I swear my head might explode with the USA’s Ebola response

October 16, 2014

I t seems that I was correct that my planning and preps for Ebola were significantly better than the Medical community in the USA!  That is really terrible news  that I’m better prepared than the entire US government and the health care system for Ebola. I still can’t believe the clip board guy was “supervising” the transfer of Nurse Vinson with no protective gear at all.  Unless things have changed a lot in the Army we never had a “supervisor” running around checking how we did MOPP4 without being dressed the same or it was an “umpire” during a training event. It sure as heck did not happen in in Gulf war one in Kuwait I’m told.   This guy touches  people and the handrail of stairs getting on the plane and appears that he took something from the guys wearing suits and the have their own suit oxygen supply(SCBA) gear.  So I find it hard to accept that he was a “safe” distance away.  Nothing we can do about the morons in charge, all you can do is get educated and top off your preps and “don’t be that guy” or take your procedures for granted.

I did find a lot of great buys and did even better than I expected.  Cash and Carry actually had vinyl gloves on sale 100 count box for $3.29. I picked up a 100 count box of the blue Nitrile gloves for $4.99 and a 100 pack of disposable aprons for $9.07. At Home Depot I got the full face shield for about $12.00 using my military discount and another 20 pack of N95 masks for about $18.00.  I know the prepping blogs I like recommend a N or P100 full face respirator but my budget just can’t stretch that far yet. I think I have time as we don’t have an International airport so we should get a bit of warning if Ebola gets to Idaho or goes exponential.

Stopped by the Local True Value store and I got the last 20 gallon metal trash can for $15.00. This metal can will become my burn barrel if needed and for a savings of over $20.00 I can drill my own holes in that little rascal.  I have been wanting to get something for a burn barrel setup for some time for my sanitation preps if the SHTF and I can’t depend on trash service.  With the Ebola thing, the burn barrel moved to a higher priority as it seems fire is the best way to deal with the contaminated waste.  While I was at True Value they had all of leftover seed packet in a big bin and they were 50-75% off. My stored seeds underperformed this year, I think because of age so I got selection of 20 different non-hybrid seeds for the garden.

I added a lot of the double sided poster tape and I finally found some chalk for my “blackboard” labels for reusable (I hope) canning jars and beer bottle labels. I had no idea that chalk had become a seasonal product and many stores do not stock it year round. I found the chalk at Joann’s Arts and crafts. I can see a lot of potential uses for those blackboard labels and chalk from inventories to labeling buckets and even shopping lists. Especially if paper is hard to come by if TSHTF.  Lists are a great thing as you can take your time making them and it is easy to check it off or erase everything and start again if it is needed.

I stopped by the local farm store and got some of the doggie treats that my cat loves. Yes my cat love the doggie treats and my dog actually prefers the small cat treats. I did name the place Casa de Chaos for a good reason. I got a 70 pound “tube” of sand for my burn barrel set up and the patio kitchen as an additional safety measure around any charcoal grills and stuff.  Added a few more packages of beer yeast and set aside $20.00 for the IV purchase for the sickroom/re-hydration.

I know it’s tough to shift or even try to add things to your shopping list when a disater or something blindsides you. If you are on the lower end of the economic food chain you tend to lurch from emergency to emergency and there is often nothing left for an “Emergency Fund”.  I can’t speak for others but for myself I handle these little disasters of stocking up the best I can given my availible resources.  I think it is a very bad idea going into debt to prepare. I know it is tempting as I now have a darn good credit rating and all kinds of people want to loan me money. I suck at credit cards as they are just to easy for me to rationalize spending for preps as I do need them. But no matter how much I save short term,  I will always lose out to compounding interest. Please don’t think I’m condeming those that use a credit card and pay it off monthly. Some people can do that, I ain’t one of them!

Harry:  Me and Diana the peke had a nice evening by the fire she got a nice brush out and I watch Galaxy Quest and had a few laughs.  It was a nice relaxing night.

Using Ebola as a motivation to make a sickroom and 1st aid prepping Updated

October 10, 2014

It may sound a little crazy but I’m treating Ebola and other illnesses as motivation to get my basic medical preps in order.  It is the same thing (though scarier) that I do when I see any sort of disaster in the news. I follow how the disaster unfolds and try to anticipate how I would react and check just how well I could adjust to that disaster with what I have on hand.  I have to say I was behind on my 1st aid and medical preps. I wasn’t terrible I have plenty bandages,  most OTC medicines and probably above average 1st aid training. But I sure was not focusing on pandemics as a potential disaster.

Some good news is if you are a prepper and have most of the basics on hand you are ahead of the game if there is a Quarantine order! You don’t have to worry about going to the store at the last minute to stock up. So I wasn’t to worried about my ability to hunker down and ride out this sort of “storm”.  Now most of us have family and friends that are little less pro-active and they will be needing the basics and quite possibly medical care, equipment as well as knowledge on how to deal with an illness.  Some recommend that you go into full lock down, no one in or out no matter what happens and that is an option though not one I could choose easily. I don’t think that is a realistic response at least for me.  Would I take in an Ebola victim that is family or part of the community I’m trying to build? Yes although depending on circumstances may change my basic response. It is sort of  dangerous and there are some risks involved but I think the risks can be managed or at least minimized.  If your plan is hunkering down and no one in or out that is fine it’s just not my plan.

I have to say I’m glad that I got my new camp tent as it can work as a short term quarantine for exposed but asymptomatic people. Now they would be kept outside the home but they could be fed good food, have good sanitation and stay warm at least till November with my camping stuff.  The RV is another option for isolation.  That’s the plan for isolation and containment to start with people exposed but not showing symptoms.  Now for the sick person. They must be isolated but they also need supportive care as early as possible. Please if you think you have a deadly contagious disease don’t go to the Emergency room or a primary care facility. Call an ambulance and let them know your concerns and recommend they take all safety precautions!  You put on a mask, gloves  and suit if you have it on hand.  Do not expose others to whatever you may have or are treating.

If at all possible stay home and start treating the symptoms no matter what the patient symptoms are! Chicken pox, Measles, Mumps all have a nasty 20-30% fatality rate in adults. Heck in Ada county two  older women died from this year’s flu. So being proactive in treatment in all diseases is your best option.  Think of those illnesses in the news as a test of your medical preps.

Now start thinking about building your protection in layers.

  1. The patient : Should wear a simple mask at all times as they will feel awful and can not be expected to follow procedures.  Give the patient plenty of facial tissues, sanitary wipes, liquids, healthy snack foods, entertainment and even a job of monitoring a short wave radio or communicating via a home wifi network.  TV and DVD’s whatever it takes to keep them engaged and mentally fighting the disease.
  2. The care giver: You must use layers of protection and have plan for staying safe. I like the idea of 3 layers of gloves mixing some of the cheaper gloves with some very strong gloves at skin level.  Latex gloves can cause allergies but are cheap. There are no rules that say you can’t use the expensive Nitrile gloves first, then a latex glove and then a super cheap food service type glove for 3 layers of protection.
  3. What you do for gloves you can do for the rest of your protection like goggles and masks. I have N95 masks and a lot of simple surgical/dust masks. Now the cheap masks I plan to use on the patient but I will add those on top of my N95 0r N 100 masks for a layer of protection.  The safety goggles I have do not have wrap around protection so I’m looking to add a full face shield next week.
  4. Protective clothing:  I have bought the Tyvek suits but most rain suits might be a better choice if a bit more expensive and sweaty to work in.  I would recommend you shower down while wearing the suit. Add a spray down with your bleach bottle then rinse again before removing any outer garments.  As you remove garments repeat those steps and you should be safe from any infectious liquids you picked up in the sickroom.  Yes it is slow and tedious but it will also keep you safe. Remeber: sanitize, clean, remove a layer and repeat!
  5. The Sickroom:  A bedroom with access to a bathroom and a door. If you are just treating an average cold the door should provide enough of a barrier/ isolation for minor colds.  A window for fresh air and circulation. Fresh air is good for patients as long as doesn’t create a draft that chills. If the disease is nasty cover with plastic sheetsing at the vents and door frame but leave the window open for fresh air. Now your plastic spray bottle of bleach becomes important. Always spray down the plastic when entering the room and exiting.  Nothing leaves the sickroom without a spray down of bleach!  Disposable plates, utensils, trash and trash buckets, your suit and any laundry or clean up items. Pack up all dispsosible items in a bucket and then burn them safely. Yes it is a lot of steps to take but your life and the life of your tribe depend on it!

I suspect many may think I’m over reacting and being anal-retentive about sick room procedures. But Ebola has a 50%-90% kill rate and some childhood illnesses are in 25%-33% fatality rates when caught as adult.  Look around your family and or tribe and figure out the math of who might live and die at 9 of 10 or 1 in 2 or 1 in 3 and not do your utmost to protect them and also yourself. If you are ready and prepared to do all these things you are ready for any illness that goes pandemic and have a great start for dealing with any “Biological weapons” that may happen via terrorists or WWIII.

UPDATE: I have seen the so called procedures for putting on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and none of the procedures include a bleach spray down as you enter or exit the “sickroom” or as you remove layers of protection. This looks to me as a critical oversight on someones part. http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/ppe-poster.pdf




A few Ebola Updates and ideas for your sickroom

October 1, 2014

It has been confirmed that the patient has Ebola in Dallas. Bad new is this guy was given Anti-biotics during an Emergency Room visit on the 24th and then on the 28th he was taken by Ambulance to the hospital and isolated. So this fellow was probably showing symptoms from the 22nd until the 28th. Conjecture on my part assuming he was sick for a day or two before going to the ER the first time. I can’t when say the guy was infectious as I understand that at least some symptoms must be present to spread the infection.  I will say, I don’t have a great deal of trust in the CDC or Government saying there is nothing to worry about and all you need to do is wash your hands to be safe. You can do more to take precautions to prevent getting the infection and dealing with it if someone get’s sick.

A few preventative measures I added this week:

  • Added gloves, simple face masks, wet wipes, safety goggles and hand sanitizer to my car jockey box.  You can get all of these items at your local dollar store for about $5.00. These items will help you stay clean and if someone develops symptoms you can limit your exposure right away!  Watch cops and safety personnel for masks, gloves or goggles during your drive. If you see the first responders putting on those items get your stuff on and get home ASAP.  You might feel a little silly but don’t take any chances. Remember Entro-virus D-68 is in 40 states and is very hard on children so you are protecting yourself from things besides Ebola.
  • A few more items for the sickroom that I got at stores here in the valley. At the dollar store I got a 100 glove package, sort of like food service gloves. You can use these gloves for additional layer of protection over the close fitting gloves. Three more colorful plastic table cloths for easy sanitizing, three more spray bottles for cleaning or sanitizing the sickroom and equipment. One gallon of bleach because it is great for water purification as well as sanitizing surfaces. Shower caps from the dollar store 8 for a dollar to protect your head/hair from fluids. Heavy duty plastic utensils for eating that can be thrown away after use.  Stopped by Lowe’s and got a 20 pack of N95 masks for $20.00 and a five gallon blue bucket and lid $4.00 to hold bleach water and cleaning cloths. I chose blue as my Bleach water bucket because both begin with letter B so it is easy to remember what is in the bucket.  My spray bottle for bleach sanitizing has a blue top. Nursing a sick person is tiring so keeping things simple will help you avoid making mistakes when tired.
  • Your Entry way or porch: Keep some wet wipes and a mask handy if things get bad and you need to meet people at the door. You can wipe off the door knob and put the mask on quickly if needed for protection. You can use these wipes on phones or small clean up jobs.
  • The Amazon order: I ordered another box (6 pack) of the Tyvek protective suits. Already those suits are getting low or Amazon is out of stock. They still had the suits at Lowe’s but they are more expensive (double the price) compared to Amazon. I got the respirator with bag for rescue breathing without having to unmask to help the patient ($14.97) and I added a few essential oils that seem to help with colds.
  • I know spending  a $100.00 when you did not plan for it in your budget is tough but most of these things you can start buying at the local dollar store and get more later once the initial panic buying slows down. I don’t think these suits and masks will stay out of stock very long and should not even come close to the panic buying of guns and ammo we saw the last couple of years. You may have more luck checking the local big box stores outside of the DFW/Texas area rather than going on-line to shop.

On to caring for the patient. I saw a story on CNN.com about gal named Fatu  in her final year of nursing school that had four relatives come down with Ebola and she nursed three of the four back to health. She had no hospital and only some medicines that were dropped off occasionally outside the home. Even the local doctor consulted only by phone.  Now the story didn’t cover much but did say she would dress in 5 layers of garbage bags, gloves and masks. I think what she did after she treated each person she would remove a layer before taking care of the next person and do that for each family member and the first layer on and last layer off was for her protection. I wish the story covered how she cleaned/sanitized each layer or what she did to dispose of all those bags.  At this time it seems that burning the contaminated waste is the best answer be it by the authorities or you use a burn barrel or pit if you are on your own.

All any person can do to treat Ebola is to support the patient with fluids and treat the symptoms as they appear. So aspirin or acetaminophen for fever/aches and pains. Lots of fluids and Vitamin C seems to help so stock up on Tang! I have added some Jello snack cups as well as saltine crackers, Lemon/Lime Shasta soda with vitamin C and ginger root for nausea. I have read that a big part of the problem with Ebola is the bodies immune system sort of goes into hyper active mode and can be destructive, so Benedryl may help calm the immune system somewhat and will help the patient sleep.  So I added a couple  bottles of generic benedryl from the dollar store.

Now Ebola is a very extreme event in West Africa but remember there is very little in the way of education,  sanitation or clean food and drinking water. So the average US Citizen is already has a big survival advantage compared to your average West African. Also do not get complacent, after seeing the filth of  the “Occupy Wall Street” tent villages Americans can be just as filthy and unhealthy as anyone if they don’t have the support of a good sanitation system.  Last but not least if you get your sickroom all set up and you have stocked up on your basics for 60-90 days you are very well prepared for most diseases, storms and even a bank run. So if this is gets people motivated to prepare, some good may come out of disaster.

Possible Ebola victim in Dallas TX.

September 29, 2014

This is not to cause panic but to give you a heads up that Ebola may already entered the States.

“Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas has admitted a patient into strict isolation to be evaluated for potential Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) based on the patient’s symptoms and recent travel history. The hospital is following all Centers for Disease Control and Texas Department of Heath recommendations to ensure the safety of patients, hospital staff, volunteers, physicians and visitors. The CDC anticipates preliminary results tomorrow.” http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2014/09/29/north-texas-hospital-evaluating-patient-for-potential-ebola-exposure/

You need to start practicing your sanitation “rituals” and make them habits. Things like wiping down grocery cart handles and the seat that hold young children is one item to do if you don’t already wipe them down. Most of the larger stores in my area provide a handy wipe for their grocery carts.  Have some of the handi-wipes, tissues, masks and some disposable gloves in the car should be added to the  glove box.  Start using arms and elbows to open any push doors and at every chance wash your hands with soap and water.  Stay clear of those air driers as there are a few studies that state they may blow liquids around rather than just drying hands, use paper towels.  Start watching yourself and your family and how many times they touch their face. This is something I have a really hard time controlling. Now is the time to learn not to touch your face with your hands or at least use a tissue.

I had already planned on getting more of the Tyrex suits from Amazon as well as adding the bagged respirator. Getting N95 or even N100 masks locally is not a problem at Home improvement or the local farm stores.  Simple masks, safety glasses/goggles and disposable gloves can be bought at your local dollar store. I don’t have a problem using the Latex gloves but I prefer the vinyl gloves. Some people prefer Nitrile gloves that can be more expensive but even Wal-mart’s website has those gloves for $9.24 per 100. If you are allergic to latex get a different glove as you don’t want a skin rash that gives any virus an entry way through the skin.  I’m always finding a new use for these gloves around the house especially in the kitchen handling hot peppers!  These gloves work great in the car if you need to pump gas or check the fluids and want your hands to stay clean.

Cleanup and disposal of sickroom items. Bleach has shown to be a  virus killer as well as a great sanitizer. To make a disinfectant solution with bleach, mix 1/4 cup of bleach in a gallon of water. Pour some of the mixture into a spray bottle or use directly from a bucket with a clean sponge/white cotton towel. I like using several Bar Towels tossed in a bucket with this mix. Adding more bleach than this ratio will not make it work better so don’t add more bleach to the water!  Let the area air dry naturally or leave the are damp for a couple of minutes and wipe dry.  Bleach will lose effectiveness over time so figure about 24-48 hours in an open bucket and around 7 days for a spray bottle full. Wash any cloth from the sickroom in a bleach solution and hot water. Big advantage for white cotton as it does not discolor when bleached. Now acid based  like vinegar also clean but they do not sanitize as well as bleach. I use an Acid base cleaner for beer making that works great but I’m not sure if I would count on it for Ebola!  Buckets with lids and a lot of garbage bags on hand for anything that touches the patient and needs to be disposed of such as paper plates, cups, utensils and anything that may have been touched by body fluid via a cough, sneeze, blood, urine or sweat. Bag it in a bucket and have a lid for the bucket before it is disposed of properly. Same for any cloth that needs washing that is dropped in your bleach water bucket.  Buckets and garbage bags are cheap your life is not so if you don’t have extra buckets get some and remember these do not have to “food grade”. If you don’t have to use the buckets in the sick room they will still be handy to have and they don’t take a lot of room when stacked.

Now for some good news:  Ebola is a tropical disease and it may not be as virulent in a temperate climate. So called “room temperature” in Equatorial Africa is quite a bit higher than most northern areas of the USA, Europe and Asia.  Municipal Sanitation standards tend to be much higher outside of  Equatorial Africa. With basic sanitation and support of a patient I think  the fatality rate would drop to about 30% rather than the 50% we are seeing in Africa. A one in three fatality rate is still darn nasty to contemplate and deal with but it’s not TEOWAKI.

I don’t blame the average person in Africa as they tend to be ignorant but not necessarily stupid and the local PTBs would much rather line their pockets, rather than build basic sanitation projects or even educate the people. Some of these people are literally throwing away bars of soap because they have been taught to be  suspicious of the west, with their history I can’t say that I blame them.  Then again, soap does not take a hi-tech society to make.  I think there is also a bit of blame that needs to be acknowledge at a local level as well.  Honestly after watching “Occupy Wall Street” I can see how stupid the average American is about sanitation. I am quite fearful if basic sanitation breaks down in the states, I figure we would also see many “filth diseases”.

You have time to prepare for the 2- 21 day incubation period as well as have a sickroom in place and stock up on the basics that someone living on $2.00 a day could never get in place.  I want you to consider how you would survive if your home was Quarantined for about 3 months to make sure the patient,  home care giver and everyone in the home could not leave for any reason and either would die or emerge alive with no help from the outside?  I personally would have a very difficult time being stuck for 3 months in a house with small children.  Hopefully the Quarantine would be for just my home and city lot so I could get wood to stay warm. Remember in that situation keeping the healthy people safe is paramount, not taking care of sick people!

Prepare Accordingly, remember at the end of July the CDC said “There is nothing to worry about this Ebola Outbreak”.  If you are prepared for something as nasty as Ebola you are prepared for almost every other communicble disease and have most of the items in place for any bio-weapon. Most bio-weapons are at best area denial weapons and work very poorly in cold or very hot weather. If You have plastic sheeting for windows and can make a containment area and clean room you should be somewhat safe.