Saturday, September 18, 2010

Quarantine: A Preparedness Essential

I was reading a lovely old book the other day and was charmed by the romantic notion of a sick room.  The picture in my mind's eye of a tender little mother nursing her dear child back to health amidst fluffy white pillows, crisp sheets and stories read in hushed tones made me desire to be just such a mother.

When I was growing up, the sick bed was most often the living room couch, where blankets were alternately piled high or kicked to the floor, depending on the temperature of the patient.  Lots of liquids were offered (if we were very lucky, it was 7-up) and my mother's cool hand was frequently laid upon fevered brows.  Tissues were strewn about the room along with throat lozenges, books and whatever diagnostic tools my mother deemed necessary for managing the illness currently troubling us.  And more often than not, one or all family members came down with the offending disease.

As I was reading my lovely old book, I saw, for the first time, beyond the charming scene of the domestic sick room.  I saw the wisdom of old time common sense.  Of course the mothers ministered to their sick in their own room.  It was her way of keeping the rest of her beloved well.  Only Mother visited the sick.  Mother ministered to their every need.  Mother wiped brows, gave sponge baths, read stories and kept watchful vigils -all in the confines of the "sick room".  This sick room, was in actuality, a quarantine.

As preppers, we may want to revisit the ways of our wise forbearers.  They knew that their survival depended on their health.  They knew that to minister to the sick in the public areas of the home would, at the least, subject the family to illness and at the worst spread death through the entire home and perhaps the community at large.

We have lost our respect for disease.  We live in a time of readily available antibiotics and other life saving medications.   No longer do we fear influenza, whooping cough or typhoid.  We think we have beaten these diseases. We are in control.  Not so, I say.  Our control is an illusion.  What if....  What if we don't have access to antibiotics.  What if Strep no longer responds to the antibiotics we have at our disposal.  What if diseases we thought we had eradicated come back in full force.  What if....

Practicing the forgotten skill of quarantine could save your life and the life of those you love.  When you have limited or no access to life saving medications, it will be essential to take a proactive role in stopping the spread of disease.  Quarantine is the essential, common sense approach to stopping disease in its tracks.

Although, initially I viewed the sick room through the lens of romantic, girlish notions, I have come to view it as a preparedness essential.


  1. The potential need for a quarantine room or separate shelter is often overlooked by preppers. Enola Gay, once again you have been given a message and were able to "forward" it to us. Thank you!

    Here in California, whooping cough is making a comeback. This is largely due to 2 reasons:
    1) People are coming here who have never been immunized and therefore bring the disease with them.
    2) People who could get their children immunized aren't doing so, the disease spreads through the unprotected.

    Whatever the reason for its re-appearance after a long absence, whooping cough is a serious threat to youngsters and some elderly.

    I'm certainly not a medical expert, but anybody who doesn't get her/his children immunized is risking the kids' lives, IMHO. I have seen what whooping cough can do. It's not a pleasant way to live, much less to die. I've seen what polio can do to a body. It's crippling, plus there is a lasting stigma that goes with it. These diseases had been widespread in America during my childhood. I pray these horrible communicable diseases don't become epidemics again.

    As for prepping for quarantine, stock alcohol wipes and bottles of alcohol. Keep some bleach on hand for cleaning contaminated surfaces and laundry. Have plenty of sheets and blankets, which may have to be burned. And have some gloves and medical masks on hand. A couple of old-fashion hot water bottles may ease those who become sick. And a few chemically-activated cold packs may also be useful. Chicken broth really does help heal the sick.

    What did people finally learn during the plague years of the Dark Ages in Europe? That cleanliness and sanitation helped prevent disease. That fresh air helped disipate the germs. That fire is the ultimate cleanser.

    One final thought: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    NoCal Gal

  2. Very well written. I just nursed my 5 year old back to health from and odd virus of fever, vomitting and sore throat while keeping my 4 mo old away. These unpredictable evolving virus' should scare us. Nothing angers me more than to see a mom strolling a fevering child around. Let them rest in peace. After 2 days, my son is back in health and our lives can continue. Thanks for such a thought provoking blog.

  3. Very good points. We have indeed become complacent in our attitude toward disease.
    There are many physical ways to combat disease- you mention a very effective one - the concept of quarantine. I would add to this the extreme importance of handwshing, and not with waterless handwash either. The greatest removal of bacteria from the hands occurs by the friction of rubbing the hands together under running water.

  4. Nice post and comments. I always enjoy NoCal's comments and I just wanted to add my thougts as well:

    As to immunizations...prudence and prayer is required. Children are being bombarded with vaccines...too many combinations at once and at too young of an age. We're seeing too many incidences of autism. For anyone reading, never immunize when your child has a cold or is ill (not even with an ear my opinion).

    No need to put the brakes on all vaccines, but might want to discuss with a pediatrician about starting vaccines when the child is at an older age with fewer vaccines per visit. I'm not a fan of overwhelming immune systems.

    As to the vaccine Gardasil for pre-teen and teenage girls for the human papilloma viris (sexually transmitted disease), my answer is to homeschool your kids...not to lock them away from others...but to instill YOUR values. It
    worked for our family and there has been no promiscuity.

    The power of good parenting makes for healthy, educated, God fearing, ethical, delightful young people. Yes it is possible to raise well rounded, delightful kids in these troubling times.

  5. As a healthcare professional, I have vaccinated my children - though I have said no to several vaccines - my general rule is first and foremost not to vaccinate unless the disease itself has a high risk of ftality or disability, also to not even consider a vaccine unless it has been used for greater than five years with minimal problems. There still is, and always will be the risk of allergic reaction,batch contamnation of any vaccine, etc.
    The powers that be are really pushing Gardasil. There's a profit mtiv there and a whole bunch of healthcare workers that have drunk the Koolaid. That vaccine has had some bad side effects. It is essentially a "lifestyle vaccine". Same with Hep B, we declined that one because we knew we'd be homeschooling and no daycare either.

  6. i can remember in the early 1950's my home being under quarantine for baby brother had it as well as several other very small children in our neighborhood. i can also remember standing in line at school to get the "sugar cube" and other vaccines. as children, we were never permitted to be around others if we were was straight to our beds and only mom or dad was allowed to come near. on the farm we quarantine our livestock and pets when illness appears. humans are not any different. and it is extremely important these days to have a well stocked medicine cabinet and first aid box at home and while traveling...gotta have the basic tools for any job that might come up during an emergency, whether at home, at work or at school.

  7. @ Save the canning jars - So what happens when your homeschooled, innocent daughter meets and marries someone who has been less than honest about his sexual history ?

  8. Enola, I applaud your insight and wisdom to attempt to contain, isolate, and quarantine a viral or bacterial infectious process carried by a person, until signs and symptoms of the organism are no longer present, so you protect those in the environment from also becoming infected. Fortunately, not all organisms are "harmful", "pathological" or "contagious".

    You mentioned a most important query, about... What to do when we run out of options for treatments in facing the organisms and diseases that are harmful to humans.
    I am sorry to say but, We are here now.
    It would behoove those interested in learning more on this subject, to perform a web search on the following infectious topics:
    Prion Diseases, I call this the "Mutant Zombie DNA diseases"
    Necrotizing facsiitis, Flesh eating bacteria

    The truth of the current available medical prognosis for these?
    We are currently testing the limits of our available chemistry and technology at the very present and are desperately researching to develop new pharmacologically specific treatment "cures" for these conditions and diseases.
    These new mutating organisms and viruses ARE outpacing our current medical treatment methodologies.

  9. "So what happens when your homeschooled, innocent daughter meets and marries someone who has been less than honest about his sexual history ? "

    Can you say background check? Getting to know the people who have known this individual for their whole life is essential. Any hint of duplicity results in disqualification.

    Innocent doesn't mean naive either. Their is a huge difference between children home schooled out of fear, and those whose parents were simply pursuing quality education. Sheltered is hardly the word to describe the latter category.

    And then there are the appropriate warnings from brothers and cousins that certain things will never be tolerated and that the consequences are too horrible to contemplate if their sis or cousin is treated poorly. Vigilante justice still exists and always will.

  10. Save the Canning JarsSeptember 20, 2010 at 8:33 PM

    Well Anonymous poster Sept. 20 @ 4:04pm,

    My daughter is about to turn 26 years old and is in love...with Jesus. She is an adult who could have settled "on just anybody" a long time ago.

    I wish you could meet her because she is a beauty, validictorian of two colleges (although you would never know it by her mothers spelling). She has never had a date. (Gasp here!)

    One young man showed up at our door in dress clothes and a TIE, trying to woo her, but to all who have called or tried to arrange a date, she has said NO. Her choice. The words, "Oh, he is so hot" have never come out of her mouth, and never in all of her growing up years did anyone have to say, "Go put on different clothes, that is indescent." She is the picture of modesty and grace.

    How can I say this? Because I was a rotten product of the public schools. I was pure to my husband and he to we know this is not impossible. But my daughter has exceeded me in every way. I laughingly tell her, "Anything I can do, you can do better." And it is the it canning, tutoring, praying, cleaning...anything!

    Neither of my homeschooled kids are/were cult zombies, they are hysterically funny and very quick witted. A light in a dark world. God is going to do something special with them both, but since your post mentions my innocent daughter, I'll just say she is like Rachael in the Bible. In fact, after she has turned down a young man, the joke is "So you wouldn't water his camels, hu Rachael?"

    So how do we know there are any "honest" men out there? Well, I have a son 24 who has never been out on a date either...has not met anyone he would want to ask out. I see an honorable son every day so I know outstanding young men are still out there. The world would like to label us "strange" but we have seen the Duggar's on TLC's 19 Kids and counting and have seen many other families with wholesome values and their young adults are not "hooking up" either. When "kids" have strong work ethics, good self esteem, strong family values, and have been happy AND are happy right this minute too, they are not looking for just fact they are not looking at all. They trust God to do the picking and He will lead them into all truth.

    If God was faithful to them in their youth, won't He be faithful to them throughout their adulthood?

  11. I agree with Anonymous--
    A dear friend found out she had HPV when her husband had an affair. Maybe she wasn't the wife she should have been. Maybe he was just a jerk. We don't know what goes on behind closed doors, but there is not guarantee.
    And what about Rape? Your homeschooled children may be saints, but what about real life? Homeschooling is not the cure-all, and neither is vaccinations. But lets not stick our heads in the sand, either way.

  12. Save the Canning JarsSeptember 20, 2010 at 9:43 PM

    What about a husband who has an affair? To that I ask, what about God's promise of I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans of give you a hope and a future.

    And what about rape you ask? I agree with Anonymous Sept. 20 8:20 pm who pretty well says that just because they were home schooled does not mean they are naive. Can we say Glock 19, Walther PPS, Smith and Wesson M&P, and Kahr PM9?
    Homeschoolers know how to multi-task!

  13. Save the Canning JarsSeptember 21, 2010 at 6:37 AM

    Oh and I said something wrong last night. It's Rebekah not Rachael who watered camels. I can't believe I typed that! More time in the word and less of the computer.

    We've strayed a long way from quarantine. Sorry Enola!

  14. Cleanliness, cleanliness. Wash your hands, and learn to keep your hands off your face.
    I see a lot of people who don't have a clue how to properly wash hands! Get em wet, fiddle a little soap on em, half-heartedly rinse. They call that washing.

    Thoroughly wet hands Preferably in running water, but a basin if you must. Briskly rub soap well past the wrists, between fingers, thoroughly around all fingernails FOR 20 SECONDS at least! Antibacterial soap is not necessary, that 20 seconds is necessary.
    Once the soap has been on there long enough to actually kill the germs, rinsing is just to get the drying, irritating soap off your skin. A real good rinse is not necessary. That is the only part that can be quick and negligent.