Sunday, July 19, 2009

Quarantine observations and other Swine Flu reflections.

It’s not really a quarantine because my wife and I do go out sometimes. But we’ve managed to put our daily activities on hold and we spend a lot of time indoors, several days going by without even opening the front door.
Waiting for the worst of the epidemic to reach it’s peak and see what happens. we’ve been staying home a lot lately.

1)Stress: This is maybe one of the most complicated things to deal with. Staying home for so long really irritates you. The constant bumping into one another, the kid wanting to go to school, see his friends, go outside, etc, and you telling him he can’t wears you out. You also want to go out, do things, see other people, change a bit.
We all have short fusses by now and any little thing is enough to start an argument or a fight.
We’ve recognized this for what it is and talked over it, trying to be more patient with each other, finding things to do.
Talking helps, listening to one another helps even more.
We’ve talked about how, in spite of the situation, this is better than being forced to go outside to work, 9 to 5, and having no choice in spite of having two small children to worry about.
2)General preps apply: All that gear we always talk about, this is just one situation out of thousands were it all ends up being very useful. The better prepared you are, the better you’ll deal with these things.
Most of all I’ve found that I didn’t have enough of common, everyday use supplies like clothes softener, cleaning supplies for the house, bathroom, dish washing soap, etc, things that are easy to obtain and cheap but I somehow forgot about.
Having enough of these supplies for months, we only go out a couple days a week to take care of things we have to or buy fresh food so as to keep a healthy diet and also restock our long term supplies.
3)The ability to quarantine: National emergency is declared, classes have been suspended and certain events were large amounts of people gather have been canceled, but there’s not been an official quarantine approved or enforced by the authorities.
For them a few thousand dead are acceptable to keep the already poor economy going.
When this happens, having the ability to bug in indispensable. Either working for yourself, having enough non pay days available or having enough saving to pull this through is invaluable.
Most people can’t do this, doesn’t mean you should try to get to the point where you can make the decision and stop working for a few months.
One small tip though. When the economy is shaky, this is much easier done. In some cases companies actually look forward to a proposition where they have to pay you maybe 60%-80% of your salary and you stay home for a couple months. If the recession is hitting hard and there’s no actual work for your company, you’d even be saving them money.
Working from home is also a viable option for many of us. Maybe you get on line each day and work, and just go to the office once a week (wearing a respirator) and doing what paperwork is required.
This is something both employees, company managers and owners should look into as a contingency plan for a hard hitting epidemic. You have to be creative and think outside the box here. Find ways to keep things working yet preserve people’s health.
Being self employed and having savings for rainy days such as these would be an alternative as well. Maybe you don’t stop working entirely but also work from home or work less, and pack your visits into one or two days a week only.
4) Entertainment: A good TV, videogames, CD and DVD collection, toys for the kids, books, homeschooling material and supplies.
Some of these things such as toys you can order on line for cheap and you don’t even have to leave the house.
Also gear for working out, don’t forget the heavy bag, helps when you just need to hit something.
5)Again, stress is worth mentioning yet another time. (crap, as I write this my wife is arguing with my son over nothing at all).
Imagine a fallout bunker, imagine staying underground all packed in a very confined space for 14 days minimum.
I’d keep guns locked and ammo FAR away after the first 48hs in those conditions. Heck I’d secure sharp objects and possible blunts weapons as well, you really can’t stand each other after so much time all looking at each other.



Anonymous said...

As for a self-imposed quarantine, remember that certain things from the outside will get through your quarantine.

Post office workers handle mail touched by thousands of people. They also take money from the public for many, many packages. Surely their hands become dirty like door handles in public places. And so the mail that arrives to your home is carrying lots of bugs, possibly H1N1 or something else you don't want.

Something to keep in mind.

Stay strong man. If it helps, post more here. I've been missing your posts lately and would love it if you wrote more. Even about non-SHTF issues, I just enjoy your point of view.

Say hi to your family from this reader in N America!

FerFAL said...

You’re right, not only mail but everything else. We spray most store bought items with disinfectant. Most things are touched by countless dirty hands before you take them home. I’ve seen a supermarket employee, clearly sick with a runny nose, sneezing all over the cans he was placing in a shelf. Yuch!


Bones said...

The only thing you can be sure is truly clean is something right out of an autoclave. It's very difficult to avoid contact with pathogens especially during an epidemic. Take reasonable precautions based on common sense but don't obsess about it because you'll just drive yourself nuts.

It's funny you mentioned needing soap and other common supplies. The obvious is what gets overlooked. It seems to me that the most likely SHTF scenario is an epidemic, yet here we are in the middle of one and there is no spare soap in our house either. Those items are high on my emergency supplies list, too. The irony is painful!

Anonymous said...

Do you consider your own backyard unsafe as far as flu goes? Courtyard? Do you open your windows? Or are you presuming their are too many air-borne virus particles?

Also, I've often wondered if there is a "safer" time of day to shop in centres with air conditioning. Would it be first thing when there are few people about or would there be a large amount or virus/bacteria circulating at that time when they start up the air-cons (do the bacteria/viruses "settle" in the air-con and get blown out in a rush when it starts up?).

Anonymous said...

How long do you wear each mask before disposing of it? I think you mentioned you and your wife wear these whenever you go out? Do you also shower and change clothes after going out?

Anonymous said...

There is a reason why guns are kept locked inside a submarine.

I hope the best for you and your family.

Thanks for all the great first hand advise.


Anonymous said...

Hey Ferf, greetings from the far east.

Took a trip to Japan and some morons brought their sick kids on the plane, coughing everywhere and all over everyone. So guess what? Those a-holes imported swine flu to Japan.

Fortunately our baby hasn't been too sick... 38º (102ish) fever for a couple of days. We gave him cool baths. The folks at the pharmacy (we got an $80 doctor bill and prescriptions for Tamilflu, something like acidophilus for his stomach and something to bring down the swelling in his throat/nasal passages - I don't have the names, sorry, and my Japanese is weak) and the children's hospital were completely freaked out.... panicked looks, you know?

Today is day 6 and our son (14 mos) is looking/feeling much better. He actually has gotten up to play each day, just has been cranky and a little hard to sleep. The fever is greatly abated and his appetite is coming back. My wife (pregnant) is just a little sick. I have been fine, maybe a single bout of diarrhea after exposure (I'm trying to remember, or maybe it was a diaper I changed on the baby). Hopefully the rest of my in-laws don't get sick.

The part that gets me is the selfish people that got on the plane from JFK to Narita with such sick children. Oh well, nothing changes, people are selfish. Fortunately, swiney hasn't been too bad for us, and we've quarantined ourselves (the Japanese quarantines are over capacity so they just strongly recommend you stay at home). I hope my in-laws (one near 40 and two near 70) don't get ill.

Good luck in lock-down.

Living/Eating-well in Japan!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like winter in the Northwoods.

McClarinJ said...

Do you play cards or board games to make time spent with each other more enjoyable? Do you exercise at home? It sounds like you need to work harder to make your self-imposed incarceration "easy time."

I have an Airsoft Glock 19 that I practice drawing, aiming, and firing indoors. (I lock up my real Glock 19 when I do this so I don't grab the wrong gun and shoot up the house.) It is a way of keeping up with the survival skills while waiting out the epidemic.

As for running out of household items, it is a great opportunity to explore how to make do with what you've got. For instance, if I'm out of dish detergent, I just dilute some laundry detergent and use that. Vinegar supposedly softens fabrics if added to the washer.

If you store whole beans, have you tried sprouting them? Same with whole wheat. Fresh vegetables from seeds and water!