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 Post subject: Insurance Premiums You Can Eat
PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 4:15 pm 
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Preparing For a Severe Pandemic: Insurance Premiums You Can Eat
By Marilyn J. Bardsley , November 13, 2006

Source: ... d_flu.html

Very few people take time out of their day to imagine what life would be like if going to the grocery store could mean a death sentence, not only for you but for your whole family. During a pandemic this could easily be the case.
By the time a pandemic is confirmed, air travel may have already delivered the virus around the world. Because influenza is infectious before symptoms appear, there would be no way to positively identify people who may be infected. It's possible that a pandemic virus could start to show up in your area a couple of weeks after being identified in Hong Kong, Jakarta or Bombay.

Busy Heathrow Airport

When the killer virus does arrive, every aspect of your life will be seriously disrupted. Illness and death on an unprecedented global scale will take an enormous toll on goods and services that we are used to having at our fingertips. Stores, restaurants, schools, offices, day care centers, banks, and government services may close down for weeks at a time. Transportation and delivery of food, medicines, gasoline and other supplies will be interrupted, creating severe shortages. Electric and natural gas utilities and water supply may not be available for extended periods. Quarantines and travel restrictions may be imposed.

Then it is TOO LATE to prepare

1918 Flu Pandemic - Kansas
A pandemic may come in waves, each of which could last for six to eight weeks. The 1918-1919 pandemic came in three waves. There is no telling in advance what percentage of the population will be infected, how many of those infected will die, and how many waves the pandemic will have. The world's population has no immunity to the current H5N1 virus, the most likely candidate for the next pandemic. Consequently, it is very possible that 30%-40% of the population will become sick. Our entire health care system would be completely overwhelmed. Currently the H5N1 virus kills over 50% of the people it infects, even in places where the medical treatment of the victims has been excellent. With terrible frequency, the virus renders its survivors with severe, long-lasting side effects.

Medicines to treat pandemic flu are currently limited in supply, may not be very effective and may only be available to first responders. Despite lots of media "happy talk," about vaccines, it is unlikely that a vaccine will be available until many months after the pandemic begins.

You really do not want to expose yourself and your loved ones to this viral mass murderer. So, with these sobering pandemic realities in mind, how do you protect your family? The best protection, of course, is not to get sick

People wearing masks
For some of us, preparing for a pandemic is a great deal easier than for others, but most of us, if we make it a priority, can afford to gradually stock up on supplies, starting with a couple of weeks' worth, and eventually accumulating enough essentials for a month or two so that we can "shelter in place" until a wave of influenza has passed and it is safe to restock for the possibility of another wave.

You should consider stored non-perishable food, water and other necessities as premiums for insurance against hunger and deprivation in a disaster. Unlike most of the insurance premiums that you have been paying out in cash for decades, these are insurance premiums you can eat.
Stored Food

What you have to do is figure out what your family needs to survive while staying home for 2-3 months, assuming that electric, gas and water utilities may not function for much of that time, and begin to shop for and store those items. It's not something you can do in one trip to the supermarket, but something that permits you to take advantage of sales, clean out your closets so that you have more storage space available and be prepared for any disasterWhile you are deciding how much tuna fish or canned chicken your family would need, medicines that you take, and what the pets require in the way of food, flea and heartworm medication you should also talk to your parents, children, grandchildren, in-laws, your neighbors and everyone else that you want to be alive when the pandemic passes and make sure that they understand the threat and the optimal way to prepare. You might also consider helping a neighbor that may have difficulty getting out to the stores. You want to encourage your neighbors to take pandemic preparation seriously, because if they don't and they know that you do, they may show up hungry on your doorstep one day!

Many of us have insurance plans that don't permit us to get more than 1 month of prescription medicines at a time, but it is worth checking to see if your insurance plan has a 3-month mail order option. If a 3-month supply is not possible and the medicine is critical to your health, you may want to buy an extra month's supply. During a pandemic, the medicine may not even be available. You want to be sure that you have enough over-the-counter cold remedies, aspirin, first aid, anti-diarrhea medications, vitamins and other supplies of a pharmaceutical nature. It's also a good idea to invest in a couple large bottles of 60+% alcohol hand sanitizers and a box or two of disposable latex gloves.

Don't forget to get your vaccination for the annual flu and the pneumonia vaccine. Neither of these vaccines will protect you from pandemic flu, but they will protect you from concurrent infections. If you happen to be suffering from the annual flu or bacterial pneumonia when the pandemic hits, your chances of survival are low.

Those of us that are fortunate enough to fully prepare in advance for a pandemic have a moral obligation to do so. Once a pandemic is confirmed, stores will be emptied quickly by those who did not have the resources or common sense to prepare in advance. You don't want to risk exposing yourself and your family to a deadly virus by waiting for hours in line at the grocery or drug store, only to find out that the supplies are inadequate for the greater community's needs. Supplies on hand when a pandemic arrives should be for those people who are not able to prepare in advance, not for those who procrastinated.

Sheltering-in-place not only protects you and your family from devastating illness and death, it keeps you from consuming the extremely inadequate medical resources that will be available for the desperately ill and dying during a pandemic.


Recommended Reading:

The Humane Society's Dr. Michael Greger's "Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching." This online book is the very best of its kind and you can read it online FREE


Trust for America's Pandemic Flu and You:

U.S. Government Pandemic Planning for Individuals & Families

(Note: the US Government seems to be a bit confused at this date about how long one should prepare to shelter in place. Recently the State Department sent out advisories to consulates in Hong Kong and several other countries recommending that American citizens prepare to shelter in place for 3 months. Subsequently, the advisory has been removed from the Hong Kong & Macao site, probably because of a protest by the Chinese government.

Regardless, if pandemic waves last 6-8 weeks, the current recommendation to store supplies for 2 weeks makes little or no sense)

The Monster at Our Door: the Global Threat of Avian Flu by historian Mike Davis. Owl Books/Henry Holt & Co. 2006.

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry. Penguin Books. 2005.


Contact Marilyn J. Bardsley at

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