Photos courtesy iStockphoto: Gulden Kunter Tikiroglu (sneeze), Barbara Sauder (soup), Doug Cannell (tissue box), Ana Abejon (mom & son), MBPHOTO (sanitizer)
Do I need to buy masks to care for a sick family member?
In general, if you’re not at high risk of becoming ill, you don’t have to wear a face mask when taking care of someone at home who has the flu, according to CDC, which created new mask advice in response to H1N1 flu, also known as swine flu.
But if you are at high risk for flu — because of your age, a chronic disease or other factors — then you shouldn’t be a caregiver. If that can’t be avoided, then wear a face mask or respirator to protect yourself, says CDC. Surgical-type masks can keep splashes from reaching you as well as stop droplets from reaching the person you are caring for. Don’t touch the mask when it is on your face and don’t reuse it. After you take off a mask, clean your hands with soap and water.
Another option is an “N95” respirator, which fits snugly and can protect you from inhaling small air-borne particles that may contain viruses. For more on masks and H1N1 flu, see the CDC Web site at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/masks.htm
Stockpiling for colds and the flu: A checklist
Handwashing or hand sanitizers?
Soap and water are still the best way to keep your hands clean and free of germs. But if soap and water aren’t available, health officials recommend using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The best hand sanitizer is one that contains a minimum of 60 percent alcohol, as anything lower just won’t do the trick. Remember to double-check the label before using or purchasing the product.
Here’s a suggested checklist you can for a cold or the flu. Check with your you’d need and make adjustments fo
Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, fever reducers, decongestants, anti-diarrheal medication and cough drops
Alcohol–based hand sanitizer
Face masks or respirator (if recommended)
Canned or instant soups (look for low sodium)
use to prepare yourself or your family doctor to see if there is anything else r you or your household:
Heat or ice pack
DVDs and books
Your doctor’s phone number
For more tips on creating an emergency preparedness stockpile, visit www.getreadyforflu.org/clocksstocks