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How to Survive a Pandemic (You Might Have To)

by Alex McGee

Infectious diseases like Ebola, West Nile virus and Zika make headlines every year. While none of these have reached pandemic levels of incidence, a global pandemic is still a risk that even casual survivalists should prepare for. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control have already identified a pathogen that has the greatest potential to cause a pandemic – a strain of bird flu in China, strain H7N9. While this strain cannot yet pass from human to human, a mutation to allow human transmission could prove a disaster for the entire world, wiping out millions.

The CDC also warns that the US is frighteningly unprepared for a pandemic. So what can a survivalist do to prepare for a viral pandemic? Here are a few tips.

Clean Water Is Everything – And “We All Live Downstream

Viruses are so small, we have no filtration system to completely remove them from our drinking water. If a pandemic – especially a bird flu like the CDC cites above – were to break out, conventional water treatment may not be enough to keep you safe. You should stockpile 2-4 weeks of clean water in plastic containers if possible, or at least chlorine in order to treat water during the breakout.

Remember the Season

The flu tends to thrive during the colder months, and taking precautions the same way you would against the regular flu could be effective. Be prepared to stay warm and hydrated, stock up on antiviral medications, and keep your body and nutrition in good shape. You may also want to consider getting the seasonal vaccinations. While it may not keep you safe from a mutated strain of the flu… it just might.

Don’t Be “That Guy…”

Yes, we all want to avoid getting sick. But have you considered what you should do if you did? You may be surprised to learn that in a typical outbreak, a small part of the population is responsible for infecting the majority of everyone else. These people are known as “superspreaders.” For example, during the Ebola outbreak, just 3 percent of sick people were responsible for about 61 percent of all infections. So if you believe you have been exposed to the illness, it’s important to voluntarily isolate yourself while you may be incubating the disease. Stay home from work, don’t leave home, and don’t touch anyone. Don’t be a “superspreader.” Don’t be “that guy…”

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