How to Prepare for H1N1 Outbreak in Your Community and Home
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How to Prepare for H1N1 Outbreak in Your Community and Home

A list of essential items needed for an outbreak of influenza.

Signs and symptoms of infection. Influenza often has any or all of the following symptoms:

1. Begins abruptly

2. Symptoms may include fever, chills, body aches, loss of appetite, headache, and fatigue

3. Fever (> 100.4 F) usually lasts 2-3 days

4. Respiratory tract symptoms include cough with-out phlegm, sore throat, and congestion

Minimum: a week’s worth of groceries, hand sanitizer, a gallon of bleach, and surgical or N95 masks.


1. Store 1-3 months of non-perishable food and water for every family member, including pets. Prepare to stay at home for at least a month while waves of flu pass by.

2. N95 respirator or equivalent recommended by CDC - available at most pharmacies, but only provides partial protection. Should only be worn for 8 hours, then replaced.

3. Acquire antiviral influenza drugs Tamiflu or Relenza

4. Download and print “Influenza Pandemic Preparation and Response - A Citizen's Guide.”

Shopping list for Home Care for One Person

• Table salt: 1 lb.

• Table sugar: 10 lbs.

• Baking soda: 6 oz.

• Household bleach: 1 gal.

• Tums: 500 tablets

• Acetaminophen 500mg: 100 tablets

• Ibuprofen 200mg: 100 tablets

• Caffeinated tea, dry loose: 1 lb.

• Electronic thermometer

• Automatic blood pressure monitor

• Notebook for recording vital signs and fluid intake and output

• Kitchen measuring cup with 500 cc (equal to 2 cups) capacity

• Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) 25mg capsules: 60

Home Care for Influenza

H1N1 is currently susceptible to both oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza), but resistant to other anti-virals.

Caring for severely ill flu patients is something that everyone is capable of doing. The basic goals are to keep the patient clean, dry, warm and well hydrated. Use the chart below to guide your treatment.

The single most important treatment is to provide plenty of fluids. Dehydration must be prevented -- this can be fatal in a patient who would otherwise survive. Keeping the patient hydrated will save more lives than all other treatments combined.

Persons with H1N1 virus should be considered potentially contagious from 1 day before to approximately 3 days following illness onset.

Home Treatment

Symptom or Sign: Likely Assessment: Remedy

Low urine output: Dehydration: Push fluids

High pulse rate (>80 but especially > 90): Dehydration or fever: Push fluids

Shortness of breath: Pneumonia: Push fluids

Shaking chills and shivers: Viremia (virus in the blood) or pneumonia : Keep warm

Cyanosis (skin turns blue): Respiratory failure, death likely: Keep as comfortable as possible. Give hydrocodone/vicodin with promethazine for comfort, give diazepam/valium for anxiety.

Bleeding from mouth, coughing up blood, passing red blood per rectum. Severe bruising: A severe blood clotting abnormality has occurred due to the virus (DIC): Death is likely. Keep as comfortable as possible. Give hydrocodone/vicodin with promethazine for comfort, give diazepam/valium for anxiety

Vomiting: Virus affecting GI tract: Use promethazine for vomiting, push fluids

Diarrhea: Virus affecting GI tract: Push fluids, clear liquid diet

Severe stomach cramps: Virus affecting GI tract: Use hydrocodone/vicodin and promethazine for comfort

Headache: Ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen or hydrocodone/vicodin if very severe

Fever: Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, push fluids, keep warm or cool:

<101 OK as this may help kill virus.

>102 consider cool water baths

>104 will cause brain damage and must be brought down

Sore throat: Gargle with hot salt water; drink hot tea or hot water, ibuprofen and or acetaminophen.

Cough: Push fluids, drink hot tea to ease breathing, use hydrocodone/vicodin ½ tablet with or without ½ promethazine to suppress cough if needed. Note: wet coughs should not be suppressed.

Oral Rehydration Formula

• 4 cups of clean water

• 3 tablespoons of sugar or honey

• ¼ tsp table salt

Treatment recommendations

• If you detect or suspect that dehydration is developing, administer fluids by mouth. If the patient is too ill to drink, someone should sit with the patient giving him or her fluids drop by drop if needed. Work up to using a teaspoon if possible. Don’t stop until the patient has been able to keep down at least a quart of fluids.

• Eating is not really important because the patient will be breaking down their own muscle and fat for energy. The flu takes away appetite so the patient probably will not be hungry. If the patient is hungry and asks for food, this is great as it is a real sign of improvement.

Partial list of symptoms likely to outweigh risks of seeking professional medical care:

• Fever of more than 103F for 3 days without improvement

• Difficulty waking, disorientation or confusion

• Seizures

• Severe shortness of breath when at rest, or difficulty or pain in breathing

• Coughing up blood or foul-smelling sputum

• Persistent vomiting or severe diarrhea not improved by standard measures

• Blue discoloration of skin, lips or nail beds

• Bleeding from nose that cannot be stopped easily through pressure

• Bloody diarrhea

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