Tag Archives: cold & flu

2015 Flu Epidemic

With the 2014/2015 flu officially declared an epidemic by the CDC, and a vaccine that has proven only 50% effective due to the quick mutation rate of this particular bug, it makes good sense to revisit the best ways to prep for potential illness.

2015 Flu Epidemic
2014/2015 Flu Activity

1) Don’t get sick in the first place

Work to keep yourself health every day–get enough sleep, eat right, and get regular exercise. Then, before flu season hits:

Flu Prevention
© flu.gov

2) Prepare in case you do get sick

Most flu symptoms last from 1 to 2 weeks, with an average 5 to 7 days of contagion starting from one day before symptoms start. That means you’ll want to lay in supplies for at least two weeks (longer if you have a family, or tend to stay sick longer). Before you get sick you’ll want to stock up on:

  • Sick-friendly foods–clear broths, teas, and other liquids, garlic, ginger; crackers, toast or rice; frozen juice bars (to soothe sore throats); orange juice, or better yet, oranges
  • Over-the-counter flu medications–talk to your doctor or pharmacist
  • Any daily medications that you might run out of
  • Every day essentials–toilet paper, toothpaste, tampons, that sort of thing
  • Pet food and other supplies (fido and fluffy need to eat, too)

3) If you do get sick

  • Do not go to work–the presentation can wait–not only can staying home in bed help you heal faster, it also helps prevent further spread of illness
  • See the doctor right away–anti-viral medications can significantly shorten the severity and duration of the flu, but in some cases, only if you catch it within two days of your first symptoms
  • Rest, eat, drink lots of fluids, then rest some more

As for me, I’ll be picking up more chicken broth, crackers, and TP on my next day off.

The Meaning of Apocalypse

Today at lunch, a friend asked me to define apocalypse. We had been talking about this blog, about an upcoming End of Days-themed art exhibit, and why all sci-fi seems (to him) to be apocalyptic.

To him, apocalypse means the end of everything–the total destruction of the world and everything in it, à la Revelations. For me, sure, it could mean that, but I prefer to take a broader view. In my world, and the world of this blog, I define apocalypse as a catastrophic event. That event could be:

  • Global–a meteor hitting the earth, climate change
  • Regional–the Irish potato famine, the black plague
  • Local–tornado, earthquake, wildfire
  • Personal–losing a loved one, losing your job or your home, learning you have cancer

When my neighbor Ann was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had already metastasized to her bones, she became suddenly interested in apocalypse fiction, perhaps looking for models for how to survive, perhaps looking for ways to handle the worst, perhaps looking for ways to put her illness into perspective. When she asked me for recommendations, I gave her my short list. When she asked me why I love apocalypse fiction so much, my answer was even shorter: hope.

Hope is the foundation of most apocalypse fiction, and perhaps all prepping and survivalism. The belief that there is a chance, and that maybe, with a little work and luck, we can improve that chance. That even if the world does devolve into Mad Max, that somewhere out there lies Tomorrow-morrow Land, where the children will be safe. Somewhere out there lies a place where the sick will be healed.

Perhaps that is what drives us to stock up on staples at the onset of autumn, knowing that cold and flu season isn’t far behind. For my part, I hauled out to Costco on Thursday for discount tinned fish, a 12 pound bag of short grain brown rice, and two 48 count boxes of extra strength Mucinex. Protein, carbs, and medicine–the best bang for my buck. All I need now is a case of chicken broth since Ann isn’t here to bring that to me anymore. The loss of soup when sick isn’t a catastrophe, the loss of Ann, that’s another story.