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Are you ready for pandemic?

Most haven't taken basic precautions -- here's how

May 5, 2009
by Kim Painter
Chicago Sun-Times

Here are a few specific things experts say families should consider:

•  Child care. If your child's school or day-care center closes for days or weeks, could you stay home, too? And who would step in if you got sick? Now is the time to have those discussions with everyone involved, including your boss.

•  Food and water. A three-day supply is good; two weeks is better. Think non-perishable, easily prepared items. In a severe pandemic, something far worse than what we're experiencing now, even grocery stores and utility companies could be closed or crippled because too few people show up for work.

•  Medical supplies. If possible, store extra supplies of any prescription drugs you need and the basic medicines and first-aid items that might run short in a severe wave of pandemic flu -- such as over-the-counter fever drugs, rehydrating solutions and plastic gloves.

•  Medical information. Make a chart of each family member's medications, allergies, blood type and any special health needs. "If this becomes a widespread pandemic, you might need to be treated outside your usual medical setting," without access to your medical records, says Kim Elliot of Trust for America's Health.

•  Special items. Don't forget about pet food, diapers, baby formula and other essential items for your household.

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