How to Prepare for a Flu Pandemic by Tara Dodrill for The Survivalist Blog
Flu pandemics can affect a significant portion of the population before a government health agency even realizes the cases of a rapidly spreading illness are connected. Even a mild to moderate level pandemic can spiral out of control quickly during (or after) a SHTF event.
During normal times, a flu pandemic has the capability to kill tens of thousands of people over the course of a few short weeks or months. During a long-term disaster, the death toll could register in the millions in about the same amount of time.
The flu spreads quite easily from one person to the next, typically via being exposed to the cough or a sneeze of an infected person. A flu pandemic has the potential to spread around the planet in as little as six to nine months.
If a flu pandemic is part of the domino effect after a SHTF scenario, the spread may be slower because air travel might no longer be an option. But, the death toll as the flu pandemic spreads could likely be higher due to the lack of emergency medical care.
What Causes a Flu Pandemic?
Although a flu pandemic would spread in the same manner as a seasonal flu, more folks exposed to a sick person would in turn get sick themselves because only a rare few people would have an immunity built up against a pandemic strain.
This is why flu vaccines are created annually to make them hardy against new strains of the virus. By the time a viable vaccine could be created to deal with a flu pandemic, the death toll will already be devastating.
Each year, outbreaks of both influenza A and influenza B viruses occur. These outbreaks are caused by even small changes to the existing virus that allow them to be immune to either existing vaccines or a natural immunity built up over time due to previous bouts with the flu.
Only influenza A can cause a pandemic. When one or both of the surface proteins in influenza A experience a significant change, an entirely new virus (one that it is unlikely that anyone around the globe is immune to) is created, and conditions are ripe for either a flu epidemic or a flu pandemic.
What Is the Difference Between a Flu Epidemic and a Flu Pandemic?
An epidemic is an outbreak of a specific illness or disease that occurs at the same time and spreads to neighboring communities or regions. A pandemic can begin as an epidemic but the terminology changes not necessarily as the death toll rises, but as the outbreak spreads beyond a regional one to a statewide, nationwide, or global emergency health situation.
Flu Pandemic History and Dangers
During the last century, flu pandemics caused millions of not only tragic deaths, but significant economic upheaval and disruptions in society. Prepping for a flu pandemic must involve more than emergency medical materials stockpiling.