With many KELOLAND kids back in school or just days from heading back, health officials are urging families to start thinking about H1N1 flu virus. They want you to be prepared in case of a major outbreak. Sanford Health has devised a plan that can keep your family healthy during a worst case scenario.
Health officials describe a worst case scenario as 30 percent of the population sick all at the same time. It may sound a little far fetched, but they say it's something that needs to be taken very seriously.
"The problem is, this isn't like a couple of days and they're all back to work. This is, we may have people out for 6 to 8 weeks," Sanford Clinic Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dan Heinemann said.
Heinemann says all families should prepare now for the weeks and months ahead. But that plan should also involve more than keeping germs at bay.
"If Xcel energy has a significant number of their employees sick and a power line goes down in an area, there may not be somebody to go out there and fix it immediately," Heinemann said.
The same scenario could affect transportation or the water department, which is why it's a good idea to have plenty of water and non-perishable foods on hand.
"Two weeks or 48 to 50 gallons of water for a family of four seems like a lot of water. But tonight when you wash your hands or you brush your teeth, or you make supper, think about how much water you're using to do those things," Heinemann said.
He also urges people to stock up on medications.
"Having a couple weeks supply of important medications, insulin, blood pressure medication, things like that. I'm not talking about a multiple vitamin. But I'm talking about the things you really need to maintain your health," Heinemann said.
It's all preparations that can help alleviate what could become a stressful time for many.
"If we're planning and we're thinking about these things, it will go a lot smoother than if I got to make a decision tomorrow about what I'm gonna go with my kids and I haven't though about it," Heinemann said.
And since fall is normally a time when seasonal flu begins to make it around, Heinemann says a worst case scenario isn't too far of a stretch.
"What if this happens? And I don't think that's being alarmist. I think that's being responsible," Heinemann said.
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