Pandemic? On getting an idea of the possibility of a chance of…

Schools in NY, Texas and California have closed.  Not all of them, of course.  But here  and there worries about spreading the flu are arising.

Here’s a pamphlet which gives a lot of useful details.   You might well not want to go out tomorrow and start getting face  masks, but getting some sort of start might not be a bad idea.  One’s urged not to forget the furry ones, and think how much easier life would be if you had three months of cat food in your cupboard.  (I’m supposing you actually have one or more cats; if not, disregard or apply to your own fur kids’ species.)

I don’t think it mentions chocolate, alcohol or mystery stories, all of which keep really very well.  They might be a good place to start.  Just think what a three months’ supply of pinot noir would look like.  (Not recommended,  however, for the furry ones.) 



h/t to Obsidian Wings, which has some more useful links.

9 thoughts on “Pandemic? On getting an idea of the possibility of a chance of…

  1. i looked at this (, and it made me feel a touch better. it actually doesn’t sound as tho–at present–this flu is any worse than regular old flu. in other words, most people who get it will be just fine. i suppose one starts to wonder when hearing about 100 people dying in mexico. but then, something like 36,000 americans die annually of bog-standard seasonal flu. -on the other hand, WHO says that most people won’t have any immunity to H1N1, so that means that, tho most people who get it will be fine, many more people will get it than would get seasonal flu. hmm. i don’t think i’m going to start bottling my 60 gallons of water just yet…but a box of face masks might not be a bad purchase…

  2. Perhaps not that serious, but the EU health commissioner has taken a big swipe at airlines and the US and Mexico tourist industries. Don’t travel unless you have to!!

    And Hey! the UK has 12/14 cases (suspected at least) while our MUCH larger country has only 20. Unfair.

    I think Mexico, though, might be missed these days. We live what must be hundreds of miles from Mexico, but in Texas that is just about nothing. I wonder how much this will affect the Mexican workers who are very plentiful in Texas. I’m waiting for the Houston Chronicle to advise on whether one should ask one’s Mexican cleaner to wear a face-mask. Perhaps we’ll get the spanish sentence for “Have you seen any of your relatives recently?”

    I’m not entirely joking. Panic is known to create targets.

  3. we did notice, btw, that bbc’s tv news coverage last night was entirely centred around the US crisis. they’d mention now and again ‘oh, and also 80 mexican citizens have died’, but all they really talked about in depth is what’s happening in the US, and what the outbreak means for americans.

    i’m used to americans placing no value on the lives of mexicans, but it was weird coming from the bbc. (or the usbc, as we have now renamed it.)

  4. So today as I went to the pharmacy at a local ‘super’store to get the second round of ringworm meds for poor Terry, I overheard someone asking about the anti-viral meds that’re supposed to protect one. That’s all totally gone from the area, as are face masks and sterilizing lotions for one’s hands. Out of curiosity, I tried Amazon for face masks. All totally gone.

    The pharmacist said that all the anti-viral meds were being taken by the medical people, which sort of makes sense.

  5. but jj, clearly, given your location, you should be wearing a stars ‘n’ stripes bandanna around your face, rather than a surgical face mask, right?

    i don’t mean to be opportunistic about banging my food-ethics drum, but, i would like to point out that this outbreak is an excellent illustration of why cheap food isn’t a bargain. it’s almost certain this strain of flu festered and perfected itself in the cramped conditions of an industrial pig farm. the UN is sending teams out now to determine which one. it would please me greatly if this possible pandemic caused people to have a think about how the way they eat bears on the what sort of world they live in. (obviously it would please me more greatly if there were no possible pandemic at all. but barring that, a little rethink would be grand.)

  6. Hi elp – I think you’re right to draw attention to the food issues at the root of the ‘flu.

    On another note: i gather that face masks in fact have little effect – the virus spores are so small that they can pass though most of the masks. (Though it is useful to wear one if you have swine flu, as this can prevent larger droplets from being transmitted to others via sneezes and coughs)

    more here:,0,4722242.story

    One negative consequence of their use is that they allow moisture to gather near the mouth and nasal passages, which makes it a breeding ground for bacteria. So I wouldn’t worry if you can’t get hold of one, jj!

  7. Quite true, Stoat. But now, wiser, I know that particulate N95 respirators are genuine protection. They usually look a lot like face masks, if perhaps a little more imposing.

    If anyone reading this does have a compromised immune system (e.g. because of chemotherapy) and is worried about the flu or other infections, you might want to know that various such respirators are still available on, along with hand sterilizers.

  8. elp, what I long for is a respirator with a little armadillo icon on it. This does not seem to have struck any manufacturer as a big sell item, though.

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