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Member since: Thu Dec 1, 2016, 01:13 AM
Number of posts: 4,074

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Instead of more of Trump's bullshit, why not watch (and spread) this great video

from the New Zealand government:


With bonus Taika Waititi.

If I were a journalist in the public interest

instead of showing punch-ups in the grocery aisles, I would have nutritional experts on showing what a pile of food that can last a month would actually look like. I guarantee it's a lot less than what most Americans think it is.

It reminds me of those photo essays where people travel around the world and take pictures of what a family in each country lives on for a week. Inevitably in Peru it's like a ziploc bag's worth of dried beans and in Indianapolis it's the entire kitchen counter's worth of potato chips.

Something like that would be very relevant to calming public fears that they don't have enough and need 50kg bags of rice and a whole shopping bag's worth of chocolate bars.

Get an expert on public utilities to explain why the water isn't going to be turned off and you're not going to lose electricity or internet access.

The media has this po-faced attitude like "Look at all these idiots going berserk" but they're not making any effort to provide the information that will allay peoples' fears. I know that part of this is the government's job but the media doesn't depend on the government to do it.

How a functioning democracy would be managing this at a federal level


The Prime Minister of New Zealand just introduced a national alert system with four levels so that local authorities have clear direction on which activities need to be stopped at different times. Different cities and states can be at different levels depending on whether there is community transmission or not but everyone is speaking the same language and there are clear guidelines on how to implement the strategy at each level.

She addressed the nation and her key message was "We know how to rally. We know how to look after one another. Be strong, be kind, and unite against Covid-19."

I can't imagine trying to go through this with Donald Trump or Boris Johnson at the helm. This is toddler-level stuff that even GWB managed.

How to nurse yourself through pneumonia at home

I'm not a medical professional and qualifying this up-front by saying if you have symptoms of pneumonia you should try to get to see your doctor. But there's an increasing risk that a lot of people are not going to be able to get in to see a doctor or are going to have symptoms just short of needing to be hospitalised and will need to take care of themselves at home. For many cases of pneumonia you will be told to go home, rest and stay hydrated.

I did this last year for about a month and thought it might be helpful to talk about what I did (or wish I had done) and the kinds of easy things I think people could be doing to prepare for that potential situation. Happy for anyone else who has had the experience or who is a medical professional to weigh in.

1. What does it feel like?

You will be as tired as you have ever felt. All the time. You will get winded walking ten steps from the sofa to the fridge and will need to sit or lie down. You will be too tired to change clothes without falling over. You will hold off using the bathroom until the last possible second because walking to the toilet feels like too much effort. If you are reading or watching something funny you will have to stop because every time you laugh it turns into gasping for breath. But most of the time you will be too tired to read or watch TV anyway.

2. What will you not be doing for those three or four weeks?

In addition to the obvious stuff, you will not be doing laundry, washing dishes, cleaning anything, cooking anything that requires sustained standing up for more than 30 seconds, going out of your house, coming up with innovative alternatives to normal supplies you ran out of, passing the time constructively by reading Hegel or learning a new musical instrument.

3. What can you do while you're still well to help prepare?

- Clean and organise everything while you are well. You want to start from a pretty good point because it's all downhill as soon as you start getting really sick. Living in squalor and not being able to find anything just makes you feel worse.
- Wash all your bedding.
- Make real chicken stock and beef broth and freeze it.
- Buy enough toilet paper to last you a month. Don't let the haters shame you. You are not going to be screwing around with bidets (if you aren't used to them) or anything that has to be cleaned when you have pneumonia.
- Buy biodegradable disposable plates, cups, bowls, cutlery.
- Buy healthy food that is easy to prepare when you are sick. Hot brothy stuff will hit the spot. I lived off of raisin bran, frozen dumplings, canned mandarin oranges, chicken broth, tea and honey, tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for three weeks.
- Make menu plans for three or four weeks that revolve around shelf-stable or freezable ingredients that you can batch cook and reheat as leftovers. Have as much as possible in the house so you don't have to go to the store or even get up meet the delivery person and then unpack all the groceries. A freezer full of chili con carne is a God-send if you like it. Don't include foods you don't really like because you feel like that's what you should be eating. Think about the stuff you crave when you're sick and go with it (or at least the version you can cram some fruits and veggies into.)
- Get a small trash can with a foot pedal and a lid. Get some bags to line it. Put it next to the sofa or chair where you plan to spend your days. You will be coughing up more crud than you would ever imagine possible and you will be too tired to get up to throw the tissue away.
- If you have pets, make plans to have someone else take care of them. You will not be walking the dog or emptying the litter tray.
- Put as many bills as you can on auto-pay if you haven't already or set alarms on you computer or phone to remind you to pay them. You're not going to know what day it is for a while.
- Stock up on your usual flu remedies and anything else that makes you feel comfortable, like chocolate. You need to be saving your whole week's worth of reserve energy to take the trash out, not trying to figure out how much dish soap to use in the dishwasher if you're used to using powder but ran out or improvising tooth paste from baking powder. If having paper towels means the difference to you between wiping up a spill right away and letting it fester for three weeks, buy extra paper towels. Seriously. Treat yourself.
- Load up your tablet, laptop, Netflix queue (whatever you have) with time-sucking mindless entertainment. Anything that will kill the hours while making zero demands on you. I suggest Candy-crush types apps.
- Have lots of warm fuzzy socks and several blankets in each room you plan to spend time so you don't have to carry them around.
- Build up your immune system now. Eat a healthy diet, get lots of sleep and do light exercise.

4. What can you do while you're sick?

- Don't lie in bed all day even though you want to. It's harder to sleep at night if you lay in bed all day and you need all the sleep you can get. Also your system needs to drain and you don't want to get bed sores. Find a day-time place where you can prop yourself up at a 45 degree angle and spend as much of the day there as you can. Put everything that you need within easy reach of that place.
- If you can't sleep at night, try propping yourself up with some extra pillows. Time your medications so they are at peak effectiveness at bedtime. See if sleeping on the sofa is more comfortable. Try chamomile tea. The most important thing you can do is get as much natural sleep as possible.
- Drink lots of hot liquids. Hold them under your nose so you get the benefit of the steam as well. Peppermint tea is a winner because there's no caffeine and drinking it every hour or two won't make you buzzy. See if you can find LemSip. It's magic.
- If it's at all possible, try to spend at least a little part of the day sitting in the sunlight where there is fresh air. Maybe you have a patio or balcony or can set up a chair near a sunny window. It makes the world of difference even if its just five minutes.
- Any tiny little sliver of energy that you may have left should go towards taking out the trash and cleaning up/clearing away obvious sources of bacteria or mold or mildew in your kitchen or bathroom. You're already fighting off one bug. Don't expose your system to more. Your lungs will also be aggravated by ammonia smells and mold or mildew growing on food you haven't thrown away.
- The steam from hot baths and showers will help clear out your lungs if you can get in or out safely and/or stand up long enough.
- Keep calling your doctor if you are having significant problems breathing or have a very high fever

Anything else? Sorry if this is all obvious, but trying to think of things that people might not have considered if they've never had to deal with a really serious respiratory problem at home and on their own before. Better to do something constructive with all that worry instead of watching the same thing on the news over and over for hours.
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