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Oprah’s TV show about the Bird Flu – How to Prepare for the Pandemic

May 29th, 2006

Oprah’s TV show about the Bird Flu – How to Prepare for the Pandemic

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Oprah Winfrey will have an informative show on May 30th in which she will discuss about the bird flu.  At this time the Bird Flu has not spread easily from human to human, however experts are warning to be prepared in the event that it does become a pandemic.

In Indonesia there is a family that has caught the bird flu which has been called a H5N1 cluster.  There were a total of 8 people infected with 7 people in the family dying.   There was not a direct link to infected birds; however the H5N1 virus did not mutate either.  The spread of the bird flu does not seem to have happened at this time beyond the immediate family which has kept the alert level for this pandemic at a 3 rating.  If the World Health Organization declares a pandemic it is at a 6 rating.


In 1918 there was the Spanish Flu Pandemic which killed between 10 and 20 million people.  Experts are saying that the H5N1 virus is the same type of strain as in the 1918 version.

At this time there is no cure for the bird flu.  There is research underway already to try to create a vaccination for the bird flu.  Because the virus mutates, it is not likely that a vaccination would be developed successfully until the pandemic was already underway.

What can you do to prepare yourself and your family for the possible bird flu pandemic?

There are possible problems related to a reduced work force.  The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there will be approximately a 40 % reduction in the workforce when the pandemic occurs.  This is due to families that may become ill as well as closing down of businesses.  Businesses are asked to plan for employees to be able to work from their homes.  Schools and major gatherings would be closed down.


The US government has set up a website at http://www.pandemicflu.gov/ to answer questions and keep you posted on developments for bird flu in humans.  If the pandemic was to occur, they estimate that it could last between 18 months and up to several years with at least two waves of the virus.

According the government you should plan to have a two week food and water supply.  They suggest stocking up on nonprescription drugs and other health supplies.  You should have on items that you use on hand.  Some of these over the counter items could include pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.  If you take prescription drugs you should talk with your doctor about being able to have an extra supply at hand.

Should you invest in masks and which kind should you buy?  A dust mask may be helpful in certain circumstances other than protecting against a virus.  The dust mask could help if there was a dust or smoke situation that made the air difficult or dangerous to breath. There is a mask called N95 Respirator mask that could help.  The CDC stated the following on their website, “For health care workers exposed to infected patients, N95 respirators are recommended.”


Oprah’s show tomorrow will be a very informative show on how the bird flu could impact your day to day life.  No one knows exactly when the virus will mutate into a highly contagious form and this makes it difficult to plan ahead.  The importance of planning ahead is stressed by the CDC as it will likely be overwhelming when it does happen.  New Article About Oprah's Show

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Nicole Wilson
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