in the days ahead. We will all be effected and if we do not become vigilant now we may be swallowed up by the storm.

Case in point

Recent surgery that my husband endured brought us up close and personal with a bacterial infection. If we did not recognize the infection right away, if we weren’t aware of the dangers of what we were up against, if we weren’t able to impress upon the various physicians we were dealing with what we were looking at as far as the infection was concerned, things may have turned out very differently than they seem to be now.  And because of the nature of health care right now our vigilance was crucial. An appropriate antibiotic given at just the right time seems to be having a positive effect. A close call was averted because we knew what we were looking at, we knew to be concerned and we knew not to wait until the infection got out of control. We really do have to be wise health care consumers right now. We cannot rely on our health care professionals alone because there may be a time coming when they just will not be available. If we do not have the answers we need to know where to go, who to ask, and how to ask, in order to obtain the answers that we need. Unfortunately, right now there are shortcomings in the system and as consumers we need to pick up the slack.

What I am not saying is that this is the fault of anyone in particular. The dominoes are falling while we watch. Consumers have have had a hand in the situation that we are in.

A litigious society has resulted in insurance rates that have skyrocketed both on the consumer side and the provider side. The behavior of a few, seeking to take advantage for their own gain, may have punished us all. I know of many lawsuits which have resulted in outrageous awards that really should not have even been considered the slightest bit legitimate. We all know stories. To me this is similar to shoplifters seeking their own gain at the expense of the rest of us. And the cost of those few “takers” is passed on to us. We are all paying the cost of not holding each other accountable. Just the other day I confronted three teenagers attempting to steal from a vending machine. Burying our heads in the sand and/or putting the blinders on in denial is how we are not holding each other accountable. We tend to pass things off as someone else’s issue to confront, someone else’s call to make.

For instance, where was the outrage against those bringing these frivolous lawsuits? Where was the restraint on the part of the judicial system? We all have had a hand in this and now we are outraged by the cost of care. Too many lawsuits have even deterred some of our best and brightest from entering the medical field.

To a degree, our own demand for and overuse of antibiotics and antimicrobials have encouraged bacteria and viruses to become resistant to them, and we will suffer the effects of all of these changes too unless we ourselves make changes. We have allowed others to control an aspect of our lives that we ourselves should be in control of, our own care plans. It is so much easier to allow others to have charge over us rather than take responsibility for educating ourselves for our own good.

Now the current trend is to blame vaccines for illnesses in our children when as parents we expose them to many of the same chemicals every day of their lives. It is too easy to blame others and look for the fault in what others do rather than change what we ourselves do to contribute to the failure of the entire system. The products that we use every single day may have more of an negative effect on us than we care to admit because to give up what we enjoy or what brings us pleasure, comfort, or convenience, is too much of a sacrifice.

Even the plastic bottles that we drink from may carry some danger. Some ingredients that we should be considering or thinking twice about: Propylene glycol – found in baby wipes and other products may have severe adverse health effects. Deafness, kidney damage, liver problems and skin damage at the cellular level has been demonstrated in many studies, aluminum (oxy)hydroxide (found in vaccines, some toothpaste, some antacids, etc.), sodium laureth sulfate (makes the bubbles that convince us that a product is working, found in shampoo, thought to be safe but so are vaccines), toluene (found in some moisturizing creams, nail products, laundry products etc.), triethanolamine (shampoos, skin products etc.), triclosan (toothpaste, mouthwashes, bedding, socks, etc.), formaldehyde (found in the plastics widely in use, plywood and carpeting in our homes, facial tissues), Diethanolamine DEA (found in shampoos, lotions, creams, cosmetics), the list goes on and on, point being every day use of the products that contain these ingredients may have more of a negative impact on our children than the lifesaving vaccines that we inject them with. Skin allows these chemicals to be absorbed by the body just as much as an injection and we use these products on our children every day for years. We do not want to think that our own behavior while pregnant, our own product use then or on our infants and children may have had a negative impact on them. It is easier and safer to blame vaccines because we do not directly inject them.

Contrast the above ingredients with the following…

The most common vaccine adjuvants in use today are aluminium hydroxide, aluminium phosphate (a leavening agent found in cake mixes and some baking powders) and calcium phosphate (found in dental products, is a nutritional supplement and found in cheese products), killed bacteria or killed viruses, lipopolysaccharides, and squalene (a naturally occurring product “produced by all higher organisms including humans”, found in many personal care products), thiomersal (also found in eye, ear and nose drops and ointments, antiseptic sprays, topical medications, tincture of Merthiolate, make-up remover, eye shadows, mascaras, eye moisturizers and soap free cleansers).

There is a separate issue regarding third generation vaccines not discussed here, another topic for another day. The point is, we do need to be careful and considerate about everything that we use in our modern world. But we must not “throw out the baby with the bath water”.

I didn’t mean to jump back on the vaccine bandwagon again but the point is vigilance without being vigilantes. Sometimes it seems that we can own a point of view so much that reason and balance leaves us. We cannot afford to do this any longer. More care and careful consideration weighing all aspects is needed because we can no longer afford to rely on others wholeheartedly. This is not fair to them or to us. The truth is, we need to put the public back in to public health.

We know that the current trend is to keep people out of hospitals and into home based care. This truly is for our own benefit. Gone are the days of long hospital stays, and good riddance as long as we know how to care for ourselves and our loved ones (and we have access to the tools that we will need like antibiotics and antivirals). But it does require us to be more involved, more aware, and more responsible for our own care and the care of our loved ones.

Thinking ahead to an infectious disease outbreak that will be severe in its far reaching effects and impact on us and combining that knowledge with the understanding that hospitals will close and health care workers will not show up for work due to their own fear or the fact that they themselves will be ill or family members will be ill at home and need to be cared for, we ourselves must be ready to step up to the plate and be responsible caregivers for our loved ones in our own homes. And we will want our loved ones to know what to do if we become ill. Which brings me back to my first point. In order to be vigilant we need to be educated. No one can or will do this work for us. This one is on us and us alone. Learn or perish, that is what we are faced with now.

When we have to deal with an infectious disease crisis, the tendency will be to forget all that we know unless we have used what we know in previous crises or have drilled so that we can react on cue. As medical consumers, we have largely not needed to learn any medical treatment skills. We have trusted others to care for us, to make decisions for us, to guide us and those we have grown to rely on may not be available to us in an infectious disease catastrophe which is what a pandemic really is. All over the country experienced all at the same time, professionals will be spread too thin. In order to survive we must be ready. WE must be ready to treat our loved ones in our homes without antibiotics, without respirators, without antivirals, without many, many, tools that we rely on now. There simply may not be anyone else to call or rely on for information and if we ourselves are not ready with the information, and the skill because we have had the foresight to study and drill, we may not survive….and that is what it will all come down to – survival.

The world does not need a whole lot more vigilantes, the world does need a whole lot more people being vigilant, engaged and involved.

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