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2024 Preparedness - Week 20: Calendar Week 19

Week 19 May 13


Last week we concentrated on purchasing food and drinks for caring for patients. Please remember all the tips for caring for patients are the same for a seasonal flu, as they are for an H5N1 pandemic flu. This week we concentrate on medications to relieve symptoms.

Monitoring a patient’s temperature is vital for knowing when an illness has progressed to the stage where they need medical attention more than can be provided at home. Today add a thermometer or two to your General Store shelves. Place them in different locations so under pressure you will be able to locate at least one.

Do not allow anyone in the house to smoke as smoking will compromise the immune system even of the healthy.


Muscle pain and fever: Use acetaminophen (like Tylenol). If you take acetaminophen for a long time or in high doses, it can affect the liver and kidneys, so use it only when symptoms exist. You may also choose Ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin). Ibuprofen can irritate the stomach and thus should only be used when stomach irritation (vomiting and diarrhea) is not present. We overuse these medications and the result can lead to unwanted health issues so keep these on hand for use when there is a real need but avoid taking on a regular basis.

Never give aspirin to anyone under the age of 18 (i.e., follow manufacturer recommendations).

Cough: Add a medication with Dextromethorphan (DM) for a dry cough that prevents the patient from sleeping or causes chest discomfort. These should be purchased in pill form for long-term storage.


Stuffy nose: Use a decongestant. Nasal drops or sprays act quickly and have fewer side effects than medications you take by mouth. However, they should only be used for 2 or 3 days to avoid dependency. If a stuffy nose continues switch to an oral medication such as pseudoephedrine. Decongestants may cause dry mouth, sleep problems, rapid heartbeat, or other side effects. People who have long-term health problems or who are on other medications should not take decongestants without talking to their doctor.

Congestion: Neti pot. A Neti pot rinses the mucous from sinuses and is a great help for sinus pain.



Sore throat: Lozenges or throat sprays with Dyclonine work best to numb the throat. Zinc lozenges are also important for not only dealing with a sore throat but also reducing infection.

Products containing honey or herbs may also soothe the throat. Herbal tea with honey is also very soothing and easy on the stomach. Teas and honey will last on the shelf forever so be sure to store some in addition to over-the-counter medications.


Diarrhea: This should not be treated with medications. Diarrhea is the way the body rids itself of infection. This is a good thing. Treat cases of diarrhea by keeping the patient on a clear liquid diet (see May 7th ) for at least a day. Be sure to continue to monitor the amount of fluids consumed and remember the patient should be drinking more than they normally would to prevent dehydration. Remember never allow a patient to drink soda, anything carbonated, or alcohol.



Nausea: Treat with Meclizine Hydrochloride. This is an ingredient in motion sickness medications.

Check your medicine cabinet and determine if you have this medication on hand already. Today catch up on any medication you did not check and add this week. Remember natural alternatives such as teas, honey, Neti pots, etc. are a must-have because they will never expire.

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