Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Do-it-yourself Bird Flu nursing tips
…A thoughtful Georgia doctor has made a study of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which pretty much whisked across the country in a month, leaving half a million people dead.
…Ten percent of those who got Spanish flu died. The Bird Flu takes down 50%.
…Gratton Woodson, MD, a primary care doc at the Druid Oaks Health Center in Decatur, Georgia, told HA if the H5N1 Bird Flu hits in human-to-human form, there will be no point in waiting for outside help…because there will be no “outside.”
…He bases his skeptical views on the government’s handling of Katrina. “One area of the country and they knew it was coming,” he notes in that “nuff said” kind of way.
…So, no government help.
…Now what? Hospitals? “We have one million hospital beds in this country,” he says. “The HHS’s Bird Flu plan says 10 million people would seek admission to the hospital in the 10 months to a year the Flu was spreading.”
…The ability of hospitals to deal with this is called “surge capacity.” HA remembers the feds found there was none when they were expecting a WMD attack.
…Sixty to 70% of health care workers may get it, anyway.
….Bum-up. This is starting to sound kinda bad.
….Woodson says our best hope is to care for people at home. Best hope, only hope, way it’s going to be if this thing mutates.
…In his book, The Bird Flu Preparedness Planner (see right), Woodson says households, families or even neighborhood block associations should be organized to deal with the sick at home.
…Dehydration is the big killer (40% of Bird Flu sufferers get diarrhea). He recommends laying in a large stock of water, salt, and sugar to make dehydrating fluids to spoon into the mouths of the sick.
…A quart of water mixed with a teaspoon of salt and 2-4 tablespoons of sugar for adults. A slightly different mixture works better for children.
…”Anyone who’s sick is going to be scared,” Woodson notes. For this and muscle aches, he recommends stocking up on Valium.
…A pneumonia shot might also be indicated. The normal flu shots many had do squat against the Birdie Bug. “Forget a Bird Flu vaccine,” Woodson adds.
…In his book he outlines other prescription drugs you might want to get for pain, nausea, and fever. A sort of bounceback after-infection is also common. For this, antibiotics should be on hand. Over-the-counter stuff like Tylenol, Benadryl and cough medicine might also be stockpiled.
….How about the so-called anti-virals, such as Tamiflu? “Every doctor I know has some,” Woodson says. Getting a prescription for yourself might be tricky. Same for hydrocodone, which Woodson recommends for wracked muscles.
…So who is taking care of whom? Two in five people will get sick, and half the people will show signs of having had a light case or fought it off. One in five will not get it at all. The latter two groups will take care of the others.
…Woodson says this may need to go beyond family. You may need to suck up to the neighbors now. “People nearby,” he says.
….“If Mom is taking care of Dad, and she gets it, she needs to know the neighbor will take care of her, Dad, the kids and feed the dog.”
…He hasn’t met HA’s neighbors.
…Oh, never mind. HA is just being a bird brain.