Monday, April 02, 2007

What a mom can do:

Today's guest blog entry is by Hope C., who lives Fairfield, Conn. The writer is a mother of two boys, ages 2 and 1, (with another one on the way).

When I was a little girl, my mother drove around town in our station wagon while I stood in the back of her car with my arm draped over the top of the seat. It was 1972; car seats weren’t yet law and parents were blissfully unaware of the many things we now know can harm children. While we’re better for the information we have today to protect our kids, the amount of it can be overwhelming and confusing. So last week when my sister (who works at the American Public Health Association) asked me if I had any emergency supplies set aside for the family for a public health emergency, such as pandemic flu or a flood, I fought the urge to immediately strangle her. At this moment, I am eight months pregnant and spend most of my time chasing my two little boys, both of whom are under the age of 3. Most days I am just grateful if my boys don’t grab anything hot or heavy -– let alone think about what I would do to protect my family in the event of a public health disaster.

In spite of my irritation with my well-meaning sister’s question about the number of gallons of water in my basement, I now find myself thinking about what little things I could do to prepare. What would my children do if we didn’t have access to food or clean water? My eyes suddenly welled up with tears when I thought of the mothers at the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina, crying to the news cameras that their children were hungry.

I know there will be many things I can’t protect my children from. I know that no matter how hard I try, my sons will run at top speed in the park and occasionally skin their knees in the process. I know that no matter how hard I try to clean their little hands, some other mucous-filled child will come along and sneeze on my kid giving him a cold. I know that no matter how hard I try, life is a messy unpredictable thing that I have limited control over. But, I’m a mother -– and my job is to protect them from what I can when it’s within my power and good for my children. Which is why I went to the grocery store last night and bought 20 gallons of water to put in our basement. Hopefully, we’ll never need it.

Editors Note: What motivates you to prepare? Use the comment tool (below) to let us know.


Anonymous said...

Where I live, there was a water main break recently and I was without water for a few days. I came to realize just how much I depend on tap water -- from washing my dishes and hands to brushing my teeth, flushing the toilet and showering, water is essential! (Try living without it and you will really see.) I had a few gallons of water stored, but it definitely was not enough. This experience motivated me to stock more water, and to be more prepared in general.

APHA Flu Team said...

Thanks for sharing your comment. It is important to remind us that it doesn't need to take large pandemics to get us to prepare - often these needs manifest themselves in smaller ways, like our reader illustrated.

Bottom line, if you are prepared it will help for many, many situations!

Anonymous said...

Reading "What a mom can do" made me think of something I could have done but didn't My son, 17, has asthma, and it gets worse when he's sick. Two weeks ago, all of his friends started coming down with the flu and of course, he came down with it, too. By day 3, he was having so much trouble breathing that I had to take him to the emergency room -- these things alwys seem to happen at night. As we drove to the hospital, I realized that I had forgotten to get him a flu shot.

Every year, we are bombarded with information on TV, newspapers, etc., about how important it is for people with asthma to get flu shots. Now I know why! If you have asthma, a simple cold can turn into a life-threatening situation, so you can imagine how bad the flu can be. My son is okay now -- we were in the emergency room for about two hours and they gave him three rounds of albuterol through the nebulizer, but I can't help but think we could have avoided that trip to the emergency room if he'd had a flu shot!

Anonymous said...

In the winter of 99, there was an ice storm in my town. Most folks lost power -- some for days. We were lucky -- ours was out for about 14 hours, but I will never forget how cold it got during that freezing cold night without heat. It was impossible to sleep.

The next day, things got worse. Even the grocery stores were operating on back-up generators, and most of the shelves were empty.
It was the first time in my life that I realized that no matter how self-reliant we think we are, we are not! There are so many things that we take for granted because things usually go right. But when something goes wrong, it really hits home.

Anyway, for a while, a year or so,I kept some supplies on hand but I have long since let that go. Reading about this has me thinking that I should start stocking up again.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm seems a lot of people are storing water, but I often wonder how long stored water will last before it becomes stale? Somewhere I read that water should be rotated after six months. Also makes me think that if we are going to be making emergency supply kits, we need to crack them open every six months and feast on the granola bars and crackers, etc. before bugs get into them or they get stale. Then we can go shopping and buy new stuff for another six months!
Of course, canned goods last longer, but again, I don't know how long.