From regular illness to a full on pandemic, knowing how to establish a boundary to keep disease from spreading to others is important to know.
There are various levels of quarantine that must
Quarantined: Establishing A Sick Room and Boundaries In The Event Of A Pandemic or Brief Illness
Anything that is highly contagious is a good case
for establishing quarantine on some level.
Any cold, flu, contagious infection, parasite, etc is a case where quarantine may be helpful during a long emergency. The sooner you can get something stopped the better. Even if something is highly treatable do you really want to use up all your medical supplies that fast?
Also consider the loss of labor and the effect a serious illness would have on everyone’s ability to defend against a variety of threats.
Length of quarantine could vary from days to
The length of the quarantine will vary
a lot depending on the exact nature of the problem or if the problem
is even recognizable. If something cannot be diagnosed with
certainty, it may be best to keep someone as isolated as possible
from others in the family or group.
Something simple like discovering a
specific person has lice may mean just avoiding others for a day or
two but something like flu or colds could mean a week or two.
Quarantine conditions may mean that you are also
establishing boundaries to keep others from bringing a known pandemic
or disease to your group either by accident or on purpose.
Isolation is something you will have to learn to
deal with if there is a true pandemic situation.
I wrote an article about dealing with isolation that goes in depth but I
I see people going batty from lack of socialization or just somewhere to go besides home even during the event of a week of bad weather and snowy conditions.
Entertainment options can help and
there are plenty of people that mostly socialize online in modern
times but that requires a reliable internet connection and not having
services blocked by government entities for various reasons.
Practice by learning to be at home sometimes. Try to involve yourself and your family in some enjoyable hobbies or activities that do not require going out or a lot of electricity. Some people find they enjoy unplugging once in awhile.
If you fall to temptation and go out in a
pandemic out of curiosity or just being bored then you are putting
yourself and everyone you care for at extreme risk. It is a foolish
and selfish act.
Do yourself and the people in your
family a favor and practice being alone together. If you want to be
even more realistic, practice with the preps you have in place. This
is an excellent opportunity to see how well your power centers handle
a few days of being off grid. It is better to find out what is
missing or lacking now then when you have no chance of making
Here are a few posts on keeping up morale and what to put back for entertainment during a long emergency.
Creating a sick room
The further the sick room is from others the better. At the same time you want it close enough that someone can provide care to those that are ill. If you have an outbuilding that can
Supplies to have on hand
A few 2 gallon buckets are a good idea.
Bigger is also fine but if you have the choice a 2 gallon bucket is
more manageable and easier to clean. Buckets can be used as
chamberpots or as something for someone to vomit into.
I like to buy the Fortex buckets in a 4 pack for $20 for general use. They are
Anyone that is providing care should
wear a face mask when having any interaction with a sick person. You
can get these in packs of 4-5 for a reasonable cost but you will
probably get a better deal if you buy a large package. They should be
disposed of before you have any interaction with people beyond the
patient you are caring for.
Disinfectant such as Lysol or Bleach and a Spray Bottle
I really hate using bleach and Lysol
alike but for major messes they can be hard to beat and they kill a
lot of germs that can contribute to the spread of illness. Other
concentrated disinfectants will work too. Just make sure to have
something strong or at least use it in a high concentration. Oxygen
cleaner is an excellent disinfectant.
Plastic sheeting or mattress cover for protecting bedding
If an illness is particularly awful you
may just want to burn bedding after an illness. If you want to try to
keep it or feel it is worth it for some reason, then it is a good
idea to have a completely waterproof mattress encasement. In fact for
SHTF, you may want to have a few. A less expensive and more versatile
option is plastic sheeting that can be put under regular sheets.
A special bed or mattress would be ideal and is
something any prepper group or family group should consider for a
If you are
I worked on the cleaning crews sometimes for my college and I remember how easy it was to just spray the mattresses and wipe them down. They would be excellent for a sick room. The one below is $160 shipped but you may
Gloves and more gloves
You can never have too many disposable
gloves. Having a lot of them means you are less likely to reuse them
or wear them after they show signs of puncture. I have bought some
that are really good and some that are awful. I really have come to
dislike the Curad disposable nitrile gloves found at our local drug
stores. While I love a lot of what Curad makes, they need to redesign
those gloves. They fit terribly and have no give to them. I
recommend nitrile gloves because some people are allergic to latex.
It is not that common but why bother risking it when there are
quality nitrile gloves for a similar cost.
Get a few different sizes to
accommodate various people in your family or group.
Old sheets or very cheap sheets that you don’t
I remember find a deal that I thought
was a mistake on Amazon once. I managed to get their brand of 200
thread count sheets for less than $5 for a Queen size set. I bought
several. If you can’t find deals like that then you might consider
looking at thrift stores. Of course you should wash them well and
sanitize them before storing in your preps but it can be a great way
to have some designated sheets for the sick.
Cheap yet warm blankets or thinner inexpensive
blankets that can be layered as needed.
In the case of severe illness you may
not want to let some linens stick around. Fleece blankets are a good
choice because they can be found for under $5 and you can buy a few
dozen at a time on Amazon and have them for a ton of different uses.
Check out my post “The Many Uses Of Fleece Blankets” for a ton of reasons to add them to your preps right away!
Cotton blankets are more expensive but
they are something that you can find a deal on sometimes. You are not
looking for top quality here but rather something that serves a
purpose for a short period of time and you will not regret the loss
of. Goodwill and other thrift stores are options as well as discount
retailers and Dollar Stores.
Adequate and safe light
You don’t want someone that is
delirious or unable to move quickly to have access to lighting
sources that are a fire hazard. A few cheap flashlights or a battery
or solar chargeable lantern are good safe options for sick rooms.
- Something to serve as a wash basin such as a designated bucket
- Communications device. This can be any noisemaker to alert the caregiver that the patient needs assistance. A two way radio is great if you have it and the sick room is too far away for a bell to be heard
- Cup, plate, bowl, and utensils that only the sick person uses
- Jug for water
Personal Hygiene Items
- Wet wipes or wash clothes for keeping clean. Wet wipes are nice because they can be tossed or burned and they avoid having to
- Toothpaste, toothbrush, floss
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels or several regular towels
- Moisturizer to prevent dry skin related issues
- Lip balm or anything that can be used as lip balm. Coconut oil is a reasonable choice and can be used as your overall moisturizer too.
- Sanitary napkins
You want to avoid putting items back in your medical kit such as bandages or other items that cannot easily be sanitized. Of course a thermometer or other medical equipment is the exception.
Either have a totally separate medical kit for setting up a sick room or take supplies to the sick room as needed. NEVER BRING ANYTHING BACK TO YOUR MAIN LIVING SPACE that has come into contact with the sick person unless it has been thoroughly decontaminated and sanitized.
Decontaminate yourself before entering the main living quarters or doing tasks for others. Some people keep disposable surgery style gear for this. Ideally you would remove your clothing and even use some wet wipes to wash yourself off. This may sound like it is a bit over the top but pandemic style viruses are not something to mess with.
Some disposable pants, shirts, gowns, shoe covers, and head coverings could be a big help and save lives. I am not saying it is cheap to add these things to your preps however it is pocket change when you consider the consequences of a pandemic spreading. If you have a family or group that is prepping together, then the cost will be more reasonable.
Entertainment for the sick and weary
Someone may not really want or even be able to read but what about a small mp3 player and speaker with a variety of audio books? This is an excellent way to help keep the mind sharp and not dwelling on how bad the situation is. Morale and attitude are so important to a fas
Creating boundaries from the general population
to prevent getting sick
While I can’t say that Matt and I
never get sick, I can say that it is very rare and usually only lasts
a short period of time. I was surprised when we both managed to get
quite sick in March. We figured out that the way it happened was
leaving our place and visiting someone that thought they were no
longer contagious because they had no symptoms.
Because this was a
While I was in terrible shape and out
Elderberry Syrup and Supplements help boost the immune system. Check out this post on how to make your own syrup.
Another lesson here is that the sickest I have been in many years occurred after we left our place and interacted with others. While never going around people is not realistic, during times where there is a lot of illness, it is best to stay put if you can.
For people like Matt and I that have no
During hard times, avoid interacting with a lot of other people
Keep kids out of school or home school if it seems like we are under conditions where diseases are rampant
Avoid densely populated areas and cities that are suffering from sanitation issues.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you just washed your hands. These areas of your head are pathways for disease and illness to enter your body.
Be strict about your quarantine rules.
If there is a serious pandemic, you need to be
If there is a situation where the group
feels that one or more people may need to leave the area for a task
where they come into contact with others, there should be a plan for
them to stay away from the others for a sufficient period of time
after returning. This may mean a party having to stay in a tent or
shelter within range of their core group but far enough away that if
they become ill, they are minimizing the risk that others will become
infected through basic contact and living conditions.
Fortifying against sick refugees
Some illnesses may be terrible and
debilitating but that doesn’t mean some people will not try to seek
out help even if that puts others at risk. You and your group or
family need to establish an understanding about how to deal with sick
refugees, especially those that refuse to acknowledge your quarantine
or that you cannot help them.
One way to avoid the situation is to
create barriers and fortifications that are meant to keep others from
being able to access the main living area of your family or group.
Check out my post “Man Made Versus Natural Barrier Fences and Fortifications” for some options