When you read about the Wuhan coronavirus, there is a lot of conflicting and alarming information being thrown about. It is hard to have a cohesive view of what to do in a positive sense. How do you sort out the things to do on a personal and family level to maximize your defense against this and other potentially pandemic infections? The following are some ideas:
First, pandemics and major health threatening events have happened in the past. Quarantine and isolation do work, and were effective in minimizing deaths even when the bubonic and pneumonic plagues decimated Western Europe.
Isolation is something that an individual or family can do. Many individuals can work at home. Instead of going out to the grocery store or restaurant have food delivered. Don’t use public transportation and reduce travel if possible. Stay away from crowds by timing what must be done when person to person contact can be minimized. If kids are involved, develop some type of ritual to help them practice sanitation. It does little good when a child goes to school but doesn’t do some simple things like washing their hands before and after eating or using the bathroom. When the kids first get home, have them go to the bathroom and wash their hands.
Quarantine is a legal process that depends on the government’s rapid recognition and response to a health crisis. If quarantines are imposed it will not be possible to move about freely so it is best to prepare in advance. Once inside a quarantine zone, you don’t get out until the quarantine is lifted. (In China, people have been shot trying to escape quarantine. If the situation is serious enough, force can and will be used to contain an outbreak of disease.)
Second, survivalists have been developing goods and services for emergency situations for many decades. If you go to a gun show, there are survivalist booths selling interesting tools, gadgets, long term foods, and even non-prescription “prescription value” medicines. There are various survival check lists online, and many have the items they suggest to enhance survival. Most people have a good percentage of the survivalist items listed at home, but not all. What these lists do is help you organize your thought processes.
There are online pharmacies that don’t require a prescription and will ship direct – but be careful as some might be scams. In the recent past, I have purchase from online pharmacies and found that the medicine order may be made in one country, distributed in another country, and finally shipped to me. (One such routing was Japan via India to me.)
Third, I worked in the biological warfare defense area for a while and learned a couple of important things to do. Bleach is your friend and probably the best and most inexpensive sanitizing agent. Ten parts of water to one part bleach sprayed on a surface will kill almost all bacteria and viruses.
Hand sanitizers and anti-biotic soaps used regularly do work. This requires discipline to do something we tend to forget in the press of daily life. (I just had that experience in pumping gas when I reflexively grabbed the pump handle. Right next to the pump was a free throw away glove.) Do use the sanitize cloth at the grocery to clean the cart. They are better than nothing as long as they are still moist.
Throw away face masks or full body suits are only good for short periods of time. In the case of masks, fit is critical and difficult to maintain in use. Masks are uncomfortable. Suits are difficult to put on, hot, claustrophobic and can tear. (Self-contained isolation suits with air conditioning cost thousands of dollars.)
Fourth, technology advances can help with isolation and sanitation protocols. Hand held water filtration systems, as well as water treatment pills, are inexpensive, and boiled water distillation is not needed. There are lots of alternative medicines to boost the immune system or even prevent a viral attack – at least that is what they claim. There is also the annually updated flu vaccine and the periodic pneumonia vaccine, both are readily available at minimal cost. There is increasing use of robots because they are capable, can work all day, can be sterilized, and are not prone to mistake or panic. UV sanitation robots as well as room sanitizers do exist.
Caution: The world health and disease control organizations have said there is no prevention of or cure for Wuhan’s coronavirus. In other words, don’t expect miracles any time soon.
Finally, the Wuhan coronavirus is a challenge to be met and, thankfully, there are a wide variety of personal ways to meet the challenge. If by chance you contract the Wuhan coronavirus, you will almost certainly survive although uncomfortably and in some form of isolation. The current quoted survival rate is over 95%, or to put it another way, there is a 1 in 20 chance of dying. Long term injurious and debilitative effects are unknown.
Note: These ideas are equally useful for the common cold or the flu.