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How to prepare for Plagues

Surviving the Next Plague

Throughout history, plagues and epidemics have been a constant threat. In the 14th century, the bubonic plague wiped out one-third of Europe's population. Less than 100 years ago, an epidemic was responsible for millions of deaths in China and India. Recently, Lucy Tompkins, MD, a researcher at Stanford University, warned that the only question was when, not if, there would be a new worldwide plague, or pandemic.

Given the high probability of a new plague, it's natural to wonder how to protect yourself and your loved ones.

1. Create Your Own Early Warning System
There may be signs that a pandemic is developing well before any public announcement. Look for news of quarantines and shipment of medical supplies. There may be academic conferences on disease risks and control that have important information. Drug companies may announce that they are gearing up production of medications. Public Health organizations, like the World Health Organization or Centers for Disease Control will have updates and information for health professionals that can indicate the level of concern among experts.

2. Reduce Your Risk for Exposure
If a new plague occurs, you can take steps to reduce your risk for disease by avoiding contact with sick people and disease-carrying animals. Most plagues are spread through the air, by touching an exposed person, or by touching a surface that has the virus on it.

It goes without saying that you should avoid contact with infected people. Bear in mind that areas where patients are treated should also be avoided. This can include hospitals, clinics and emergency shelters that are set up as the plague continues. Invest in some basic

During a plague, there will be plenty of information available on how to recognize symptoms. Remember, however, that fever, nausea, coughing and other symptoms are also present in many other conditions. If you care for an ill person or may come into close contact, a medical face mask ( and protective gloves will help prevent spread of most conditions.

3. Prepare for Isolation
Experts say that a pandemic could disrupt society for more than a year. During this time, it might be difficult to work or buy supplies. Many public services, such as waste disposal and clean water may not function. In time, the medical system could be overworked, vaccines and medicines could be in short supply, and law enforcement might be unable to maintain social order.

Many homes have a few emergency supplies, but surviving through a plague could require large stocks of food, batteries, fuel and other essentials. A small generator can keep your home lit and heated if public utilities fail. Plan ahead on what your family will need to last for several months without resupply. A home survival kit is a necessity (

Remember that schools may not function, so you may want to have home schooling kit, ( If you have prescriptions, try to stock up on your medicines.

Your basic list of supplies should include
• Non-perishable foods
• Bottled water and water purification tablets (
• A complete first aid kit, including antiseptics and antiviral cleansers
• Sewing supplies

Finally, remember that life during a plague may mean little or no access to the Internet. Reference books can be valuable information in these circumstances, and a battery-operated shortwave radio can keep you in touch with the world, especially with news of the plague’s spread.
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