top of page

2024 Preparedness - Week 21: Calendar Week 20

Week 20 - May 20


How does a pandemic flu spread? Primarily, it is airborne. This can happen when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Coughing and sneezing produce droplets that can pass the illness to others when inhaled. These droplets may also land on surfaces and, according to the Mayo clinic, can remain active for up to 48 hours.

Droplets from an infected person can make contact with surfaces such as table tops, door knobs, water faucets, shower handles, telephones, toys, remote controls, books and magazines, toilet seats, computer keyboards and mice, wheelchairs, walkers, baby swings, everything and anything a person who is ill touches or sneezes or coughs on.

Anyone living in a home with an influenza patient is at risk of becoming ill. Good hygiene practices should be implemented throughout self-quarantine, and if illness befalls the household, boundaries and hygiene rituals must be observed.

Remind your family to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, and then put the used tissue in a waste basket and wash their hands. When a tissue is not available, have family members cover their mouth and nose with their arms (not hands). Practice good hand-washing techniques. Remain conscious of what and who you have touched. Wash frequently.

To plan for this take an inventory today of the tissues you have in your home. Add tissues in the amount of one box per member of the family per month. This may not seem like enough but you will not be dealing with illness every month. If you are single store at least 12 boxes. If you have a large family you may want to store a few less. The last time I was ill I went thru 3 boxes in one week.



Since hygiene is so important now is the time to store bars of soap and liquid soap. When caring for someone who is ill use alcohol-based hand wipes or alcohol-based (60-95% alcohol) gel hand sanitizers - rub these on the hands until the liquid or gel dries. Wash your hands often when you or others are sick, especially before touching your mouth, nose, and eyes. Always wash or sanitize your hands before preparing food for the healthy as well as the ill, and when eating. Today inventory and purchase soap and hand sanitizer.



Time to sanitize surfaces. Purchase commercial sanitizers and kitchen gloves. Wipe down surfaces. Remember sanitizer wipes are working as long as the wipes are still wet.

Cleaning and disinfecting hard surfaces and items in your home often will help to prevent the spread of the flu. When using a commercial product, be sure to follow the directions on the labels carefully.

Pay attention to any hazard warnings and always use gloves when advised to do so. Do not mix disinfectants and cleaners unless the labels indicate it is safe to do so. Combining certain products such as chlorine bleach and ammonia can produce toxic vapors which may result in injury or death.

If disinfectants are not available, use a chlorine bleach solution made by adding 1 tablespoon of bleach to a quart of water or 1/4 C bleach to 1 gallon of water. Using a clean cloth, wipe down surfaces and let stand for 3 – 5 minutes before rinsing with clean water. Wear gloves to protect your hands. Be sure to firmly cap any remaining bleach disinfectant and label it well. COPY these instructions and place them in your emergency preparedness binder.



Get germs out of the house as quickly as possible when illness strikes. Make waste baskets easily accessible throughout the house. Line them with a plastic bag and empty them at least daily. After emptying, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands. Purchase can liners for small trash cans.

Purchase medical gloves to wear when dealing with trash, changing the sheets on the bed of a patient, clearing dishes of a patient, etc.



When people in the home are ill wash laundry as you normally would for all of those who are not ill. Remember, the germs that cause the flu are spread through the air so do not shake soiled laundry. Wash your hands after you gather laundry.

When laundering for those who are ill you may want to keep these items separate from the rest of the laundry in the home. This is primarily because you may want to assign someone to do the washing other than the person who is caring for those who are ill. Having chores to do will help each family member feel needed and we all feel more in control and under less stress when we are contributing. There is no reason to expose the person assigned to do laundry to the germs in the sheets and towels of those who are ill. I have purchased white sheets and towels for use by those who are ill. I can then bleach them if someone should vomit on them or as otherwise necessary.

Do you have laundry detergent enough to do extra loads of wash keeping the laundry of those who are ill separate? Determine which sheets and towels you have that can be bleached when caring for those who are ill.


I like to store the items needed to make both forms of detergent. During an emergency, you may not have the means to heat water enough to melt the powdered variety.

The cost of homemade laundry detergents is about $0.05 per load, yep, 5 cents per load. All ingredients can be found in the laundry aisle at the store.

You will also want to have some large containers on hand to store your detergent once it is mixed. For liquid detergents, you will want to use containers small enough for you to shake before use as the detergent gets thick.

Bar Soap: Fels-Naptha, and Ivory soap, are the best but Sunlight bar soap, Kirk’s Hardwater Castile, and Zote are also good choices.


Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

2 cups Fels Naphtha Soap finely grated

1 cup Washing Soda

1 cup Borax

Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container.

Use 2 tablespoons per full load.


Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Five-gallon bucket

1 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap, as listed above

1 1/2 cups washing soda

1 1/2 cups borax powder


·       Grate the soap and place it in a large pot.

·       Cover with water and heat it until the soap melts.

·       Add 1 gallon of hot water to a five-gallon bucket.

·       Add washing soda and borax and stir until dissolved. Add soap mixture and stir. Add enough hot water to fill the bucket. Stir well.

·       Let the soap sit for about 24 hours or until it gels. Pour into plastic bottles filling bottles 3/4 full. Add water to fill the container full, cap, and shake well.

·       Use ½ cup per load to begin with and increase the amount if you need more.


11 views0 comments


bottom of page