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After researching this topic for a survive bird flu website, I'm left wondering whether most of us would have either the money or the will to follow these rigorous procedures.
Good infection control practices involve meticulous hand washing, cleaning and clothes washing routines. And just as important, to avoid contact with the bird flu virus you should wear disposable face masks and gloves.
Realistically though, is this something that most of us could manage for more than a few days or weeks? How many disposable masks (respirators) and gloves would a family have to stockpile, to weather the worst of a pandemic?
Away from home, gloves and especially masks would have to be changed often. Would a dozen masks and a dozen pairs of gloves (per family member) be enough each day? If the worst of a pandemic lasted for 100 days, that would be a total of 1200 masks and 1200 pairs of gloves, per person.
Protective gear would not have to be worn at home, if no one was sick with the virus, but if someone at home became ill, it would be a different story. Every time anyone visited the sick person, a mask and gloves would have to be worn and discarded immediately after leaving the sick room. Under those conditions, would two dozen masks and pairs of gloves per day (per family member) be enough? A 100-day pandemic would require a total of 2400 of each per person.
After a look around the internet, the most reliable respirators (ones that have a 99% particle filtration efficiency) appear to cost around $5 each. A huge stockpile of these would not be affordable for most households and anything less expensive would probably not filter out the virus with a reliable efficiency. The worst of a pandemic might last a matter of months, but future outbreaks could go on for many years, on a smaller scale. Would many families have that amount of money to invest in disposable items?
As far as adequate infection control practices go, persuading all family members to see the importance of good hand hygiene might be a difficult task, depending on the intelligence and age of the family member. There are so many shared surfaces in a home sofas, chairs, floors, toilets, door handles, dishes, pets the list goes on how could anyone realistically impose adequate infection control practices at home, unless everyone agreed to (and was able to) adhere to the rules religiously.
The biggest problem of all is that a person infected with the bird flu virus is contagious before the symptoms show, so you can be spreading the virus even before you look or feel ill. If reliable bird flu vaccines and anti-viral drugs are not readily available, it begins to look as if the ultimate in infection control living in complete isolation could be the answer. I wonder what I could find to eat out in the desert . . .