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
    Reformation
    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

    Stand

    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



    Isolation


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



    Quarantine


    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 http://www.preparedcitizens.org.




    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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Archive for the ‘Preparedness’ Category

Following the Wind of God’s Spirit

Posted by preparedcitizens on January 30, 2009

 

Father, I know that all my life
Is portioned out for me,
And the changes that are sure to come
I do not fear to see;
I ask Thee for a present mind,
Intent on pleasing Thee.

I would not have the restless will
That hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do
Or secret thing to know;
I would be treated as a child
And guided where I go.

Wherever in the world I am,
In whatsoever estate,
I have a fellowship with hearts
To keep and cultivate .

hymn written by Anna L. Waring in 1850

 

Please join me on Twitter @StandingFirmCM

 

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Report: TFAH – Ready or Not?

Posted by preparedcitizens on January 13, 2009

 

Protecting the Public’s Health from Disease, Disasters, and Bioterrorism

December 2008

 

Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) released the sixth annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report, which finds that progress made to better protect the country from disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and bioterrorism is now at risk, due to budget cuts and the economic crisis. In addition, the report concludes that major gaps remain in many critical areas of preparedness, including surge capacity, rapid disease detection, and food safety.

The report contains state-by-state health preparedness scores based on 10 key indicators to assess health emergency preparedness capabilities. More than half of states and D.C. achieved a score of seven or less out of 10 key indicators. Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin scored the highest with 10 out of 10. Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Montana, and Nebraska tied for the lowest score with five out of 10.

<snip>

click this link for the rest of the story..

 

New Report: Massachusetts Earns Grade of 6 out of 10 on Disaster Preparedness

Economic Crisis Hurting U.S. Preparedness for Health Emergencies; More Than Half of States Score 7 or Lower out of 10 in Readiness Rankings

Washington, D.C., December 9, 2008 – Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today released the sixth annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report, which finds that progress made to better protect the country from disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and bioterrorism is now at risk, due to budget cuts and the economic crisis. In addition, the report concludes that major gaps remain in many critical areas of preparedness, including surge capacity, rapid disease detection, and food safety.

Massachusetts achieved 6 out of 10 possible indicators for health emergency preparedness capabilities. More than half of states and D.C. achieved a score of seven or less out of 10 key indicators. Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin scored highest with 10 out of 10. Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Montana, and Nebraska tied for the lowest score with five out of 10.

Over the past six years, the Ready or Not? report has documented steady progress toward improved public health preparedness. This year however, TFAH found that federal funding for state and local preparedness has been cut 25 percent since 2005, and that these cut backs coupled with the cuts states are making to their budgets in response to the economic crisis, put that progress at risk. In the coming year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 33 states are facing shortfalls in the 2009 budgets and 16 states are already projecting shortfalls to their 2010 budgets.

<snip>

The rest of the MA story is here.

 

Score Summary:

For the state-by-state scoring, states received one point for achieving an indicator or zero points if they did not achieve the indicator. Zero is the lowest possible overall score, 10 is the highest. The data for the indicators are from publicly available sources or were provided from public officials. More information on each indicator is available in the full report on TFAH’s Web site at http://www.healthyamericans.org and RWJF’s Web site at http://www.rwjf.org. The report was supported by a grant from RWJF.

10 out of 10: Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin
9 out of 10: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont
8 out of 10: Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Washington
7 out of 10: California, Colorado, D.C., Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming
6 out of 10: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas
5 out of 10: Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Nebraska, Montana

*Note: Arkansas’s score has been revised. The state provided information confirming they have a Medical Reserve Corps Coordinator after the original release of the report.

 

Posted in Massachusetts, Preparedness, Trust for Americas Health | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Rejoice! Hope Exists and We Can Defeat Fear

Posted by preparedcitizens on January 2, 2009

Show me where an orthomyxoviridae as expressed in H5N1 has developed a new trait.

Mutations plus time plus chance does not prove evolution. There is evidence of neutrality not evolution.

H5N1 has not generated *new* genetic information as it has marched across the globe. And natural selection still fails to prove the existence of evolution in that a new and bolder species has not self-generated or been spontaneously created. Nothing new has emerged.

This is not to say that natural selection does not favor a shift in adaptability to a human host. H5N1 may still cause a pandemic but a loss of information through genetic mutation may yet still be demonstrated when it does.

More and more I am growing increasingly aware that the zoonotic orthomyxoviridae enhance the human H1s, 2 and 3s rather than mutate into strains that infect humans. (…just my pet theory).

To prove evolution a new species with new traits must spontaneously create itself. H5N1 has not done so to date.

Human behavior can alter the outcome. The use of non-pharmaceutical interventions can alter the impact and course. We are not being held hostage by nature and the worse threat that we face is what we do, and do not do for each other.

Complacency and apathy is the worst thing right now. Preparedness and vigilance is a God given strength. We are close to the brink of utter desolation because of our own behavior. *We* are our own worst enemies. Especially when we deny the One who created all and controls all.

He is a jealous God. And by that what is meant is that He loves us and He wants us to love Him back without elevating anything else to His level. The jealousy of God is not the same as human jealousy. It is a perfect jealousy that is meant for our good.

To deny the gift, to hide our head in the sand, is an affront to the One who gives us this peace of mind, this hope, this joy, this peace. We are His, He loves us, He wants the best for us and it is us who deny Him, not the other way around.

We can do this! We can help others! God does not want us to cower in fear.

Prepare Now! Prepare with Joy and Hope!

Prepare Deeply.

Do Not Fear.

Posted in H5N1, Preparedness, Public Health | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Merry Christmas

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 24, 2008

There was once a man who didn’t believe in God, and he didn’t hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays — like Christmas.

His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused.

“That story is nonsense!” he said. “Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That’s ridiculous!” So she and the children left, and he stayed home.

A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm.

He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening when he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then another thump. He looked out, but couldn’t see more than a few feet.

When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been thumped on his window.

In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn’t go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter.

They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed.

The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It’s warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm.

So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside.

But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn’t seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.

The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away.

He went into the house and came with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread crumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn’t catch on.

Now he was getting frustrated.

He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn.

Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe.

“Why don’t they follow me?!” he exclaimed. “Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?”

He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn’t follow a human. “If only I were a goose, then I could save them,” he said out loud.

Then he had an idea.

He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese.

He then released it.

His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn — and, one by one, the other geese followed it to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: “If only I were a goose, then I could save them!”

Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. . . . “Why would God want to be like us? . . . “That’s ridiculous!”

Suddenly it all made sense.

That is what God had done.

We were like the geese–blind, lost, perishing.

God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us.

That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized.

As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought.

Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come. Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm.

He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer: “Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!”

–Author unknown

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Drug Resistance Translates Directly Into An Impact On Lives

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 22, 2008

This is a bit of a personal post because mostly it is a very public reminder to myself that drug resistance is not just a medical term. Drug resistance translates directly into increased impact on those who become very ill with influenza. This directly translates into more lives lost.

So searching my heart I ask what response *I* should have to this development?

I am very aware of my virological footprint. Unlike some somewhat nebulous concepts for my mind to grasp I DO know that protecting others by concentrating on my own germ hygiene is the kindest and best thing that I can do.

Note to self:

I will remember to sneeze and cough into my sleeve at the crook of my arm…and then

I will wash my hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer so as to not spread viruses to surfaces that others will touch.

If I do use tissues, I will dispose of them very carefully.

If I am ill or think that I am becoming ill I will stay home and away from others.

If someone in my household is ill I will stay home and take care of them without going out and spreading illness.

If anyone is ill at Christmas, even at Christmas, we will not “mingle”.

I will be aware of other’s viruses so that I do not expose my unvaccinated friends and loved ones.

(and I will remember to be joyful about this even though this is hard to remember to do and I don’t like thinking this much about these extra hygienic measures.)

I think that I will make up even more tips for myself and post them on the fridge to remind myself.

Maybe it’s just because I am getting old but I am needing lists more and more <sigh>

 

Share Life, Not Viruses!

 

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Why Public Health Activists Urge Preparedness

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 21, 2008

A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of a story that is important to focus on. Thank you Babcom.

Traffic Jam Dampens Holiday Spirit
by Casey J. Bortnick
Published Dec 20, 2008

Wedged in between two potential snow storms local shoppers saw Saturday as their last day to get their holiday shopping done. Thousands of people and their cars packed area malls and shopping centers. The results were long lines, and that’s just for those lucky enough to get in.

Those who went to the Eastview Mall were greeted with bumpers, brake lights, and frustrations.

"Traffic seems to be a mess. I hope some people are getting some shopping done. I’m not one of them right now," said Michael Shanley.

"Just waiting, I’ve wasted a lot of time. And I’m hungry!" Patty Stoutz exclaimed.

Eastview expected a large volume of holiday traffic Saturday. But shoppers didn’t expect to be stuck in the parking lot for as long as three hours.

"I don’t know why they don’t have more county cops out here trying to direct the traffic better," said Bill Benge.

The Ontario County Sheriff’s Department did call in re-enforcements. But with thousands trying to get in and out, deputies say there was only so much they could do.

"As you know the roads can only handle so many cars at a time, and it ended up being a huge logistical night mare for us and mall security," said Deputy Bob Green.

The traffic was so bad that the county’s 9-1-1 system was overloaded with angry shoppers calling from the Eastview mall parking lot. Green says cellular service in the area was briefly knocked out.

"It’s a story of too many cars trying to occupy a smaller area at the same time," Green said.

Cell service was restored and in the end, sheriff’s deputies say it was more of an inconvenience than a safety concern. After a long wait some left with a valuable lesson for next year.

"I’m going to go much earlier, I don’t know if it’s the snow that messed everything up or what? But it’s ridiculous," said Benge.

"You can’t move, can’t get out of the car, and you can’t find a parking spot. It’s easier to shop on the computer at this point," Shanley said.

No accidents or injuries were reported, but deputies say the overload of the 9-1-1 system could have been a serious problem. They urge those stuck in traffic to call 9-1-1 only in the case of an emergency.

This report is an example of what will happen at the outset of a public health emergency when the public is largely unprepared. And it won’t happen in one place, it will happen everywhere. And it won’t happen with such order because it won’t be holiday shopping that is being done, it will be life and death preparedness.

This is what planners across the country have discussed over the years about the higher category pandemic, other infectious disease outbreak or major terrorist attack possibilities….

When the real panic does occur, how long will it last? Hours, days? People will realize that there is nothing because of the reports that there is nothing.

~~~~~~~~~~

After the stores are emptied people will go home and try to stretch out what they have. When their supplies run low, hunger (and thirst, and cold) will drive those who are well but possibly exposed and contagious out to search and beg from extended family, friends, and neighbors. What else can they do?

Those who are ill, may be gravely ill. There may not be any medical care available at this point either because supplies at hospitals and clinics are limited too.

First people will try to color within the lines. They will call the social service agencies and churches in their area. When they realize that those agencies have nothing for them because so many are in that same position who have tapped the well dry already, then they will search out other resources. What that happens the real “panic” will set in. Hunger, thirst, cold, these are the extremes that will cause people to act much differently than they do now.

The real panic is like what happens when someone is drowning. I have experienced that panic as a lifeguard and it is terrible. In the victims fear they WILL pull you down too. It isn’t because they want to kill you, you are their lifeline, it is because at some point extreme fear causes an irrational response. There are times, as a lifeguard, that we have to swim away and wait for the victim to stop thrashing. And we have to plan our approach carefully or both victim and rescuer will die.

As citizens we can’t need the lifeguard. The more prepared that we become as a society, the more we will not need the lifeguard. We have to learn to swim safely alone.

There are skills that a crucial to learn. Purchasing resources and learning how to watch the dates on the products we use. How to store them safely and inventory them….it takes practice and more thought than we are used to.

In the West we have grown too used to being able to think about something we want and jumping in the car to go and get it (even purchasing it on credit rather than with cash).

These practices will not serve us well in the days ahead.

And unfortunately, the “lifeguard” may not make it in time….thousands and thousands will be in need of rescue.

When we have to deal with a pandemic or other outbreak of widespread illness, or a dirty bomb attack, or any other situation that may require us (and we will WANT to) stay in and away from trouble.

The truth is no one knows “when” and “if” has fallen away from the dialogue.

A religious man is on top of a roof during a great flood. A man comes by in a boat and says "get in, get in!" The religious man replies, " no I have faith in God, he will grant me a miracle."

Later the water is up to his waist and another boat comes by and the guy tells him to get in again.

He responds that he has faith in god and god will give him a miracle. With the water at about chest high, another boat comes to rescue him, but he turns down the offer again cause "God will grant him a miracle."

With the water at chin high, a helicopter throws down a ladder and they tell him to get in, mumbling with the water in his mouth, he again turns down the request for help for the faith of God.

He arrives at the gates of heaven with broken faith and says to Peter, I thought God would grand me a miracle and I have been let down."

St. Peter chuckles and responds, "I don’t know what you’re complaining about, we sent you three boats and a helicopter."

I am a firm believer in God’s miracles and I also firmly believe that Jesus took a boys lunch and fed the multitude. I am not discounting God’s abundant provision or His ability to do anything that He wants to do in our lives. He is sovereign and of that I have no doubt.

Sometimes the miracles that God does are so common to us as to be almost unrecognizable.

Perhaps reading this post will cause you to prepare which will be the blessing that you needed in order to be prepared for the days ahead.

What a blessing we can be when someone comes knocking on our door and we have the provision to share with them because we, and so many others, have prepared. When we who can are not a burden to the system there will be no panic, no need, no hunger, no thirst and the social agencies will not be overwhelmed because people who could, did.

 

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Don’t Leave To Others What We Must Do For Ourselves

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 20, 2008

My town, my wonderful town, is really working hard at a disaster response plan. Jeremy Bedson presented his pre-disaster mitigation plan and it was tabled until May 2009. And for good reason. Our cities and towns are not capable of being our answer in a disaster of any magnitude. They can be of assistance, they can be a resource, but they cannot be our answer….and we cannot be their burden.

After years of thinking about this issue I ask myself what I expect from my town as far as “a response” is concerned. As a citizen of this town I expect an attempt at resilience. The town itself must not *fall* even though some of us will. I expect information, honesty, transparency, and a request for *my* assistance when it is needed. I do expect that those in town employ continue to do their job *as they are able*.

What I don’t expect from my town…care, feeding, clothing, shelter, security, medical care, or anything else that I know that I will have to do for myself in an extreme emergency where town employees themselves will be in danger. I recognize these things as blessings and not rights.

So call me crazy. I do appreciate every effort that this town is making on my behalf and on the behalf of every resident. Jeremy, Kathleen, Lorri, Judy, and others, are doing a stand up job and they should be applauded. But this resident and this residents family is not looking for support from or sustenance from a town who simply cannot provide it now or in the future.

What I *do* hope for in my dream of dreams…is that every resident of this town is aware of the dangers and risks and the need to seek their own solutions in order that they can mitigate their own problems ahead of time, the inabilities of the town to come to our aid in a disaster of any large magnitude, and the knowledge that our town’s resilience, may in the end, depend largely on all of us.

I pray for a happy and healthy New Year for us all.

 

Posted in Monson MA, Preparedness, Public Health | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

WHO: Addressing Ethical Issues in Pandemic Influenza Planning

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 16, 2008

DISCUSSION PAPERS

 

The World Health Organization has released this 119 page collection of discussion papers regarding ethical issues in pandemic influenza planning. I cannot tell by the website when this was released for public consumption or even when the information was compiled into this form. It definitely is an important source of information for those interested in ethical considerations regarding infectious disease outbreaks and how they will be responded to by a world body.

Experts in the subjects of law, public health, ethics, WHO staff and country representatives were brought together into working groups to discuss the major issues that we will face in the days ahead.

The topic headings…

  • I Equitable access to therapeutic and prophylactic measures – prepared by chairperson Marcel Verweij of Utrecht University (Netherlands)
  • II Isolation, quarantine, border control and social-distancing measures – written by Larry Gostin, chairperson
    of the working group on “Isolation, quarantine, border control, and social distancing” and Ben Berkman, both of Georgetown University
  • III The role and obligations of health-care workers during an outbreak of pandemic influenza – prepared by chairperson Ross Upshur of the University of Toronto (Canada)
  • IV Pandemic influenza planning and response – transnational issues for governments – prepared by Robert Archer, chairperson

I am just getting into the meat of this document now but I highly recommend it.

 

Posted in politics, Preparedness, Public Health, World Health Politics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Truth of The Matter Is

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 13, 2008

I really am not very good at this physical preparedness stuff.

I don’t like spending money that I don’t feel that I earn so I am careful about what I spend our family money on.

As a pandemic preparedness activist I have tended to focus on the eternal questions and how they relate to preparedness and response. I have left no doubt that I serve Jesus Christ, first and only. How I ended up with the message of “prepare” is no mistake. Our talents are used in order to reach into hearts.

I don’t see a conflict between the two messages. One is an action that mirrors the heart’s response. I am prepared, but my preparedness varies from yours.

Helping others to be ready allows us to explain why we are doing so, why we have done so..

Once we know who we serve, and we can only serve one of two masters – God or Mammon we are able to explain the difference in those two masters.

What is more important what we have here or what we do in His name while here? Bringing glory to God is what life is all about….heaping coals of kindness because He did it all first and foremost.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I do have some questions about what life will truly be like in Monson MA during and a minor infectious disease outbreak all the way through the range to a major outbreak, like a pandemic or bioterrorism event.

So – Putting These Questions All Together……

We live pretty central to a good many major cities. I am thinking that the best approach is be able to stand secure in our own homes and perhaps ready to protect a neighbor or two. Is there a different plan in the works than this? Certainly our town police force is not large enough to withstand a category 4 or 5 event without citizens themselves ready to secure their own homes.

Is there a method of communication for an “all hands” or “all clear” call in case phones are down or power is out for an extended time?

Will town government be able to withstand a category 3, 4 or 5 pandemic? Are the Continuity of Operations Plans completed for each department?

Who will be the authorities in charge during an infectious disease disaster?

What can I expect under a declaration of emergency? What laws will change?

What are the quarantine and isolation laws.

Will my civil rights be protected? What am I allowed and not allowed to do under martial law? Will my parental rights be safeguarded? I do not want others telling me how to raise my children by forcing them to take vaccines or other unwanted medical procedures. As a parent, and now grandparent, I must be the sole determiner of what is right for my child and loved ones, not the locality, not the state, and not any world body.

Will the second amendment be upheld in Massachusetts and honored in Monson?

What our EMT’s respond to all calls for health assistance?

What are our backup services if the surge capacity overwhelms Wing Memorial Hospital?

If the acute care center is closed who can I call for assistance?

Will there be enough personal preparedness equipment for each one of the town’s responders?

Can I Adopt An Essential Worker’s Family?

I have volunteered for my local MRC but have not heard anything back. Will my services be needed or wanted?

Will worship services and other gatherings be banned during a extended infectious disease outbreak?

During a category 5 pandemic many children may be left abandoned. Has a provision been made for protecting these children?

During a category 5 pandemic social breakdown is a probability. How should we best protect ourselves?

Does the Monson Police Department have enough personal preparedness equipment to last through the duration of a pandemic (perhaps 18 months)?

How can I assist our town?

Will you need skilled tradesmen, craftsmen, or day laborers? Will there be personal preparedness equipment available if I assist?

What if the power is out for an extended period of time? Where will those who are ill go for shelter? Where will the exposed go for shelter? Where will the “well” go during a pandemic AND an extended power outage?

If the town water service and power is out for longer than a week, do we have to shut off the main in front of our house? How can I obtain instructions?

That reminds me…a map of local springs would be helpful in case of extended power outage. (I will see what I can find.)

If my business closes and I am not getting paid, will my town services be cut off? (Can us little guys expect a bailout?)

How will I know if schools have been closed? What will the early school closure policy be in town?

If the local funeral homes are overwhelmed, who can I call for assistance?

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As for what I have been doing lately…

I tell each person that I bump into in my travels who may need a hand or know of someone who needs assistance that I can help out, then I remind them when I see them.

I Pray Unceasingly

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Biblical Preparedness The Foolish and Wise Virgins

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 13, 2008

The Parable of The Foolish and Wise Virgins

Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

Five of them were foolish and five were wise.

The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.

Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.

The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’

But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’

While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.

Then the door was locked.

Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’

But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’

Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

~Matthew 25:1-13

Stay Awake!

Is There Oil In Your Lamp!

 

 

 

 

 

“Whoever receives you, receives me.”

~Matthew 10:40

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Don’t Forget About November 20th

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 14, 2008

I know, I can be an awful nag.

Six days until the Great American Smokeout

Quitting smoking really can be difficult. I know how hard it is. I truly do. But I also know how great the health benefits are.

I was a smoker and I do empathize. I do understand. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t say a word.

I do care.

I also know what it feels like to have an asthma attack. For a while I had a reactive sort of asthma. When I would get a bad cold or the flu I had asthma symptoms and had to use a nebulizer. Thankfully, it is under control now. Losing weight helped too.

The point is, even though quitting smoking is hard to do, the effort is worth it.

And I cannot promise that I won’t mention this again….

This is from the CDC:

Smoking and Influenza

If you are thinking about quitting smoking – today is the time to take the appropriate steps to do so.
  • Some research studies show an increase in influenza infections among smokers compared to nonsmokers.
  • There is a higher mortality rate for smokers than nonsmokers from influenza
Additional respiratory health consequences:
  • Smoking is related to chronic coughing and wheezing among adults and children and chronic bronchitis and emphysema among adults.
  • Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to have upper and lower respiratory tract infections, perhaps because smoking suppresses immune function.
Within 20 minutes after you smoke that last cigarette, your body begins a series of positive changes that continue for years.

Smoking Cessation:

  • Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and reducing the health of smokers. Quitting smoking has immediate, as well as long-term health benefits.
  • Individual, group, or telephone counseling by trained health professionals increases the chances of successful quitting. Nicotine replacement products and certain other medications also increase the chance that people can successfully quit.

To successfully quit smoking, you should take the following steps:

  • See your doctor, call a telephone quitline, or join a group program to learn new skills and behaviors to deal with situations when you want to smoke.
  • Get ready and set a quit date.
  • Get support and encouragement from family and friends.
  • Get medication and use it correctly.
For information on how you can quit smoking visit the following web sites and resources below:

Additional Information on How to Quit Smoking at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/how2quit.htm

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Reports that Encourage and Bring Hope

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 14, 2008

Admittedly, it has been a marathon to increase awareness of pandemic influenza and encourage preparedness among the public.

For some reason when this story was dropped into my inbox this morning it brought tears to my eyes. Not tears of sadness, but tears of gratefulness and thanksgiving.

Maybe it is just my imagination, but the sheer number of stories about local preparedness efforts and announcements of rural areas that are planning and announcing their planning to the public are increasing. And I am breathing a tremendous sigh of relief.

Preparedness and awareness are our best mitigation tools.

This type of reporting, rather than create panic in the public, will help many to begin to prepare their family and home. Good information (rather than rumors and misinformation) never hurt, it always helps.

The following report is what opened the floodgates for me. I have family ties to this area and years ago I started telling people about preparedness in this area. Since we are not able to get to our island home as much as we would like I have not been as aware as I would like to be about the planning efforts of the place that holds my heart, and where I long to be.

(I would encourage more than 10 days of food, water, and medicines….but it’s a beginning)

Pandemic planning pushes preparedness

Written by Robert Levin

Friday, November 14, 2008

BAR HARBOR — Public officials are continuing with efforts to prepare for a potential outbreak of pandemic flu this winter or in coming years.

The Mount Desert Island Pan Flu working group was set this week to ask the league of towns to approve initial plans for stepped-up communication procedures among area towns in the event of an outbreak or other major event.

The league of towns, made up of representatives from Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor, Tremont, Mount Desert, Swans Island, Cranberry Isles, Acadia National Park, Trenton and Lamoine, was slated to take up the request of the at a regular meeting in Mount Desert Wednesday. Results of the meeting were not available by press time.

“Coordinated dissemination of public information in the event of a big event, such as the pandemic flu, would simply go a long way to ensuring an effective public response,” said Mount Desert Island hospital spokesman Jeff Nichols, the chairman of the Pan Flu working group subcommittee handling communications procedures.

With the support of the league of towns, Mr. Nichols hopes to coordinate training on how to manage media and spread information efficiently in the event of an emergency. He has asked each town to designate a public information officer to work with him on communications plans.

The ability to spread information quickly and efficiently in the event of a pandemic flu outbreak is extremely important, said Doug Michael of the pan flu working group. Mr. Michael, who is the director of Healthy Acadia, said the potential for such an outbreak remains very real.

“Public health officials in the state and the nation and across the world are largely in agreement that we are overdue for a pandemic event,” he said. “We cannot predict when it will happen, but it behooves us to be prepared.”

Since 2003, world health officials have been tracking the spread of the H5N1 avian flu virus. A growing number of human cases have been reported in Asia, Europe, and Africa, killing more than half of the people infected.

While almost all of the cases have been caused by exposure to infected birds, officials remain concerned that the H5N1 virus will mutate into a strain that is capable of human-to-human transmission, leading to a pandemic flu event. Because avian viruses do not commonly infect humans, there is little or no immune protection against them in the human population.

The world’s last large pandemic flu outbreak was in 1918, killing an estimated 50 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Smaller pandemics occurred in 1957 and 1968, killing one to two million people each time.

In the event of an outbreak, officials likely would close public schools and try to keep people as isolated from each other as possible, in an attempt to curtail the spread of the virus, Mr. Michael said. People can prepare for such an event by having 10 days worth of food, water, medical supplies, and other necessities stockpiled in their homes, he said.

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The “All Health Hazards” Preparation and Why It IS Necessary

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 1, 2008

As mentioned before on this blog, the all-hazards approach to disaster has been a great boon to us all. Infectious diseases require their own preparation over and above the general preparation that the all-hazards approach teaches us.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is specific when encountering a health hazard as well as the treatment we provide our loved ones and community members. Also the length of time that we have to deal with the disaster is extended – weeks or months as opposed to days or weeks for hurricanes, tornadoes and fires.

Emerging (a new infection) and re-emerging diseases (those on the increase over the last 20 years) which have changed or “drifted” and are now striking us with a renewed vigor, something to pay attention to. And now there are the drug resistant forms (those that once were sensitive to antibiotics or other medicines and no longer are). Some diseases like mumps, measles and pertussis, once kept at bay through immunization, are gaining a foothold as more children are not vaccinated against them. We lose ‘herd immunity’, allowing these diseases to again kill and maim.

Borrowing heavily from “Germs Go Global

” – a Trust For Americas Health Report…

Some of the factors cited that are leading to emergence of these diseases; “Microbial adaptation, climate and weather, changing ecosystems, human demographics, international travel and commerce, breakdown of public health measures, poverty,…” Public complacency and apathy might also be added to the list. As drug companies pursue profits vaccine research and development falls by the wayside leaving us without vaccine and necessary drugs to fight infections.

Our three biggest infectious disease threats (HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria) have no effective vaccines to thwart their advance. Through education and awareness lives can be saved and disease spread held at bay until vaccines can be developed, if there is the political will to do so.

HIV/AIDS – “an emerging infectious disease that sparked a worldwide pandemic. Globally, in 2007, nearly 33 million people were reported to be living with HIV. More than 980,000 cases of AIDS have been reported in the U.S. since it was first reported in this country in 1981”.

Tuberculosis (TB) – “More than one-third of the global population is infected with TB”…”In 2006, there were 14.4 million people living with active TB worldwide”. Because treatment for TB begs non-compliance due to the length of treatment, the amount of drugs required, and the discipline required in following the protocol, non-compliance is leading to the emergence of new drug resistant forms of the illness. Newly emergent forms: XDR-TB and MDR-TB have even more far reaching, grave, implications.

Malaria – Once “nearly eliminated in the U.S.”, “sporadic cases” have been reported.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) – A severe, newly emergent infectious disease caused by the coronavirus, the virus that causes the common cold. Within six weeks in 2002 the virus causes 8,000+ people to become infected and 774 of them died. Closely examining SARS, the rapid spread, and the economic impact of the illness is an indicator of what a pandemic of influenza will do in our modern societies.

H5N1 Avian Influenza – is becoming more adapted to the human respiratory tract. As it does so it becomes more easily transmissible as a sustained human to human virus.

Hepatitis C – “In 2006, there were an estimated 19,000 new hepatitis C virus infections in the U.S. and an estimated 3.2 million Americans have chronic hepatitis C virus infection. Approximately 8,000 – 10,000 people die every year from hepatitis C related liver disease”.

Lyme Disease  – First recognized in it’s current iteration in 1975 when a cluster of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in Lyme and Old Lyme, CT caught the attention of local physicians from Yale University.

Transmitted by ticks, on the East Coast the deer tick and in the West, the black-legged tick. Infection can spread to the heart, the nervous system and to joints – it is a painful and debilitating illness. Typically successfully treated by antibiotics, antibiotic resistance can and does develop in later stages of the illness.

Urbanization and deforestation is implicated in the spread of this disease as more humans live in tick infested areas.

Legionnaire’s Disease – Legionella bacteria first emerged in 1976 at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia. A type of pneumonia that is usually found during the summer and fall months but can occur at any time of the year.

Mumps , Measles , and Pertussis – These childhood illnesses are in the news headlines with increasing frequency as vaccination compliance drops off. Measles is a highly infectious disease carries the weight of severe and sometimes permanent complications.

Resource: Parents Guide to Childhood Immunization

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) – Once predominately a hospital acquired infection, MRSA has become endemic in some of our community settings. MRSA infects wounds and becomes a systemic illness leading to tissue destruction and death. It is very painful and very difficult to treat. And there is evidence that the drugs used to treat the infections are losing their effectiveness.

The tropical diseases:

Dengue Fever – “A flu-like illness that can be painful and debilitating…transmitted by mosquitoes. The more severe dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndromes can be fatal”. “…public health experts believe that dengue is one of the world’s most important re-emerging diseases”. “Mosquitoes that can transmit the illness have been found in 36 U.S. states and are pf particular concern along the U.S.-Mexico border and in Puerto Rico”.

Yellow Fever – “Brazil reported it’s first outbreak of yellow fever…since the 1940’s”.

The report also cites the “potential deliberate use of pathogens as agents of bioterrorism”. From anthrax to hantavirus, we can no longer afford to ignore these possible threats. “Developing effective medical countermeasures against deliberately emerging diseases has become a national priority”.

Preparedness cannot be left up to Congress, the President, state or even local public health officials.

Trust for America’s Health includes several recommendations for detection, response, and deterrence, of these disease threats. A good start is to read this report and fully understand what we, as a nation and globally, we are up against.

In my humble opinion apathy is an enemy. As a nation we need to build up our public health infrastructure. Funding for public health in our communities must be increased in order to attract the best and brightest into the field. By bolstering and enhancing our public health response efforts we take more of the burden off of our health care practitioners enabling them to concentrate more on disease treatment while public health leaders focus on prevention and mitigation efforts. Working disease surveillance systems and further educating the public as to what they can do to stop the spread of infectious disease is crucial. The “many hands” approach is most appropriate because no single entity within our communities, our states, or our nation, can bear the brunt of the burden alone, especially in these economic times.

Infectious diseases know no borders, do not respect human divisions like race, creed, or economic status. They strike wherever they will and our efforts to curtail them must also reach across any divides that we have already in place within our healthcare, emergency service, and public health infrastructures. An open dialogue within our nation and communities is greatly needed.

 

Resource: Germs Go Global – Why Emerging Infectious Diseases Are A Threat To America from Trust for America’s Health

 

 

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Preparing for an All Hazards Health Disaster

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 1, 2008

The “all-hazards” approach to disaster preparedness has served us well over recent years. As a nation we learned from the horrible disaster that was Katrina. We learned, we applied, we grew stronger. And those of us in harms way responded much better to recent hurricanes and other disasters. All would agree that over-reaction is preferable to under-reaction.

“Better safe than sorry”

Preparedness works

. It is healthy and wise to apply the lessons that we learn. Preparedness does not bring about disaster but it sure does make us able to react when there is a need to. Even when reacting is inconvenient or turns out to be unnecessary, we are much better off having learned, prepared, and drilled in our response. Preparedness is truly the “do no harm” approach.

No one knows with any certainty what each day, week, or month will bring. What trouble will be on our plate at any given time, changes. The beauty of preparedness is that the more prepared you are to weather a storm the better.

Off and on over the years we have been more physically prepared than other times. We have also had some times where we had to rely on the preparedness that we had done. Medical bills, or some other minor catastrophe made our bills threaten to overwhelm us. Having food stored up saw us through the month. But this is not something that we are used to doing, it does take a little more effort to store more in our home — but once again we are doing so.

Seeing some older women at our local grocery store preparing (I admit to eavesdropping on their conversation – it was in a public place) motivated me to continue on with our own preparedness efforts.

Do I know for certain that H5N1 will spark the next global pandemic, no. But it sure is a virus to watch. Can a pandemic arise from some other virus or other pathogen, yes. There are quite a few that are currently being tracked and monitored right now.

This is why we prepare. History tells us that pandemics come in cycles and they come from a variety of sources. We have reached that part of the cycle where we should be ready.

Pandemic preparedness also prepares us for many other health-related disasters where we would need to voluntarily quarantine ourselves for a time, or keep on keeping on with a bit more precaution and safety to our everyday lives.

There are proper and improper ways to don a mask and other personal protective equipment and when we should wear them. They need to be stocked in our homes ahead of time.

There are rehydration solution recipes that we can have in our homes. Rehydration is crucial. Dehydration is a killer and can be prevented.

Using soap and water is great but there are proper handwashing techniques (and here and here) that must be learned or our efforts are ineffective. Hand sanitizers are effective tools in the arsenal but should be purchased ahead of time and not be solely relied upon. They are an option when soap and water is not available.

Knowing when and for how long to close schools, this takes coordination within our towns. If there is no awareness of why this is necessary there will be unnecessary friction at a time that we can least afford it. Closing schools must be done proactively, hopefully prior to the first illness appearing in our town. In the case of pandemic influenza, the virus is transmissible before first symptoms appear. We will need to act and close schools as soon as there is illness elsewhere. We may not get the this right a few times. Better safe than sorry and we are all learning. Parents will need to know ahead of time what arrangements for there children must be made so there is proper supervision for their children in case businesses are not all closed proactively.

The more knowledge gained and the more preparedness realized the better off we all will be.

 

 

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What Do You Cling To

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 28, 2008

What matters most in your life, what you cling to the most.

Is it your car, your home, your lifestyle, your check book, the luxuries in your life….what is it that you would hate to lose?

That is where your heart is.

Loving friends and family, these are different. We should love others and desire to love them more than our own selves (but not more than God Himself)

But loving the things of this world, that is what used to trip me up — over and over again.

I can go days without food and without much to drink. It is an exercise that I do to strengthen myself and my resolve. It also re-prioritizes my life in other ways.

Part of preparedness should be going without the things that we cling to that will disappear during a pandemic. Know what it is like now to go without. Turn off the computer for a few days, walk to local places, wear the same clothes for three or so days, don’t take a shower but try to stay clean, turn off the t.v. and the lights and don’t go out of the home for a weekend, you will quickly discover things about your heart and your life and the priorities that you have.

One of the best disciplines that I have learned in my life is to take something that I really, really, enjoy and cherish and give it away, not sell it, give it away to someone who also would enjoy having it. I have even thrown things away that I enjoy. I learned quickly not to place my happiness in things.

Take this thought a step further — people that we love die, they leave us and we grieve. We hold onto and cherish their memory but they are gone.

It is a blessing to know that they believed and are sleeping, just waiting for the Lord’s return where we will one day meet again. But they are gone from our lives, and sometimes for all eternity. That they did not believe before death, this is a pain that is almost unbearable, yet I believe these will be some of the tears that will be wiped dry. (Oh to have friend and foe alike back for even a few moments so that I can tell them the Good News just one more time, just  in case they may believe and find everlasting life – yet I still find myself cowardly face to face). Prepare for this, prepare them for what is ahead so that you know that you have told them the Truth.

We come into this world naked and alone and we leave this world the same way. We cannot take anything with us except our faith – or lack of it.

And this IS what I know that I must cherish. It is all that remains of us and our world and the treasure that we try to amass – when all is said and done faith is what remains.

So I prepare.

I go without. I do without for a time. I give time and treasure away in order that I may grow — and so that others may be blessed. I do it because I love the One who gave away all. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Know what you cherish and where your heart is now for things may soon change.

 

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Tools in our arsenal: A Symptom Checker, ABC News Cold and Flu Center and so much more!

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 20, 2008

Look at what ABC News is up to….Kudos to them!

Sick Kids: Keep Them Home? Or Are They Faking?

Doctors Give Quick Tips to Help You Decide When to Keep Junior Home

By JOSEPH BROWNSTEIN
ABC News Medical Unit

Oct. 2, 2008

The morning begins, and you slowly pull yourself out of bed, getting ready for a day at the office, when you hear the familiar refrain, “Mommy, Daddy, I don’t feel good.”

And soon, you will have to evaluate, how sick is she? Is he really sick, or just trying to get out of school? And why don’t schools teach them that the proper grammar is to say that they don’t “feel well” anymore?

There may be no way to know if your child is really sick — even after seeing a doctor — but pediatricians have several suggestions to help you make the right call on taking your child in to the doctor, keeping them home or sending them in to school for the day.

read the rest of this story here.

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It’s a Cold. It’s the Flu. No, It’s Much Worse

Signs That Your Cold or Flu Is More Serious Than You Think

By RADHA CHITALE
ABC News Medical Unit

Oct. 17, 2008

Fever, runny nose, sore throat, headache, fatigue — just another run of the mill cold or flu virus, right?

Perhaps, but sometimes these rather nonspecific symptoms are harbingers of something else. A number of illnesses, particularly viral infections, can begin with symptoms that are similar to a cold or the flu but, upon closer inspection or further progression, can prove far more serious than a flu bug.

Part of the reason many infections can be mistaken for a cold or a flu is because their symptoms are fairly non-specific. And they like to infect similar areas of the body.

read the rest of the story here.

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Here is a link to the symptom checker where you can tell if you have a cold or the flu. What a great idea!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is a cold and flu center complete with videos and message boards where you can ask your the experts your own questions.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Go to ABC News/Health for so much more….

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Successful Free Flu Shot Clinics

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 19, 2008

Flu drill deemed a success

By MANASEE WAGH
Bucks County Courier Times

More than 4,500 people received free flu shots Saturday at Bucks County’s third annual Pandemic Flu Drill.

As people arrived in a steady stream at Lower Makefield’s William Penn Middle School, one of five inoculation sites across the county, they filled out a brief form to check their eligibility for a shot.

Within minutes, one of several volunteer nurses or doctors called them to sit down in the gymnasium. Seconds later, it was all over and they were walking out the door.

The rest of the story is here.

_________________________________________________

More kids getting flu shots

More children getting vaccinated against the flu

By MARIAN GAIL BROWN
Staff writer

Pediatricians can always count on being swamped in early fall with an office full of sneezing, sniffling patients in one corner and well youngsters and athletes needing the annual physical to play sports in another. What’s different now, however, is the increased volume of children arriving for flu vaccines.

“We’ve got a flu [vaccine] clinic going on right now and we’re totally booked solid. We’re seeing upwards of three to five patients every 15 minutes,” says Janet Tuominen, a receptionist at Trumbull Pediatrics. “Parents have been calling making appointments for the vaccine for a while now. We’ve got kids scheduled into November already.”

The rest of the story is here.

_________________________________________________

Plenty of chances to get free flu shots at local clinics

October 18, 2008

Need to get a flu shot? You’re in the right place. A variety of local and regional clinics are offering free flu shots, and a sizable list of local businesses are offering the shots for a fee.

Information on area flu-shot clinics through Oct. 31 is listed below, according to the American Lung Association’s Flu Clinic Locator. For more information, visit www.flucliniclocator.org.

The rest of the story is here.

_________________________________________________

many more successful examples are available.

What are we waiting for?

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.”

 

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ReadyMoms Alliance

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 19, 2008

“We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history.” ~Sonia Johnson

 

ReadyMoms Alliance is made up of parents who have set out to change the course of history. This devoted group of individuals have put countless hours into presenting information that is freely given to all so that they may be prepared for a pandemic and also to help others to prepare.

More information about the groups can be found on their pages at the

Fluwiki Forum/ReadyMoms.

The ReadyMoms Toolkit contains awareness posters, tabletop signs, handouts and links to in-depth guidance and there is more coming soon.

 

Never underestimate all that a sincere group of individuals can accomplish, and ReadyMoms Alliance IS accomplishing a lot.

 

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StudentsPrepAmerica.org

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 2, 2008

I remember the passion that I had for causes when I was young. I suppose not much has changed over the years. When you know something is important you sink your teeth into it and you don’t let go.

Students Prep America.org was started by a handful of determined young adults from Columbia University and the movement is spreading!

This is from their “How can I help?” page.

We’re trying to spread the message of Community Awareness and Preparation for a potential flu pandemic, and you can help. The most important thing you can do is become more informed. The more you know, the more you can appropriately prepare your own family and your community at large. Below you will find a wide range of informative links, including official government documents, home preparation guides and many other related articles.

Among their many resources they sponsor a Facebook group. So for all of you young adults out there who want to make a difference in the lives of those they know and love and even far beyond, check it out. Click the image above for more information.

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Local Flu Shot Clinics

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 14, 2008

Seasonal Flu Shots Save Lives!

If you have been exposed to the flu prior to getting the vaccine or for two weeks after receiving the vaccine, you may still come down with the flu. The flu shot contains killed viruses and it will not give you the flu.

Excerpts from the CDC page – Influenza Key Facts:

People who should get vaccinated each year are: Read the rest of this entry »

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Stand firm during a pandemic – how

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 11, 2008

Standing firm during a pandemic will require a concerted effort to remember what is right and good and *work* at it even when our fears and hardship drives us to do the opposite.

When we are afraid of the disease that others may carry, someone coming to our door looking for assistance may be threatening to our families and we may want to *react* to that threat. We must remember that those with their hand out are simply those who have reached the end of their resources before we have, we may have our hand outstretched next. How will we want others to respond to us should dictate how we respond to others. Read the rest of this entry »

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If we had known in advance

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 10, 2008

Today is September 10 what if we had known then?

If we had known in advance and could prepare September 11 would be just another day. We would not be grieving for the lives lost, we would not have the images burned into our souls. So much would have changed in our world if we had known in advance.

So tomorrow, when we recall the events and grieve once again for the day that will live in infamy, look to the future and learn from the past.

We will be able to look back and say that many lives were saved because of our efforts.

September 11 – Never Forget!

Thank you to all who served and saved lives.

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Extending The Culture of Life

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 9, 2008

The Culture of Life

Pope John Paul II stated in 1993 that “The culture of life means respect for nature and protection of God’s work of creation. In a special way, it means respect for human life from the first moment of conception until its natural end.”

In a debate with Al Gore in 2000 during a U.S. Presidential debate our President stated Surely this nation can come together to promote the value of life. Surely we can fight off these laws that will encourage doctors or allow doctors to take the lives of our seniors. Sure, we can work together to create a culture of life so some of these youngsters who feel like they can take a neighbor’s life with a gun will understand that that’s not the way America is meant to be.

If our best approach when facing a pandemic is to prepare how are we NOT promoting the culture of life by not shouting from the rooftops “PREPARE”? Read the rest of this entry »

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GetPandemicReady.org – Spread the word

Posted by preparedcitizens on August 31, 2008

Talk about "grassroots"

Talk about grassroots - It doesn't get any more grassroots than this!

This is the t-shirt!
If anyone is so inclined to wear one in public go for it!
  • Print this getpandemicready.org image onto card stock.
  • Cut out with an exacto knife.
  • Spray paint or stencil onto a t-shirt or elsewhere.
An easy way to spread the word to prepare AND offer solutions at the same time. So in honor of National Preparedness Month put your stamp somewhere today! Let people know!

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God bless those who labor for others…

Posted by preparedcitizens on August 29, 2008

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

When we are bound to Jesus the burden is truly light.

All for His glory,

“Jackie”

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Excuses, excuses…

Posted by preparedcitizens on August 25, 2008

“My dog ate my homework” didn’t work when we were in school and an empty pantry when a pandemic begins will have much of the same effect. There will be consequences and the excuses we used won’t matter in the least. The truth that preparedness was not a priority will be the fact that we will have to deal with, to overcome, and there will be no one to blame but ourselves.

We struggle with preparedness. Money, or lack of it, is always an issue for us. Cutting back, cutting out what we really do not need to spend money one is an ongoing exercise. We recently eliminated our phone service in order to cut one more expense. We have a prepaid cell phone for emergency use only. I drag my feet on internet because of this blog and our home business. The point is, we all can do with a lot less when our priorities change. Read the rest of this entry »

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Do you want to have your ears tickled?

Posted by preparedcitizens on August 18, 2008

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-8

This passage is referring to preaching the Word of God even when doing so is unpopular, dangerous or seemingly futile. Preaching the Word of God today, to those who do not believe it or want to hear it, is all of the three things I named above. The truth is that we just don’t want to have someone reorder our life’s priorities or even attempt to do so. If we have chosen not to believe their “report” it is easy to discard what they have to say. Click the mouse, change the channel, shut it out. We tend set a course for smooth sailing. We don’t want our lives upset or our ‘worldview’ changed.  With dire warnings of dirty bombs, pandemic influenza, peak oil, rising crime, earthquakes, hurricanes, wars and rumors of war, beating at our ears and hearts the urge to bury our head in the sand or to listen to those tickling our ears is very great. It is easy to look at all these things as myths and false warnings….or even throw up our hands in futility. We think that we need less stress in our already stressful lives. We have been taught that stress is bad. Not all stress is bad and not all pressure weakens us. Read the rest of this entry »

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Koinonia

Posted by preparedcitizens on February 24, 2008

Koinonia, the word has always had special meaning to me.

It seems to be something that we are missing in society sometimes, or maybe it is just me who has withdrawn from “community”.

I am blessed to live in a small town in Massachusetts where there really is a strong sense of community. We have only lived in town for 17 years, so we are relative newcomers. Having moved around a lot in our lives we are not used to just jumping in and rolling up our sleeves. I have to say, for such a small town, when it was time, I was welcomed with opened arms. It felt good to apply myself, and give back a little. I set up a pool program, years ago. It was a perfect task for me, having been a competitive swimmer for years…I was in my element. My husband was involved in the leadership of a local Boy Scout troop while our kids were young. It feels good to help out. Read the rest of this entry »

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A faith based web resource encouraging disaster preparedness

Posted by preparedcitizens on February 16, 2008

Searching around the net today at all the resources for disaster and pandemic preparedness I happened upon this website.

http://www.christianemergencynetwork.org/

 From their web page:

AWARE – READY – THERE!

The Christian Emergency Network (CEN) rallies Christians in emergencies of all kinds. Our goal is for the network to be the first point of contact for any person facing a life-threatening situation who does not know Jesus Christ. CEN unites with thousands of Christian organizations, ministries, churches, media and millions of individuals to offer Hope to the hopeless.

The Lord says:
“I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call upon me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them. I will satisfy them with a long life and give them my salvation.”   Psalms 91:14-16

CEN ENCOURAGES CHRISTIANS TO FOLLOW A THREE-STEP READINESS AND RESPONSE PROCESS:

  1. “Be Aware” of our uncertain times from a Biblical worldview;
  2. Be Readyphysically, emotionally and spiritually; and
  3. “Be There” responding as courageous disciples who are praying, caring and sharing Christ  effectively.

             It’s as simple as 1-2-3.

There are many resources available including a “Together We Will Stand Worship CD”, a “Free Preparedness Checklist” plus much, much, more.

Kudos to the creators of the site. Great job!

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Getting your family to prepare is crucial…

Posted by preparedcitizens on February 10, 2008

We are living in intense times. We are being told by many experts that we need to prepare, not for one threat but it seems a constant barrage of threats are out there. An “all-hazards” preparation is crucial. There are also specific threats that loom large which require a bit more specialized or longer term preparations. So right now we say “Get Pandemic Ready”.

An influenza pandemic could truly start at any time. One week, one month, one year.

There really is no good reason to NOT prepare. Mention a reason and it sounds more like an excuse. But what does it mean…prepare? There are many layers to this and I have some wonderful places and people to share with you.

So prepare we must and prepare we will.

My family is older now and some are doing their own preparing. My son is a security guard and a volunteer firefighter. A daughter is getting ready for med school and a son in the air force reserves, one daughter works in a bank…they are on their own to prepare. And for the most part, they are. But it took some educating from mom so that they knew why they needed to. Read the rest of this entry »

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