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.