26 August 2009

Stockpiling for Flu Season

It seems the media lately keeps talking about the possibility of a flu pandemic this coming season. While no-one can predict the future and panic benefits no-one, a little preparedness certainly does not hurt. For a few years now the government has been urging people to be prepared for the possibility of a flu pandemic, and whether or not it happens this season really isn't the point. The point is this---every family should have an emergency preparedness stockpile regardless of whether or not we are expecting a pandemic. (If you live in southwestern Ohio, you will recall a certain windstorm last year convincing many people of the benefits of being prepared.)

One thing that is certain, in my household at least, is that the new school year brings with it flu, strep, colds, and lots of other fun things. But in my family, not just one child gets sick. No, it goes through all six, and some years, once a virus has finally passed through all six---one of them comes down with something else and we go through the entire cycle again!! Ever had several children ill with a high fever or digestive upset, yourself ill as well, and no Gatorade or canned soups/other bland foods anywhere in the house? Been there, done that. You don't want to, believe me.

I would urge everyone now to kind of take inventory of your stockpile and see what you have/what you need. Consider that if there were a rush on the stores, you might not be able to obtain the things you need even if your children aren't sick and you could actually go to the store. I looked at ours---we're fine if the kids want to eat lots of cereal, rice, and brownie mixes (actually, they would probably enjoy the latter). I even have several large cans of Gatorade mix, as well as a ton of Koolaid mixes and Kraft mac&cheese from this summer's Meijer promotion. However, children's Tyelenol and bottled water are another matter entirely!! Make a list of what you think you might need if you were required to survive for, say, 2 weeks (a month or even three would be better) without access to a grocery store. Check it against what you have, and start adding to the stockpile. This way you can start looking for the best prices now, long before you ever need it. Consider, also, that if a situation did arise, you would probably be inclined to want to share with those around you who have NOT prepared, and set aside a little extra above what you think your family might need.

If you are not sure where to start...pandemicflu.gov is a website that, by the way, has for a few years now been urging every family and business to be prepared. Their concern is more flu preparedness, but their list of supplies to have on hand would work well for any kind of emergency. If you need ideas on what to stock, visit their website check out their recommendations.

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