With recent news of the corona virus sweeping the globe, people are starting to worry. Modern media broadcasting services are a bit of a double edged sword. They bring the obvious benefit of tipping us off early before a disease makes its way here. But they can also make preparing for a potentially dangerous situation more difficult.
Generally speaking when it comes to diseases that look like they may become pandemics, a handful of news reports is all it takes to get people to clean out your local super markets with panic purchases.
When the first news report of a citizen in your region dying breaks, expect to see this happen locally. Average citizens who aren’t normally concerned with survival prepping will flock to the shelves. Often making extremely poor decisions when it comes to which supplies they actually pick.
Before long, you can find yourself in a situation where you don’t have access to supplies. What happens if you’re put under quarantine? How long can you last without resupplying? These are all questions you don’t want to be asking yourself when the time comes.
Luckily, you don’t have to. We’ve compiled some key things to keep in mind which will assist you in avoiding a bad situation. Keep reading to find out how to prepare for any pandemic, regardless of the root disease.
Our Tips For Surviving A Pandemic
Disease and pandemics are nothing particularly new. Viruses, bacteria and other nasties have been reaping havoc on our ancestors since long before we became anatomically modern humans. So why should we bother to prepare?
Back then, we didn’t have the benefit of prior warning. Yet we still survived! and that was before modern medicine! So why should we bother preparing?
This is a reasonable question to ask, but it’s somewhat ignorant of how unnatural modern life actually is.
Back then, we had a few things on our side that kept us alive as a species that we simply don’t have any more.
What Kept Us Alive In The Past?
We could catch our own food, for starters. We didn’t rely on farmers thousands of miles away and intricate transportation networks for our sustenance. Unless you’re an incredibly skilled hunter with constant access to prey, this likely won’t apply to you.
We also didn’t live in incredibly close proximity to thousands of other people. Cities are a relatively new thing, and they increase your exposure to all sorts of nasty things such as pollution and disease.
We seen evidence of this when the Europeans first sailed over to the American frontiers. The Europeans, who had built up a natural immunity to diseases such as smallpox, exposed the Native American tribesmen to these diseases. This had disastrous consequences for the natives. Death toll estimates stretch from the hundreds of thousands to just over a million.
The few people who our ancestors could expose to diseases were pretty much locked to surrounding geographic regions. We live in a global community now, anyone can hop on a flight for a few hours and unknowingly infect a whole continent.
To top it off, we also didn’t have to worry about “super diseases” too. Diseases that have evolved in the wake of modern medicine and become stronger as a result of it.
Biological warfare was also pretty much out of the question. Primitive versions of it existed, but you couldn’t engineer a virus to target specific genetic traits.
Using a trebuchet to chuck dead cattle into a city during a siege, however? That was certainly something we did.
We’ve kept this at the top of the article because it is absolutely critical. The key to prepping is in the name, it’s being prepared. Don’t, under any circumstance, wait for the rush. You need to remember that most people do not concern themselves with staying well supplied until something big happens.
All it takes is one news report for your local supermarket to be cleared out overnight. These chain stores aren’t built or stocked for a 6000% increase in demand overnight.
It doesn’t even have to be a death either. News reports that indicate that supermarkets might run low on supplies, ironically, can cause supermarkets to run low on supplies.
Don’t be a sheep and wait for a news report, go out as soon as possible and work on garnering some supplies.
Let’s say you didn’t manage to garner supplies in time, what do you do now?
It’s not the end of the world. But even if it is, how would working yourself up into a frenzy help? The more you worry, the harder it is to think rationally. Which is exactly what you need to do when you’re pressed for time and resources.
Do you really want to get into a fistfight over the last loaf of bread that’s going to perish in 5 days? Wouldn’t it be more productive to take a step back, find another location and stock up on non-perishables?
Panicking is exactly what everyone else will be doing. Don’t fall into this trap.
Supplies – What Should I Get?
Respiratory Supplies – Pick The Right Face Mask
You know those ‘surgical’ masks you’ve been seeing people wearing a lot in the news? They’re useless. Filtering out a broad category of pathogens isn’t what they’re designed for. They’re designed for surgeons (hence the name). More specifically they prevent saliva and snot from being spread from a surgeons face to a patient with an open wound.
To put it into context, these masks only really stop saliva. Some of the masks we will be looking at can stop particles that are about 0.3 microns in size.
Bare in mind that 1/1000th of a millimeter = 1 micron.
Generally speaking, masks that are capable of preventing disease are slightly more expensive. They either come with filters – or they’re designed to be thrown away once particle build up makes breathing too difficult.
They’re not massively expensive though. If you’re looking for a mask that’s going to give you a fighting chance against airborne pathogens, you have quite a few choices. What mask you opt for realistically just depends on your budget.
Please Remember: Face masks are designed to be sealed shut. If your facial hair is getting in the way of this seal you aren’t guaranteed protection. If you need to use a face mask, please ensure your facial hair is either totally shaven, or kept clear of areas where the mask connects to the skin.
Option 1 – P95 Face Mask
These face masks are pretty much the minimum requirement made by the CDC for those who’re working near infected areas. Their name is derived from how effective they are. They’re designed to stop 95% of particles that are 0.3 microns in size or over.
This is generally enough to consider yourself relatively safe. The only downside is that the recommended use-time for a single mask is about 8 hours. After that you should consider throwing the mask away and replacing it.
Because of this, it’s more common to purchase a multipack when you’re shopping around for them. Some options I’ve found online are:
10 Pack Of New, Disposable, KN95 Breathing Masks
This 10 pack of KN95s looks like it should do the job. Depending on how long you’re preparing for, this might be enough. This is ideal if you’re looking for disposables.
It’s double layered – so it has a thick filtered material on the outside. But the inside layer has more of a nice, breathable and skin-friendly kind of feel to it.
If you’re interested in the science of how exactly it protects you, there’s a couple of features that help out.
It has an activated carbon layer that’s designed to absorb particles and catch them in the filter. This is pretty much standard. But it also utilizes two layers of electrostatic cotton for the filtration process too. Both of these work in conjunction to ensure you’re kept safe until the mask is done.
N95 Foldable Cotton Mask With 6 Replaceable Filters
If you’re looking for a mask with a valve and replaceable filters, this may be more to your preference. In terms of functioning as an N95 mask it does just what it says in the tin. It comes shipped with 6 replaceable filters, although you can opt to buy way more.
Sometimes, it can be cheaper to buy a single mask and just stock up on filters. It depends on what position the market is in.
It’s important to keep in mind the basic principle of supply and demand ALWAYS apply. When fears of disease and illness are spread by the mainstream media, you’ll see the prices for these masks crime as demand increases.
Option 2 – P100 Particulate Respirators
In terms of start-up costs, acquiring one of these respirators is slightly pricier than the alternative. You’re normally looking at the region of about $30 dollars for a mask, but this can of course vary depending on the specific mask you go for.
P100 masks look a little bit goofier. Like something you’d see at a “cybergoth” rave. But despite their cult status, they are actually incredibly effective respirators.
Their name ALSO stems from how effective they are. They have the highest possible rating for personal respirators. They are manufactured with the express purpose of stopping 99.9% of particles that are 0.3% microns in size or bigger.
Because they’re designed for optimal protection, the variance in price can be pretty big. Your standard, run of the mill respirator that exclusively covers your mouth can be fairly moderately priced. P100 rated filters also exist for full face masks, though. If you’re a really paranoid person, combining a full face mask with a P100 filter is as close as you can get to total invulnerability. Provided your clothing is appropriate too.
Here’s a couple of examples:
Elipse P100 Half Face Mask Respirator
The Elipse half face mask respirator is a pretty solid, budget friendly choice. Ideal if you’ve decided you want to upgrade to a p100 mask, but don’t have the funds for a full face mask.
This mask is lightweight and durable. Weighing in at about 130 grams, it’s unlikely to cause you any sort of fatigue. You’ll notice the grid like pattern on either side in front of the filters. This is designed to maximize airflow and ensure you won’t encounter any kind of resistance to your breathing for a long time.
It’s hypo-allergenic too, so if you have issues with latex or silicone you shouldn’t have any problems wearing this respirator.
North Full Face Mask Respirator With P100 Filter
If you’re not concerned with how you look, this is pretty much the be-all and end-all of personal protection. If you buy a filter for this full face mask, it’s almost guaranteed to be P100 – and it isn’t hard to check either.
This mask will last you a very long time if you have enough filters. Full face masks bring with them a slurry of benefits. They’re adaptable – if you don’t need them for a pandemic, they can always be used to protect your lungs against harmful vapors.
This is why they’re commonly used within industries and can be quite hard to procure outwith industry use.
The additional protection of your eyes and face is ideal too. Any open area on your body can be weak to infection.
This particular respirator is pretty cheap as far as full facepieces go. Despite this it still has a few unique features that you may find pretty useful.
It has cup that’s placed around your mouth/nose to prevent your breath fogging up the inside of the mask. There’s also another cup around the chin area to ensure the mask stays properly secured to your face.
It’s compatible with any North p100 respiratory filter. So make sure you’re pick a couple up when you’re buying them.
Medical Supplies – Make Sure You’re Well Prepared
Medical supplies are another piece of equipment that should be at the forefront of your mind when you’re preparing for the worst.
We’re not just talking about medicine here, either. Having a backlog of paracetamol and other meds will be great if you fall ill and you want to keep your temperature down/fight off headches. But it’s also incredibly important that you have basic first aid supplies.
Imagine a scenario in which you do not have access to a hospital. What do you do if you cut yourself? Or burn yourself? Or encounter any one of the multitude of injuries you could potentially encounter in day to day life?
What To Put In Your Kit
Being well prepared for this could be the difference between life and death, so here’s what to look for.
You’re going to need a few key resources, you can either buy them seperately or pick a first aid kit that has all of them already.
This may seem childish, but bandaids are incredibly practical. Ensuring a wound stays clean and protected can prevent against infection. This will be especially handy if you think there’s a reasonable chance you’ll be exposed to bacteria – if you’re spending all your time locked indoors, this is basically inevitable. You don’t need a lot, as any significant injury will bandaged. But anywhere between 20-30 should be far more than enough to last you a month.
These are one of the most important things in any first aiders inventory. These are sterile pads, designed to be applied to a wound to prevent infection, promote healing and help stop the bleeding. You really don’t want to be in a situation where you don’t have these handy. Although it’s possible to improvise and dress a wound with clothing fabric – it will leave you at risk of infection.
These are the bread and butter of any first aid kit. They’re designed to be wrapped firmly around a wound that has already been dressed. This keeps the dressing secure and further protects the injury.
They can also be restrict mobility for certain areas of the body and secure splints in place. If you break a bone, these can help you on the road to recovery. Just remember your painkillers.
Painkillers & Anti-inflamatories
These aren’t often included in first aid kits, so if you buy one, you may need to source these externally. You don’t need anything fancy, paracetamol and ibuprofen are generally more than enough to get the job done.
If you’re severely injured, stronger painkillers with opiates such as codeine can help, but these are often hard to source without a prescription in some regions. If you have any at hand from an old prescription, toss them in your first aid kit and forget about them. They could make a world of difference when you actually need them.
Aspiring can be a great painkiller BUT it thins your blood, so if you sustain an injury with aspirin in your system, you’ll bleed more.
Anti-Septic Cleaning Pads
These can be alcohol based, or manufactured from some other antiseptic solution. Regardless of what they’re made of, they’re important. They will help clean bacteria and other nasties from a wound to prevent infection. The quicker you use them after an injury, the more effective they are.
Other Miscellaneous Additions
You’ll also need to look out for scissors to cut your bandages and other medical fabrics. Tweezers and tools of that nature can be useful for remove debris from wounds. Burn treatment is also incredibly important too. This can be in the form of burn creams, but it can also be in the form of cool packs (which can also be used to treat swelling).
Some Pre-Made Kits You Can Find Online
There’s a handful of premade kits that feature all of the necessary equipment for a first aid kit. Here’s a couple of examples:
First Aid Only FAO-442 All Purpose First Aiders Kit
I may have featured this kit on our website before, and for good reason. It’s absolutely packed to the brim with every thing you could possibly need from a first aid kit. featuring literally everything we listed above in our prep list, including painkillers. It also has some key new additions such as sting relief wipes, finger splints, antiobiotic ointments and even a rescue blanket.
It more than delivers in terms of quantity too, with many of the key additions to the kit being supplied in quantities of 10-20 items. What’s the point in buying a kit with 2 bandages and a plaster? Scoop this up as soon possible if you’re looking to keep yourself protected
Hospital Grade Medical Supplies
This is a 291-piece kit that’s absolutely packed to the brim with hospital grade medical supplies. It has everything you could ever need and more. It’s perfect for treating all types of trauma, burns, cuts and breaks.
This FDA approved medical kit has been manufactured in an ANSI and OSHA approved environment that has been manufacturing sterile equipment for decades.
Manufactured from a durable and lightweight fabric, this kit is bright red to allow you to quickly identify it from its surroundings.
Food & Water Supplies
This is probably going to be one of the first things people run out of. The mechanisms in place which are responsible for the distribution of food and water throughout our country are incredibly fragile. If people are too ill to oversee the process, then the food stops appearing on shelves.
For water, you’re going to want to buy a few gallons of it at the least. This shouldn’t be particularly difficult if you start early. If you’re worried you may find yourself in a position where you can’t procure water, you might need to look at rainwater filters.
Please note, collecting rainwater is actually illegal in some states, for some reason. Although we’d imagine common sense would dictate that staying alive is actually more important than following obscure statuatory laws, so do with this advice what you will.
The biggest difficulty when it comes to water is storing it. Water that’s kept in a static place and exposed to open air will begin to stagnate. This means that bacteria begins to build up in it and it quickly becomes too toxic to actually drink.
Ensure you keep your water in a reliable container that can be sealed tight. If you’ve purchased the water already in a sealed container, do not open it. You want to limit its exposure to open air as much as possible. Continue making use of your regular water supplies and keep your emergency water seperate.
DoBrass Water Filter
This is a water bottle that ships with an integrated filter.
This is a great backup to have if you’re planning on filtering rain, river, or other types of free flowing water. Even if you’re planning on stocking up on water, having this as a back up can be a life saver if you run out or something happens to your water supply.
This specific water bottle has been built to be particularly sturdy to ensure you don’t get any leaks. It has a small hole near the lid that’s covered with a dust cap, it allows for air flow when sucking water from the bottle.
If you’ve ever used a water bottle with an integrated straw before you’ll know how annoying they can be – this design implementation fixes this issue. It’s made of Tritan, specifically BPA free tritan. The filter is a carbon based filter, it should be rinsed under water for about 60 seconds before you begin using it normally. After that you can use this device to your hearts content.
Opt for non-perishables. Avoid foods that expire or go out of date quickly. Foods that last a while but expire after exposure to open air are also a no-go. (cheese is an example of this.).
Some good examples of non perishable foods are:
Canned Foods: as a general rule, you should opt for protein intensive canned foods. Protein is incredibly vital to keeping you healthy. Protein is also more satiating than carbohydrates or fat. This means that protein based food is much easier to ration than the alternatives. Some good examples of canned foods to look out for include:
- Meat (Poultry & Tuna are both ideal)
- Soups (Meat based stews are awesome, look out for these.)
- Fruit Cocktails
Of course, canned foods aren’t the be all and end all of non-perishable foods. There are other alternatives.
Dried Foods: These are pretty commonly distributed in MRE’s (ready to eat meals used by the military). Dried foods come in all shapes and sizes. You can get dried meats, dried vegetables and powdered food replacements.
MRE’s & Emergency Food Supplies
Remember the MRE’s we mentioned earlier? You can actually order them up online. Massive supplies of non-perishable meals can be bought. Some of the foods available in MRE’s are actually pretty surprising, too. It’s not all WW2-style steak and powdered mash. You can even get pepperoni pizzas. (we’re not kidding.)
Some even come with their own power-free, self heating mechanisms. Meaning you can heat them up to a nice hot temperature without having to go near an oven.
Here’s a few examples:
XMRE Meals 1300XT – 12 Pack
This 12 pack of XMRE meals feature some of the best MRE meals available to the general public. Each meal comes with a heater, which requires a small amount of water to operate. These flameless heaters work by creating an exo-thermic chemical reaction within a metal container. This heats the container up and allows the food to be cooked to an acceptable temperature.
Every individual meal provides between 1300 and 1500 calories. This is an outstanding amount of energy for someone who’s rationing their food to survive.
As far as MRE’s go, these are pretty luxurious too. Each individual XMRE (of which there are 12) comes with the following:
- The Main Dish
- Instant Coffee
- Fruity Flavoured Beverage
- Condiment Kit
- Moist Towelette
- Beverage Bag
And of course a flameless heater is avaiable for heating your food.
Wise Companies Emergency Food Rations
These rations have a staggering 25 year shelf life. For context, many MRE’s are only rated for a couple of years. This ration pack is a little bit more on the expensive side, but this is largely due to the sheer volume of food present. It has 104 servings of food. This should work out to about 24 individual meals. If you’re preparing for the worst, a bucket that’ll see you through the better portion of a month isn’t a particularly bad choice.
The only prohibiting factor is that many of the meals require that you add water. If you’re worried about water conservation, this may be a factor. But if you’ve got more than enough to go around or you’re using a filter, you should be good to go.
The meals present include meals that are good for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It even has dried fruit, various snacks, vegetables and powdered whey milk.
Some of the food present includes:
- Pasta Alfredo
- Creamy Pasta and Vegetable Rotini
- Savory Stroganoff
- Tomato Basil Soup
- Various Dried Fruits And Vegetables
- Brown Sugar Multi-Grain
- Apple Cinnamon Cereal
- Vanilla Pudding
This is a no-brainer for me. There’s definitely other ration packs out there, but the long shelf life of this is what I find appealing. You can tuck this away and forget about it for 20+ years and still eat it when the need arises.
Many of the other accessories we have already covered on our website may be of use to you. Have a look at our accessories section to see if anything peaks your interest.
There’s some additional tips to keeping yourself in good stead in the event of a pandemnic. They are as follows.
- Make sure you regularly wipe down surfaces with anti-septic solutions such as bleach.
- Wash your hands regularly
- Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing (either with tissues or your elbow, don’t sneeze into your hands)
- Steer well clear of anyone exhibiting flu or cold type symptoms. If your partner is ill, avoid all forms of close contact. Yes, even that kind of contact.
- If you still have access to fresh food, ensure it is thoroughly cooked.