No matter what you may or may not have been told about the MMR vaccination and several others for common childhood diseases – they are extremely important and should not be ignored unless you are already immune to the disease in question.
At the very least, consider that millions of people that have served in our military have gotten these particular vaccinations and many others without harm. On the other hand, the diseases would have been deadly.
We now live in an era where we have millions of possibly sick illegal immigrants sneaking through the border every day with diseases that can be avoided with basic childhood immunizations. At the same time, it is impossible to know how many terror groups are working on developing various diseases into something that would require a massive quarantine. While vaccinations may not work in those situations, you can and should be prepared for a quarantine regardless of the origin of the pathogen.
Now is the Time to Get Your Vaccination and Immunity Records in Order
Regardless of your age and medical history, you may need to prove immunity to certain diseases. At some point, you may not be able to leave your home to go to work, or enter public places to shop if you cannot prove you have been vaccinated or are immune to specific diseases. I have heard people say many times “I don’t know where my childhood/military/etc vaccination records are”, or “I had these diseases, but can’t prove it”.
The best thing you can do right now is start trying to track down those records. If you were in the military, you should be able to get access to your vaccination records through the VA. Check with all your doctors to see if by chance your childhood records got transferred somewhere along the way.
If you have not been to a specific doctor in over 7 years, they may tell you that they no longer have your records. Always make these requests in writing, and make sure you keep a copy of these letters. They do not help prove immunity or vaccination record, but they do prove a horrible gap in the modern medical system when it comes to managing vaccinations during a crisis or an epidemic. Take these letters and forward them to political leaders and request the development of a centralized vaccination database. What’s one more database with sensitive information, given how much is already stored out there about you?
In situations where you cannot prove immunity to at least the main childhood diseases, you have two options:
- Contact your primary care doctor and request blood work to see if you are already immune to the disease. If you are, this blood work will form the basis for getting a letter from your doctor that explains you are immune and do not require vaccination. All you have to do from there is keep the letter (or card) with you at all times, and keep copies in a safe place.
- If you are not immune to these diseases, then this is the time to get the shots. As long as your overall health is good, you should be able to tolerate them. That being said, if you want to space them out, feel free to discuss that with your doctor.
Navigating Supermarkets and Other Germ Factories
When it comes right down to it, any public location can be a source of casually transmittable diseases. Aside from breathing contaminated air, you can also pick up pathogens by touching items that have germs on them. This includes your own clothing if it happens to brush into something contaminated. Here are some ways that you can reduce your risk as much as possible:
- Wear a breathing mask that is certified for blocking viruses and bacteria. Most disposable masks will filter about 50 – 75% of the air that passes through them. To increase their effectiveness, wear an additional cover over the mask so that it fits more tightly to your face. If you live in a state where it is illegal to cover your face, then get a letter of medical necessity from your doctor.
- Wear disposable vinyl or rubber gloves. When you bring items home, let them sit for at least five hours before handling them. This will ensure most bacteria and other pathogens are killed off. You can put perishable foods away as normal, since the cold will kill most disease bearing organisms off that may be on the wrappers.
- Never wear the same shoes you use outdoors in your home. Take shoes and boots off, and leave them just inside the door. If you must make multiple trips to get all your groceries in, place them inside the door. Once you are done, remove your shoes, go into your home, and continue disbursing your groceries.
- Spray down your coat and any other garments you were wearing with antibacterial spray. It will also help to completely change your clothes, take a shower, and wash your hair. While most diseases do not require this kind of decontamination, there are other germs that are deadly and may one day be released by terrorist groups. What sounds like too much cleaning now may save your life an a situation where deadly, easily transmittable pathogens are concerned.
Preparing Your Home for Quarantine
If you have been keeping up with basic preparations for bugging in, then you are already well on your way to being prepared for a quarantine situation. Here are a few points that you should go over to make sure that your home is as prepared as possible:
- Rodent and insect control – from the bubonic plague to lyme disease, there are many infections that you can avoid by keeping your home free of rodents and insects. Use organic insecticides and good quality rodent traps to ensure your home stays as free of these pests and their diseases.
- Water purification for all taps and faucets – cholera and many other diseases can easily reach you through contaminated municipal water supplies. While boiling water will kill these pathogens, it will not be of much help for the water you shower and wash your hands with. Make sure that you can control all water supplies to a point where any water you come into contact with has been thoroughly purified. For example, you can use a camp shower system and fill the tank with pre-boiled water, and then use other portable systems to wash your hands.
- Capacity to grow food indoors sustainably – aside from eliminating the need to travel to purchase food, this will reduce your exposure to a number of deadly diseases that have been showing up in pre-packaged foods. Considering the current outbreak of swine flu in China and the high potential for catastrophic crop failure in the midwest, being able to grow your own food indoors is also the best way to ensure you can feed yourself during a major shortage.
- Capacity to exercise indoors – when you can’t go outdoors for even short walks, you will become weak very quickly. Start off by choosing between an exercise bike or a manual treadmill, then choose a few weights to work with. Learning Tai-Chi and Pilates are also inexpensive ways to get good quality exercise without the need for fitness equipment.
- Be able to eliminate the need to collect or send physical mail – This is the perfect time to set all of your bills up to pay online for free, as well as manage all other correspondences by email or phone.
- Control air flow into the home – make sure you can seal off all points of air entry into your home. Make use of air filters and UV systems to ensure the air entering your home is clean. Keep masks and respirators onhand for backup and emergencies.
Across time, there have been all kinds of plagues and diseases that led to the need for a massive quarantines. While measles may not seem like much of a deadly disease, there are others that present far more danger. This is a good time to review your bug in plans to ensure that you can stay in your home for an extended period of time without exposure to other people if you have to. It is also a good time to create a comprehensive plan to prevent yourself from getting sick each time you go into a public place.