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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Let the News Motivate You, but Not Control You

I haven't talked much about the coronavirus, here, in part because I don't want to be a source of worry for anyone else. Also, for my own self, talking about it brings my own fears and worries to the surface. Today, I am ready to talk about what I've been doing to prepare.


Prayer and Preparation

I did almost all of my March shopping in February. What I didn't do, I ordered online to be delivered later this week. I am taking this one day at a time. Tuesday (this morning as this is posted), is Senior shopping day at Fred Meyer. We have a handful of confirmed cases right in my area, near enough to the Fred Meyer where I usually shop, so I've decided not to shop Senior Discount Day this month. We have enough in our fridge, freezer, and pantry right now to get through the entire month of March and beyond. I'm starting my vegetable garden indoors under lights this week for some early greens. We'll live on what we have with maybe another online order of non-perishables for delivery from Target a little later. Through all of this, I am keeping my prayer life very active.

When You've Done Everything Else, Make Chicken Soup

I made a large pot of chicken soup last Friday. We had that for dinner that night and lunches all weekend long. I made another large pot of chicken soup on Monday. This soup is in part for snacks and lunches right now, but part of it is going into the freezer as emergency "illness" food. One of the foods that I bought in February for March was a 10-lb bag of chicken leg quarters. I'll be making a lot of chicken soup, some for eating presently, and the rest for freezing. If you saw in the news, the team in Nebraska was serving homemade chicken soup to some of the coronavirus patients.


Budget Preparedness

If your budget is not very big and can't include a lot of convenience foods, make some of your own right now and store them in the fridge or freezer. Casseroles and soups freeze well. If you want to stock water, you can fill empty plastic or glass beverage bottles (soda, cider, wine, juice) with tap water and store in your fridge. I'm not sure why bottled water is one of the suggested items on many stock-up lists for this virus. But it can't hurt to be prepared, if you have some empty bottles anyway.

When you do need to go to the stores to buy foods, medicines, hygiene items, and cleaning supplies, the best tips I've read are to wear gloves while shopping, shop very early in the morning (if that is a time when stores are least crowded), shop midweek/avoid crowded weekends, go to stores where there seems to be less traffic, and when you come home, wash your hands well. Consider having groceries delivered to your house. Stores like Target offer free delivery in my area with a $35 purchase.

Organize the supplies that you do have. I pulled all of my disinfecting supplies together. I included items that we might not think of as a disinfectant, such as hydrogen peroxide, but they are. I've got a Lysol-type spray, 70% and 91% alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, hand sanitizer, liquid bleach, and some Lysol-type cleaning wipes, as well as lots of soap. I've put these together in a cabinet in the laundry room. After doing some reading, I discovered that some are more effective than others against coronavirus. However, I believe they will all be useful for my household. These items have differing properties that make some more useful for particular surfaces than others. 

Be Aware, but Take a Break From the News From Time to Time

At the present, for many of us, the threat of this virus is not on our doorstep. There is no need for us to scare ourselves silly. Stress lowers the immune response. So, if you find yourself overstressed, take a break from the news and do something very relaxing, such as listening to calming music, or watching light-hearted comedies on youtube or dailymotion.com. The unknowns are the source of most of my fears. I am a woman of faith. So, I have been reminding myself that although I don't know things, He knows it all.

Still, the news can be addicting. So, it's good to force yourself to break away from the news for a few hours a day. Remember, the news agencies make money by getting you to read or watch, so their headlines often contain worrisome words and phrases, like "cases jump." Be aware, but take breaks from worry. Just keep doing those good health practices -- wash, wash, and wash some more, get good sleep, eat healthy, take time to relax each day.

One of the things that I do each night that brings me peace is I tell myself that I'm still well. I survived the day. My family is doing fine. I'm in His hands. I only have to do this one day at a time.

I've got a lot more to say, but this is long enough for today. I hope everyone is exceptionally well right now.

26 comments:

  1. Amen! And Thank You for your input. I am also choosing to be aware but not to panic. I've heard the basic flu this year is much worse and has taken more lives than the other virus.

    I also choose not to watch a lot of news. You are correct that they make their money by what they choose and how they choose to deliver the news. It's very heavy on the sensationalization rather than just giving it to us straight. And this goes for ALL aspects of "news". I have lots of other "stresses" in my life that I can't allow these things to add to my life. Be aware but don't be pulled in by the media.

    And soup does soothe the soul. I'm not the best soup maker as it always tastes the same. I love different kinds of soups but I'm just not the best at making it.

    Alice

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  2. Amen. Thank you for posting this.

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  3. Which of you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? Matthew 6:27

    I am a two-time cancer survivor, and I know this well. I do wash my hands constantly because I don't own a dishwasher. I try to eat well and get plenty of sleep. Beyond that, I rest in Jesus (and stay away from the news as much as possible!)

    Midwest Gal

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  4. As others have said, we need to remember that the news is a business motivated by many things, but profit is the main one. So they will sensationalize anything to get you to watch/listen/read. No official has said the corona virus is a crisis, but the news has. One of many examples of trying to sensationalize things.

    Anyway, we have stocked up on a few things and are trying to be smart. While we don't have any cases in my state yet, the virus is on the east coast, so it's just a matter of time. The only part I'm not sure about is how we will interact with the public in the library if the virus becomes local. The libraries are often the last to close because many people use them as an indoor haven--often because they don't have a place of their own.

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  5. Thank you, Lili, and all the other commenters so far for your words of wisdom.
    I agree wholeheartedly!
    Jo Ann

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  6. Sending good thoughts and prayers for you and yours.

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  7. I wondered how close you are to those cases Lili. I will include you and your family in my prayers.

    Thanks so much for all of the info. It's very helpful info to have.

    My husband suggested a couple of weeks ago that I start stocking up on food/supplies. His thoughts were just enough for a month or so. I did that.

    I worry some, but I keep thinking there was Bird Flu, Swine Flu, and Ebola in recent years. There was much panic over those, and they were brought under control.

    I try to maintain a positive attitude, and pray a lot. It's hard for me to talk to my mom right now. She's retired, watches the news all waking hours. It's all she wants to talk about. I have tried to explain I want to be informed, but positive. I have to take breaks, and immerse in other thoughts/activities. I can't focus on Corona virus all the time. I'd fall apart.

    Take care.
    Angie

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  8. We've stocked up for at least a couple months. As said in my last comment, I've lowered our standards and expectations of "meals", which were pretty low to begin with, in other words we are rationing our supplies. I am not a prepper usually, though I am always a worst case planner. I don't like surprises if I can avoid them.

    I hope to have more clarity about the Covid-19 virus in a month or two. I want to know more facts about the virus. Not all viruses pose the same threat short term or long term. I want to understand both. From my understanding, there are several differences that I've learned from yes, the media. It has a higher rate of transmission than the flu (2-3x) and the lungs, heart and organs are primarily affected, whereas in typical flu the organs are not the primary target. Also it seems the longer and more frequently you are exposed to this virus, the more likely you will be infected, so even the younger population could succumb to illness. While transmission is faster than a typical flu virus, incubation and infection is slower. I wonder from these observations, as a lay person with no medical background, if this virus has the potential to lay dormant like some other known viruses, to later infect or assist in other infections as a partner. I understand also that the SARS (similar to Covid 19) vaccine was unsuccessful, so that concerns me about the nature of infection, whether repeated exposure boosts immunity as intended or creates an exaggerated immune response which I understand was problematic with SARS. There are so many unknowns with this virus that I'm not willing to think it is just another flu virus. The long incubation period prevents any statistical conclusion about the actual infection and death rate at this time. Because I don't know, I'm being extremely skeptical and cautious.

    I hope this is not what I fear. We have a few months supply of food if we ration wisely, by then I hope to learn more to make another assessment. Midwest Gal, sorry to hear about your cancer. I sometimes feel there is a silver lining to difficult challenges. After my husband's diagnosis of prostate cancer, we are practicing better health habits to boost our immunity, like being more mindful of eating healthy and exercising daily.

    Be well,
    YHF

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  9. Hi Alice,
    I agree, there are so many other stressors in life, so I'm trying to just stay calm through all of my life, yet still be vigilant right now.
    I saw the devastation from the tornado on the news this morning. My heart goes out to those folks.
    There is bad news any place we look. But there is also a lot of good news in this life, too.
    Chicken soup is quickly becoming my favorite soup. Although I love almost all other soups.

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  10. Hi Lona,
    I'm glad that what I wrote was helpful.

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  11. Hi Midwest Gal,
    You are an inspiration, and I can learn from your attitude! Thank you for your comment.

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  12. Hi Live and Learn,
    The quandary for your library is similar to the issue of closing schools for many areas, including mine. A lot of double-income families rely on public schools to care for their children while the parents are at work. So, closing schools means that those parents don't have their usual care arrangement for their kids. Parents who are just barely getting by on their income can't afford to pay for other care. So, they leave the schools open for as long as possible. I have my own opinions on what the government could be doing in this situation.
    It will be interesting to hear what your library does, if this should significantly impact your area. I'm hoping it doesn't, that warmer weather will slow transmission for your area and other parts of the US and Canada. But it is smart to be prepared, in case.

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  13. Hi Angie,
    That's exactly how I've been feeling. If I over-focus on the virus, I become overwhelmed. So, I am having to force myself to immerse my thoughts in other areas.
    Something I read recently - one of the things that happens in older age is people become hyper-focused on specific information. This could be happening with your mother and it may be difficult for her to not focus on the news. I don't know how one would go about mitigating that sort of situation, except to draw her into conversations that interest her nearly as much as current news, or maybe part of the lighter aspect of the news, like the royal family. Good luck with this, Angie.
    Thank you for your prayers.

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  14. Hi YHF,
    Thank you for your insights and understandings of the virus. I have a question that maybe you have some insight. I'm not finding enough information about this online. Why do you think we're being advised to have a supply of bottled water (purchased or self-bottled tap)? Do you think gov't believes that our water supply could become contaminated? That would be worrisome for those of us who just drink tap water. a 2-week supply of water for 4 people (my household) is a lot of water. That would be 2 gallons of drinking water per day for my family, or 28 gallons total. I wish the gov't would be more forthcoming with their information.

    While the possible worst-case scenario does look frightening, I'm going to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, while keeping in mind that most of the time, things tend to be somewhere in the middle. You are very well-prepared and have a good plan to stay safe for yourself and your husband. I pray that the situation is under control before it becomes bad anywhere else.

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  15. Lili. I also wondered the same, why water? The other day, my husband and I had this discussion and wondered whether water pipes could become a source of contamination, since this virus is able to live on surfaces for awhile. I'm hoping our water supply is pure, so the culprit may be household plumbing. It really makes me wonder how germaphobe I need to be. Is my immune system able to handle a low dose contamination, just not above a certain threshold? Should we be boiling water for drinking, as well as washing our face and body? For one, since it is known that the virus is in "1 and 2", closing the lid when flushing is absolutely necessary. The faucets could be contaminated since the virus is said to spread by aerosol not just in droplets. Sorry for the rambled thoughts, as you can see I'm one of those old folks who can get hyperfocused lol.

    I have minimal water stocked up. I plan to boil our water if the water supply is said to be contaminated. It will be a big pain to do this, so I'm hoping there will be an advisory if it happens.

    YHF

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  16. I was wondering how close you were to the Washington cases. I think you are being smart in your approach. We hear about it a lot at work--I think the problem is, no one really knows a lot about it, which amps up everybody's fears. I feel we need to take this seriously, but to avoid panic--panic never helps anyone think or react well. As a health care worker, I'm curious to see the fallout should people be advised to stay home as much as possible--the exception, of course, would be with medical staff.

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  17. Dear Lili,

    Dr. John Campbell is a nurse in the UK who has been following the COVID-19 evolution since January. He provides daily video updates through YouTube. I have found him to be an unsensationalized,forthright source of honest information and data.

    I had not even thought about the spread of the coronavirus through water. I thought the water and shelf stable food recommendations were in preparation for loss of utilities for a period of time. A Lifestraw for less than $20 is something in which we have invested in case we would have to acquire water from an outside source like a stream.

    We also have a garbage can to put under a downspout to collect water to flush the toilet if public water ceases to flow. If the sewage system stops working, we will collect urine in a bowl and designate an outside spot to discard it. The solids will be collected in a contractor grade garbage bag placed into the toilet. The solids will be covered with sawdust and agricultural lime to reduce order and the lid will be closed to keep odor down. The solids would be buried deep in the yard to decompose (not near gardens or water sources) or double-bagged and discarded in the trash depending on the length of time the sewage system is unavailable.

    Hopefully, we will not have to utilize any of our preparations.

    Laura

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  18. One of the reasons for bottled water is so that everyone in the family doesn't have to touch the same pitcher or faucet or refrigerator. Plus they can be tossed/recycled-less to wash and therefore less to touch.

    Another reason is that the wastewater treatment operators could become sick and unable to work, or the pipes could break and the utility workers might not be available. So having bottles makes us all more independent and is a way to contribute to the overall good of our community by creating a little "slack in the system" so that other people's emergency needs can be met.

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  19. Lili,

    Thanks for the ideas on leading my mom into other conversation topics besides Corona virus. I will definitely try this!

    My sister and I took our parents to Ohio State University yesterday. My dad had a medical procedure scheduled. My mom brought masks in her bag. She offered one to all three of us. My dad declined, as did my sister and I. My mom wore a mask all day except when she ate. I'm torn on the masks. The type my mom had were just the thin paper masks. I've read so many conflicting articles about how much those help. My sister and I adopted the 'whatever eases mom's mind' attitude.

    It was interesting being at Ohio State. I did see many people wearing masks, but I'm not sure if it was for flu, Corona virus, or maybe cancer patients with weakened immune systems. Ohio State does treat more cancer patients than any other hospital in our area.

    The lady who registered my dad, and walked us upstairs to the appropriate procedure area, commented that she was so apprehensive about Corona virus she wanted to crawl in bed, pull the covers over her head, and stay. Then a couple of other medical professionals commented that they aren't too worried, and feel it will be brought under control soon.

    Yesterday was such a long day. We left at 9:00 in the morning, I took mom and dad home, and arrived home at 7:45. My husband and son asked if I had been exposed to Corona virus before hugging me (off the wall humor is kind of our thing). I said I really hope not. I'm trying not to worry about it. What can one do?

    Take care.
    Angie

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  20. Hi YHF,
    I think it is possible that public water could become contaminated. Every so often you hear about a boil order in some area for e-coli contamination. So, that is a risk. I hope there won't be issues with plumbing, such as what was believed to have been an issue in a Hong Kong apartment building during another epidemic, years ago. If the issue is public water contamination, then having water in bottles (commercial or home-bottled) would provide water during an outage or period of contaminated water, until fixed, hopefully. (I'm keeping bottles that I have filled with tap water in the garage fridge.) I also have a large 7 gallon container that I've now filled with tap water. It won't fit in the fridge, so I'll keep this for 7 days, use in the washing machine and refill, and repeat every 7 days, if it is not needed. The chlorine in the tap water should "keep" the water safe. According to this website: https://healthfully.com/long-drinking-water-keep-5166085.html chlorinated, municipal tap water should keep for 6 months.

    Jennifer brings up an excellent point (further into the comments), individual bottles of tap water means everyone in the house can grab a bottle (like from the pantry) without putting their hands on fridge handles or pitchers. My own plan, should someone become sick, is to provide one of the liter or 2-liter bottles of water that I have in the fridge to consume in their room, pouring their own as they need. I have several liter and 2 liter bottles filled with water, now. As I find more bottles in the house, I'll fill them with tap water. This is also how I keep water for an emergency like an earthquake.

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  21. Hi Kris,
    I can understand how this could be even more on your mind, than say someone working outside of the healthcare field. I wonder, too, what effects a stay home order might have. In our area, I'm actually praying that the leadership decide on this, and soon. This sort of social distancing might be the only way to get a handle on our current situation. I know I'd feel relieved if my daughters didn't continue to sub and my husband was actually ordered to stay home. (He's taking paid leave right now, and is hoping to go to work-at-home status next week.)

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  22. Hi Laura,
    Thank you for your insight on the water. We do have 2 rain barrels (1 full, 1 not) under downspouts right now. Plus we have a small pond and larger pond on our property that we could haul flushing water from. I'll check out the expert you suggested as well as that water-purifying thing. It sounds like you've thought of how to deal with loss of plumbing altogether. I think we could do something similar if needed. Oh, man, how I pray this doesn't come to a lack of plumbing!
    Thank you for your comments.

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  23. Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you. This makes a lot of sense. Especially the lack of touching germy drinking containers. And the treatment facilities, yes, that makes sense, too.
    Thank you for your comments.

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  24. Hi Angie,
    I can understand your mom's feeling she needed a mask. If she is over 60 and entering a hospital, everything on the news says "danger, danger." And as she's watching the news a lot, of course she'd be scared. From what've read, wearing masks results in touching our faces more, and gives us a false sense of security. However, if someone is immunocompromised, the wearing a mask is often recommended by their doctor, so they must feel it does something. Right now, though, I think the primary reason the experts are telling us not to buy and wear masks is so the supply will remain great enough for those on the frontline. The need for masks for medical and police personnel is said to be huge and the supply just isn't enough to go around.

    Now, if someone in your house become sick, then I've read that the sick person and the person taking care of them SHOULD wear a mask/respirator. That is our plan, should one of us become sick with this virus.

    Maybe as time progresses, your mom will become a little less fearful about this. It is so new to us in the US, that the fear is amplified by our lack of knowledge of how this will actually play out.

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