Here are some possibilities of what you might look like after catching the swine flu . . .
Actually, I'm taking the whole swine flu outbreak pretty seriously. Earlier today I bought the remaining medical masks at a local medical equipment supplier. The man before me bought the only remaing full box of 40 masks. He said he was scheduled to take a 17 hour flight this week.
Now, before you go out scouring your neck of the woods looking for medical masks, I'll tell you what my husband, Safety Man, told me during our daily lunch time phone call today. Keep in mind that he has extensive training in blood bourne pathogens and biological hazards. (He was the go-to guy for answering questions about the dangers of Anthrax at our local university when that scare was on everyone's minds.) Basically, he said that the medical masks are more effective at keeping someone who is sick (and wearing a mask) from spreading the illness than they are for keeping healthy people (wearing a mask) well.
The fine print on the back of my box of masks says, "Intended Use: This product is intended for infection control practices in the healthcare industry. When worn properly, it will help minimize contamination caused by exhaled microorganisms and reduce the potential exposure of the wearer to blood and body fluids. Warning: This mask does not eliminate the risk of contracting disease or infection. Change immediately if contaminated with blood or body fluid. This mask is not a respirator."
Wearing a medical mask does NOT guarantee that you won't catch an air-borne illness.
So, just in case the swine flu does spread to my state, and we have to shelter at home, I thought it would be a good idea to round out our family's "year supply" of food. I bought:
150 pounds of flour (3, 50 lb. bags)
24 cans of cream of chicken soup
8 boxes of onion soup mix
enough powdered milk to make 5 gallons, reconstituted. (Which is pricey!)
If the swine flu continues to spread, I'll be asking my two children who wear contact lenses to stop wearing them until the threat of infection passes. Rubbing your eyes with germs on your fingers is perhaps the easiest way for infections to enter our body. I'll also be sending each of my kids to school with a full bottle of hand sanitizer. And I might even have them wear the masks. After all, what if someone coughed right in their face?
At the moment I'm hopeful that a pandemic isn't on the way. I'm not panicked, but should the worst happen I'm prepared.