The twenty-fourth capacity that I introduce in my eBook is that you must minimize contamination of yourself and others from actions such as coughing or treating wounds. In it I state that:
You must “minimize contamination of yourself and others from actions such as coughing or treating wounds. Disease transmission is always a concern but becomes much more so in a grid-down scenario. Stock supplies such as disposable gloves and n95 face masks with one-way valve (among other supplies) to reduce such a possibility. And, while you’re at it, get into the habit of using these supplies now so you’re accustomed to doing so.”
Minimizing Infection from Wound Treatment
I would imagine that among the first training any nurse or doctor gets in medical school is to avoid contamination of their patients as well as to avoid contracting who knows what from their patients. It’s like Doctor 101! And, as I mentioned above, avoiding contamination will be much higher on the priority list after a grid-down scenario (or any emergency situation, for that matter) for the simple fact that emergency medical care will probably not be available to you should the need arise. In order to combat this problem, the first step you need to take is to be extra vigilant when treating wounds.
Suffice it to say that, as I am not a medical professional whatsoever and there are certainly better resources for proper wound care, I won’t attempt to tell you how to do so. I will, however, tell you that simple actions such as wearing disposable gloves, practicing proper wound care techniques, and even good hand washing [YouTube video] both before and after treatment are a must to minimize contamination. Obviously, the biggest reasons to do so is to keep foreign bodies and bacteria out of wounds. But, remember also that contamination concerns go both ways, so you’re working to protect yourself as well. Probably the most important “thing” you can do is to think about what you’re doing before you do it. What did you just touch before treating a wound? Did you set the sterile gauze down on a non-sterile surface? Did you properly clean the wound before applying gauze? Did you remove your gloves properly [YouTube Video]?
Minimizing Infection from Disease Pathogens
With respect to avoiding contaminating yourself and others from airborne diseases such as during a pandemic or even avoiding the common flu, you also need to be hyper-vigilant here as well. While I stock dozens of N95 masks, they’re highly uncomfortable to wear for more than a few minutes. Consider using an n95 face mask with one-way valve for such circumstances instead. They’re A LOT more comfortable to wear long term but are more expensive. For even better protection, consider stocking a few n100 face masks as well. In fact, probably the best course of action is to stock up on a variety of masks so that you have an appropriate response to whatever threat you face. Also understand most people cough in their hands and then proceed to touch… everything! Understanding that the simple act of coughing into your elbow, for example, may well reduce the possibility of contaminating others substantially.
This is also a great time to point out that your living area should be as clean as possible too. Keep hard surfaces (e.g., kitchen counters, tables, door knobs) spotless using an assortment of disinfectant sprays, be sure to wash dishes and utensils properly [YouTube Video], and definitely keep your bedding clean if possible. If things are bad enough, consider setting up an isolation room and procedures to deal with infected people, including family members.
Last, I would also suggest you to read this short post by The Survival Doctor, Small Items Could Prevent Major Misery in Emergency Shelters, which mentions some of the same ideas from above.
Realize that the time to stock up on these supplies is NOW. The time to consider your plans for such situations is NOW!