Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pandemics – Prepare for a Quarantine

By Carolyn Nicolaysen

What is pandemic flu, and how does it differ from seasonal flu? According to the Center for Disease Control:

“Pandemic flu is virulent human flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness. Because there is little natural immunity, the disease can spread easily from person to person.”

Pandemics are more serious than epidemics, because pandemic flu does not have an available vaccine, and it can spread dangerously fast. Agencies involved in pandemic planning recommend every family have an emergency store of food on hand, because affected areas will have to endure quarantine to contain the spread of disease.

Health agencies disagree on the size of the ideal home store, ranging from recommendations of a ten day to three month supply, with most now recommending a three month supply. As an emergency approaches, retail store shelves will be rapidly stripped of all supplies. As we have seen, when storm warnings are issued it takes only minutes for shelves to empty and may be days before new supplies arrive. The same will happen once the first signs of a pandemic flu appear.

Since even the seasonal flu can take weeks to go through a family, a three month supply should be the goal. You may remember in my last article When the World Catches the Flu, I cited examples of communities who self quarantined voluntarily. The most successful quarantines lasted a minimum of two months. You may also be called upon to help family members and friends, and you will want to be prepared.

If you live in the country on a few acres, your home is the ideal place to self quarantine during a pandemic – and perhaps with nearby family and extended family. This will allow the children to play outside occasionally without exposure to others who may be carrying the flu. A rural setting would also allow contaminated garbage to be kept far from the house. If you have this rural advantage, you are the likely refuge for your family, and will need to store more food and water to be ready.

Don't forget the needs of pets. Store food, water and medications for them as you would any other member of the family.

Stock up on:

Prescription drugs
to insure a continuous supply in your home. You may ask your doctor if he has samples or can help you to lawfully prepare.
First aid supplies.
Nonprescription drugs including pain and fever relievers, stomach remedies, anti diarrhea medications, and cough and cold medicines and preventive medications.
Remember, never give young children aspirin. Purchase medications specifically designed for children.
Fluids with electrolytes.
Anti bacterial wipes for cleaning up after attending to a patient.
Hand sanitizers should also be included in your first aid supplies. These should be used every time you are with someone who is ill or after you shake hands with anyone.
Make sure you also have at least one thermometer on hand and alcohol to clean it.
Medical gloves are essential. Purchase a variety of sizes for the needs of all family members. Remember, some gloves are latex - so if you think you may have a latex allergy use care in selecting gloves.
N95 particulate face masks. These will help prevent the transfer of germs as you are in public or caring for a loved one. There are many types of medical masks. The surgical variety will provide added protection from fluids. These are especially valuable when you are caring for someone who is sweating, sneezing or vomiting. For the best protection these need to fit firmly against the face. If you are using masks for children place the mask on the face and then a bandana. This will help to hold the mask firmly on their face. It can be like dress up! Make sure you remove the bandana and place it directly into the washer. Then discard the mask, preferably outside, and wash your child's hands, face and exposed skin thoroughly with a hand sanitizer. I have heard people advise that masks do not need to be stored because they cannot be fitted tightly enough to the face. So long as hospitals, police and fire departments and schools are stocking up with supplies of masks for all their staff and students, I am stocking face masks, too. When they no longer consider it important, I will stop. Until then, I believe it is important.
Paper plates, cup, bowls, and utensils will cut down on the possibility that germs will be passed as meals are cleared. They will also save precious time for those who are the care givers and a must have should the power fail.
Paper towels
, become essential items for keeping your home germ free.
Stock up on TP and facial tissues with anti bacterial properties…you will use more than you think during a time of illness. Each family will need a different amount of these items. Don't guess what your need will be. For at least one month keep track of how may rolls of toilet paper and how many boxes of tissues you use. I suggest you place the wrapper from the TP roll in a drawer and at the end of the month count how many you have used. You can multiply this number by three to understand how much you need to store. Add an additional 25%-50% more to prepare for a pandemic as family members will all be home all day long, and some family members are likely to be ill.
Large plastic trash bags for soiled clothing,towels, and trash.
Liquid soaps: laundry and dish soaps will be much more useful if there is an interruption in your utility service.
Bleach for laundry and cleaning, and other disinfectant cleaning supplies should also be stored.
Remember the foods we discussed in Preparing for a Flu Pandemic with Food Storage.
Alternative to electricity.
For light: Flashlights, glow sticks, and/or lanterns, and batteries.
For heat: Firewood, non-electric heaters (propane or kerosene – follow manufacturer instructions for safety), and heavy blankets and/or sleeping bags.
For Cooking: Portable propane cook stove, barbecue grill and fuel, can opener.
For Laundry: large tub for washing laundry, rope for a clothes line and clothes pins.
For Communications: Battery/solar/crank radio and/or TV to keep up on the news and health warnings.
Water: Bleach and other items needed for purification.
Sanitation needs:
Port-a-potty with chemicals and liner, kitty litter or sand to help absorb waste and a plan to bury your waste away from your home. You will also need to be prepared to bury or otherwise dispose of every day's trash in case services are suspended temporarily.
Entertainment: Just think about three months at home with no place to go. Talk about cabin fever! Consider purchasing DVDs that you know your children or spouse would like to have. Keep them put away until they are needed or until the next major gift giving occasion. Then replace the old with new titles. You can also establish a stash of age appropriate books, magazines, puzzles and games. Reading a few classic books as a family would also be a great way to pass the time. Stock up on craft supplies and even a new hobby to start with the kids. Cooking can be lots of fun together so make sure your three month supply includes ingredients to make some fun snacks and meals. A sense of humor is key to survival, so be sure to choose entertainment that is funny and/or uplifting.
Cash: Should the power fail ATM machines and credit cards will not work. Have a stash of small denomination bills on hand for emergencies when you are forced to leave your home.
Gas up: As soon as you hear the flu has come to your region, fill all your cars with gas. Not only will supplies be hard to come by, but if the power fails, so do the pumps.
Develop a list of health care providers in your area including clinics and hospitals. Include friends in health care, who you can call at home to get advice or direction.
A bell or whistle for your patient to sound when they are in need of help. A whistle can be heard much easier than the human voice.
Whether you are trying to prevent disease or prevent it from spreading, you will want to take precautions in every aspect of your family routine. Now is the time to start by teaching and practicing good habits.

Teach your family the proper way to wash their hands. You do not need to use hand sanitizers on a daily basis. In fact, this can prove dangerous as sanitizers kill all germs, good and bad. Hands should be washed with plenty of water, soap and scrubbing. Practice rubbing all the surfaces of the hands, including the fingernails and between fingers, under running water every time you wash. Since this needs to take some time children can learn to be patient and sing either Happy Birthday or the ABC Song while scrubbing. This will help them to recognize the length of time necessary to do a thorough washing.

Avoid shaking hands with someone who is ill, begin the habit now. If this is impossible, thoroughly wash your hands as soon as possible or use a hand sanitizer.

Teach family members to always cough or sneeze into a tissue. If this is impossible teach them to cover their face with their arm, not their hands. Simple bend your arm and place your elbow over your mouth. This reduces the likelihood that you will pass germs along to others as you shake hands or touch objects they may also be handling.

Remind your family to stay away from those who are ill. Please don't send an ill child to school, to after music lessons, or even to church when they are ill. We could avoid so much heartache if everyone would make it a practice to stay home when they are ill.

Have each family member clear their own dirty dishes after each meal. During a period of illness you will use paper plates and have them place their dishes in an outside garbage can. Get a large plastic garbage can that you can set outside the door in the event of emergencies like pandemic. Dispose of any wet or contaminated garbage in that can. This will help keep germs outside, instead of inside your home.

Decide now which room in your home will be used to care for those who are ill. A room with its own bathroom is the best. You will want to keep a patient as far away from healthy family members as possible. Be sure to have several sets of sheets for the bed or beds in that room.

Design a plan to care for extended family and friends if they should become ill and have no one to care for them. In some cases it will be better to have them move in with you at the beginning of the pandemic and hopefully avoid becoming ill as they self quarantine with your family.

Prepare now to work from home
if at all possible. You should discuss this with your employer and develop a plan now. If you are a first responder, be sure your employer is prepared for the employees to maintain a self quarantine at your work place.

Check with your child's school
to determine if they have a plan for a pandemic. Will they continue to teach using the Internet or a cable TV station?

There is a limit to what government or the health care community can do in advance of a pandemic outbreak. The U.S. Federal Government, the World Health Organization, and others are monitoring the avian flu, as well as other pandemic threats closely. The United States has active national as well as international programs for manufacturing, pre-positioning, and stockpiling antiviral drugs, masks, and other supplies. A lesson we have learned from the response to hurricanes Katrina and Ike, the floods in the Midwest , and the destruction caused by tornadoes, we need to be prepared to care for all of our own needs.

In the United States, Secretary Leavitt of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) has stated that "any community [or individual ] that fails to prepare—with the expectation that the federal government can come to the rescue—will be tragically wrong" (April 10, 2006).

The final article in this series detailing tips for caring for those who are ill, will appear in Meridian Magazine on December 10th. Carolyn is also discussing pandemic preparedness every Friday on her blog,
With the economy faltering and an uncertain economic future, more emergency preparedness advice can be found on Carolyn's blog:

I have more information about pandemic flu if you are interested..... Stay safe everyone.

Friday, April 24, 2009

More tips from Dollar Stretcher

Water for Your Garden

Water bills can get high when you have a garden. By using a rain barrel, you can collect the water from your roof. Not only are you giving your plants water without chlorine or fluoride, but also it's water at the ambient temperature, so it won't shock your plants the way cold water from the hose can. Also, since your sewer bill is measured by the amount of water that you use, it should reduce that as well.

Many water quality groups offer special discounts and incentives for rain barrels. Look for watershed groups in your area, or contact your local library for more information. You can also make your own rain barrel, using a food-grade barrel. You can pick these up from feed stores, or even used from food processing plants. They can range in price from free to 10 or 15 dollars. Depending on how sophisticated you want to get, you can make one that simply catches water that you must scoop out or one that has a spigot and overflow valve. Use the water for plants, washing the dog, the car and gardening tools, etc. In any case, you can feel good about the money you save, because you are also keeping the rain water from becoming urban run off, a growing concern. You are also returning the water slowly to the ground, where it can recharge the aquifer. Marina

editor's note: Some communities have restrictions on rain barrels. So please check and make sure you meet all local ordinances. Also, make sure that no child or pet could fall in and drown. Note from Lucy:My dad had a water barrel and he watered his gardens for years with rain water... He was an organic gardener he preferred rain water...I guess I need to look for a rain barrel.

Afternoon Coffee

Sometimes we don't drink more than one cup of coffee in the morning. To keep the coffee from sitting and growing stronger during the day, I take a clean Thermos and pour the leftover coffee in and put the lid back on. I can have a fresh cup of coffee in the afternoon without having to start another pot. We have had hot coffee even in the late evenings. This, of course, depends on how good your Thermos is. Wanda M. Note from Lucy:I'm not a coffee drinker but this sounds like it would work...

Natural Make-Up Sponges

If you use natural sponges to apply make-up, check for sponges at art or craft supply stores, such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby. These are the same natural sponges you get at the cosmetics counter or drug store, but they're cheaper. You could buy a bag of small sponges for usually under $5 at a craft store, where you'd pay about that much for one sponge at the drug store.

Also, instead of cotton squares for removing eye make-up, I use the soft microfiber cloths that come free with eyeglasses or sunglasses. I can use one for a few days and then toss it in the wash with the towels. These cloths are soft enough for the eye area and so far they are indestructible, as I've put them through the wash a few dozen times now. Annette

Bright Kids

I just read my first issue and enjoyed that it is short And sweet! I have piles of good magazines I haven't quite Had time to get to, but yours was just right -- a snack that I'll enjoy! --Wanda in AR

"Bright Kids" provides articles and tips for fun and easy learning activities, crafts, homework helps and general ideas for involving yourself in simple ways with your child's educational development.

To subscribe to this free twice-a-month email resource, simply send an email containing any message to:
or visit

Creative Energy Savings

When you are using your oven to cook, turn the oven off five minutes before your food is to be done as the oven will retain the cooking temperature long enough to finishing cooking your food. So, you get five minutes of free energy and save money too. I also put a kettle of water over the burner that vents the hot air from the oven while cooking. At the end of my cooking, I have a kettle of hot water for free to use for tea, etc. April B. in Kentucky

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

She stated her views.....and lost.

The first runner-up for Miss USA tells Fox News Channel that she may have lost her chance at the crown because of her answer to a question about same-sex "marriage." However, she says she had to stand on biblical truth. Check out this story. The gay judge that provided her with the question is bashing her left and right for her answer.... I'm proud of her for standing up for her beliefs....

Check out the video here.

Have a great week everyone.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


"No earthly authority can separate us from direct access to our Creator. There can never be a mechanical or electronic failure when we pray. There is no limit on the number of times or how long we can pray each day. There is no quota of how many needs we wish to pray for in each prayer. We do not need to go through secretaries or make an appointment to reach the throne of grace. He is reachable at any time and any place."

--James E. Faust, "The Lifeline of Prayer", Ensign, May 2002, 59

"God knows the feelings in every human heart. He can soften sorrow and lead when there seems to be no light. Prayer can give guidance and confidence. It reminds us that no one need be alone in this world. If all else fails, remember, God and one other person can be a family."

--Marvin J. Ashton, "While They Are Waiting", Ensign, May 1988, 62

Just a thought on prayer: To me, prayer is an open communication with our Heavenly Father... We talk to him, he listens... By praying, he knows how we feel, what we need, and our thoughts... If we want divine guidance, we need to talk to our Heavenly Father...and we need to listen back...

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Removing Kitchen Odors

From the Dollar Stretcher Website:

Yesterday, I was cooking some chicken breasts in water for later use in soup. I had to leave to pick up my daughter from school and forgot to turn off the burner. When we came back home, the house was full of smoke and the fire alarms were going off. Now my house smells like burnt chicken! I aired out the house right away and tried boiling vinegar on the stove. It's still pretty pungent in here. Do you have any suggestions that don't require cash? It was pretty warm out when this happened, but the temperature dropped over night and we are now having wind chills in the single digits. I just can't afford to heat the outdoors. Kathy

Clean Odors Trapped in Fabric

Odors don't get trapped in air; they get trapped in fabrics. Be sure to launder all curtains and any loose washable fabrics like pillow covers. Hang any moveable carpets outdoors for a day or so. Leave small dishes of white vinegar sitting around and that will help absorb the smoky smell. Some Febreze(r) sprayed on upholstery may help. Try renting a steamer and cleaning any wall-to-wall carpeting. The smell should be gone in a week. C

Fragrant Solution

Try boiling lemon slices with a handful of cloves for 15-20 minutes. Wipe down the counters with vinegar as vinegar helps to absorb odors. G

The Aroma of Coffee

Open a can of coffee and pour it in about four bowls. Set them around the room. The room will fill with the coffee odor instead. We even use this in old refrigerators that have been closed up and smell rotten. It works for us. Karen in Alamogordo, NM

Simmer. Don't Boil.

Simply heating white vinegar on the stove will remove the smell in your house. Do not boil the vinegar as this will not work. Suzie

Use Charcoal Briquettes to Remove Kitchen Odors

The very best technique I have found for removing odors is charcoal briquettes. A person who worked for a company that cleaned up after fires gave me the tip. Just set them around, but be cautious of children and pets, of course. Sharon

Leave Vinegar Sitting Out

The only suggestion I have is to put white vinegar in a bowl and leave it overnight (or during the day). The vinegar will absorb most of the odors. I realize the user boiled the vinegar on the stove, but I have never tried that myself.

After trying white vinegar, open all the windows in the house and turn on the house exhaust fan for about ten minutes. Always works for me! Dorina

Do you have any suggestions for getting rid of unwanted smells in you kitchen...

Just a suggestion from Lucy: It is a good thing to check you onion bowl when you smell a foul odor in you kitchen...Last Saturday TF asked me "What is that smell"....I had just come home from the grocery store and was putting away the groceries...I had bought some white onions and was reaching for the onion bowl, on top of the refrigerator, when I noticed the pungent smell. There in the onion bowl was an onion that had "gone bad"...I threw that sucker in the garbage and instantly walked it out to the trash can... I washed out the bowl and put my new onions in.....

Have a great week everyone.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Happy Easter Everyone

"Easter is the celebration of the free gift of immortality given to all men, restoring life and healing all wounds. Though all will die as part of the eternal plan of growth and development, nevertheless we can all find comfort in the Psalmist’s statement, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Ps. 30:5.)."

--Howard W. Hunter, "An Apostle’s Witness of the Resurrection", Ensign, May 1986, 15

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A few more ideas.

Quick Garlic Bread

Instead of heating the broiler or oven to make garlic bread, I drizzle olive oil on the slices, sprinkle them with garlic powder, and put them in the microwave at 50-percent power. The length of time in the microwave depends on how many slices I'm making. This takes only seconds, saving time and electricity. Evah W. in Kansas City MO

Tricky Due Dates

I have never been late to pay any of my bills. Two months ago, I noticed that three of my bills had the due date adjusted to come due a week earlier. One was my phone bill and the other was my electric bill. The third was a credit card payment. The credit card was actually two weeks earlier. Thank goodness I have taught myself to look at every bill the minute it comes in and write the due date on the front envelope.

This saved me a ton of grief. Imagine what my interest rate could have been if I had not been paying attention. I have since paid off the one that adjusted two weeks early and closed that account. I also spoke to a customer service representative from each one. Until 2010, credit card agencies are being permitted to do this without your consent or knowledge. This is happening to a lot of folks that I know, so be careful. Beth

Family Loves Hamburger Helper

My family loves Hamburger Helper, but I can't feed my family of six with one box. Last night, we decided to add two pounds of hamburger and two extra cups of noodles, and we doubled the water and milk. It was amazing! It tasted exactly the same and we all got to indulge! We even had leftovers! For the cost of one box, I can now feed my entire family something they love! Catherine from Missouri

editor's note: You can also save by creating your own seasoning mixes and replace Hamburger Helper(r) entirely! If you have a favorite seasoning combination, send it by and we'll share the best ones in future issues.

Affordable Countertops

My husband and I bought a foreclosure that needed a lot of love and a lot of improvements. We inherited white cabinets and white countertops, and in a family with three messy kids, that's less than ideal. Several of my neighbors have installed
granite countertops for about $4,000. Even new Formica countertops were going to be over $1,000. Neither was an option for us. I took the plunge and painted my countertops. I cleaned them with denatured alcohol, primed with an oil-based primer, spray painted with granite paint, and used four coats of polyurethane to seal them. The finished product looks awesome! I couldn't be more pleased and wish I had done it years ago! The cost of my project? Roughly $100! JAS

Little Luxuries
The Indulgent Glass

At a thrift store, I bought myself a crystal drinking glass. I think the cost was $3. No matter what I pour into this glass, I feel indulgent. Even when I have a rough day or am feeling blue, this glass represents what I want my life to be, which is calm, orderly, and relaxed. Even if I'm wearing a ratty bathrobe, I feel elegant with my goblet! CC

Editor's note: Many of us have given up a lot because of the economy. So we're looking for "Little Luxuries" that we can share with everyone. If you have an inexpensive way to make yourself feel good, please send it by email here . We'll share the best ones in future issues.
These items came from the Dollar Stretcher site, my favorite website.

Note from Lucy: Let me know what you "little luxuries" are..... My favorite little luxury is a bottle of chocolate milk...I know that sounds silly, but I like to buy those little bottles of Bordon's chocolate milk at the grocery store and drink in on the way home in the car...Anyone that is a close friend of mines, knows my favorite little luxury. I'm not sure if it is a weakness or a

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Assorted Items..........

Postal rates are going up again on 5/11/09, but this time, there IS something you can do about it. During the last hike, they started selling "Forever Stamps." These stamps will ALWAYS be First Class Postage, no matter when you bought them. So stock up before the rush to the post office, and remember, you can order them by mail. Ask your carrier for a form. For amounts of the hike, go to...

If you like to do Bible Study, or are leading one, this is a great site to keep bookmarked. It has one of the best and most comprehensive Bible family trees that I've seen. You are allowed to print out the charts for personal or small group use. Go to...
Scroll down to "Internal Links," and you'll find links you can click on for Old Testament genealogies, as well as one for Jesus. If making a copy, it works best with a color printer. If you don't have one, check out your local library or friend's computer. POST your Bible.

If you like to read more classical books, then check out this website... This is fun for those who just like to read, or if you want to save some money when you have to read one of these books for a don't have to buy it. Sort of like a poor man's Kindle. The works are either in public domain, or the website has gotten permission to post them. My favorite...H. G. Wells short story, "Country of the Blind." POST IT...on your computer, and with your bookstore information.

"While most of our suffering is self- inflicted, some is caused by or permitted by God. This sobering reality calls for deep submissiveness, especially when God does not remove the cup from us. In such circumstances, when reminded about the premortal shouting for joy as this life's plan was unfolded (Job 38:7), we can perhaps be pardoned if, in some moments, we wonder what all the shouting was about."
--Neal A. Maxwell, "Willing to Submit", Ensign, May 1985

If you want to read a “feel good” story, here it is. Every wonder how the friendly skies got it's name?

Have a great week everyone!