Whenever there’s an outbreak, fear and panic set in. A good example of how people panic is, in this specific instance, buying up all the masks. Masks everywhere are out of stock. Not only that, sellers are price gouging the masks because of supply and demand. You want a mask, you gotta pay out the bum for it.
I’ve gone to a variety of stores and have seen many of the common cold and flu items out of stock and no masks anywhere to be found. Luckily, I don’t need anything, as we’re prepared with plenty of everything.
Panic induced buying is common in any emergency or disaster scenario. This creates a strain in many areas. Not only are people not prepared but now there are no longer any supplies for the rest of the unprepared who couldn’t get their hands on the supplies quick enough.
Then hospitals and urgent care facilities are then overrun with sick people because everyone’s scared of catching the illness.
There could even be a hit to the economy. Such is the case that’s starting to happen as we speak. China is a huge part of the global economy and with over 50 million people on lockdown. Airlines around the world are canceling flights to China while other countries encourage people not to travel to China at all.
In addition to a global and tourism impact, there’s a local impact as well, specifically in China. Where even in cities 700 miles from Wuhan are taking precautions by staying indoors and away from crowds. Wuhan itself looks like an apocalyptic ghost town.
While the majority of cases are contained within China, that doesn’t mean it can’t spread. There have been many confirmed cases in Japan, France, United States and many more. So far, the cases outside of China have been contained. However, again, it doesn’t mean it can’t continue to spread outside of ground zero.
I’ve seen plenty of accounts of people trying to escape Wuhan, whether they know they’re infected or not. This is unnerving because there’s an incubation period of 14+ days and you can spread the illness during the incubation period. Which means you can spread the virus without even knowing you’re sick yet.
There have been many outbreaks that have happened in the past, specifically ones that the coronavirus was behind. Most recently, SARS killed about 800 out of 8,000 within a 6 month period. MERS had a death rate of around 45%. The flu (influenza) that perpetuates every year, has an annual death rate between 12,000-61,000.
Just because the flu hospitalizes and kills thousands each year, doesn’t make the coronavirus any less scary. So far the coronavirus has affected more than 37,000 worldwide and killed over 800 people (at the time of writing this article). It started in early December and has spread rapidly up till now (early February). Which makes it something we need to pay attention to.
After looking at all of the facts, how do we prepare for such an outbreak that could turn into a pandemic?
Let’s talk about some preventative measures we can take every single day, as well as looking into the future of a worldwide pandemic.
First, don’t panic
There’s really never a good time to panic. By being prepared, we won’t panic because we have the knowledge, skills and gear to get us through the situation. The best things we can do for ourselves is to take precautions, keep an eye on the news and be confident by staying prepared.
Second, take precautions
Take preventative measures everyday to ensure your health and wellness. Many of these precautions, such as washing your hands, should be taken everyday regardless, especially around cold and flu seasons.
- Stop touching your face
- Wash your hands constantly
- Avoid sick people and cover your own nose and mouth whenever someone coughs around you, or better yet, completely remove yourself from the area of the coughing/sneezing person
- If you’re sick, stay home as not to infect others
- Wear a mask, N100 is the best type to protect against coronavirus, it needs to makes a complete seal, otherwise it’s useless and don’t forget to dispose of the mask immediately when you’re done with it, wash hands after touching the mask
- Wear protective eyewear
- If you choose to wear gloves, be extra aware of what you touch, as you can easily spread the virus. Dispose of gloves as soon as you leave a store
- If you must touch buttons, do so with your elbows instead of your hands
- Wipe down any and all surfaces (home, vehicle, phone, shopping carts, etc.) with antibacterial wipes
- Use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands, but do make sure to wash your hands as soon as you can, and don’t forget not to touch your face
- Always cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
- Consider designating a room in your home to be setup as a ‘quarantine room‘
- Carry tissues with you and use the tissues to grab suspect items then immediately throw the tissue away
- Make sure to wash your children’s hands constantly
- Boost your immune system with daily vitamins, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and taking a vitamin supplement such as Emergen-C
It doesn’t matter if you look ‘silly’ while wearing a mask, goggles or anything else; you’re taking the proper precautions against illness and being proactive about your own health and wellness.
Third, prepare for a pandemic
It’s possible this could turn into a full blown pandemic. In that case, there are a few ways you should prepare for that scenario.
- Stock up on nonperishable food and water; at least 2 weeks worth, if not more.
- Be ready to stay indoors for a long period of time to avoid people and the potential for getting sick.
- Consider changing your home air filters to a HEPA filter, as well as getting a home air purifier.
- Stock up on medications, specifically any medications that you need for any medical conditions, but also for flu and cold symptoms and immune boosting.
- Keep a clean home and vehicle, consistently wipe down surfaces with antibacterial wipes, vacuum, dust, etc.
- Get the entertainment ready, board games, card games, books, DVD players that take batteries, etc.
- Start saving money now in case you choose not to go to work for your own health and safety.
- Consider investing in a full body suit.
Forth, stay informed
Keep a close eye on the news, but also be aware that the news is out for views and ratings and regularly use scare tactics to engage viewers. Take the facts and leave the fear mongering. Also consider getting a HAM radio in which you can listen and engage with others.
Regardless of whether the numbers are skewed or if this is bigger than they’re wanting to admit…