Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Was that a major bait-and-switch, or what? Here we are pretty confident that the end of the world is going to be some sort of global economic meltdown and some wiseguy decides to let Captain Tripps loose in Mexico knowing it’ll make its ‘undocumented’ way across the border to infect those evil Americans.

Guess I’ll have to make sure we’re stocked up on disinfectant and that sort of thing.

I’m fortunate in that my work doesn’t put me into contact with too many people. The people I do come into contact with are usually fairly hygienic. The wife, on the other hand, deals with the wastes of society almost every day. I may have to design some sort of decontamination shower outside the house for her to use before being allowed in.

Hey, you know what one of the biggest vectors is for the spread of infectious disease? Theres the usual suspects – doorknobs, elevator buttons, telephones, etc. – but one of the biggest is money. It changes hands frequently, moves around all over the country, and spends time in peoples pockets with their Kleenex, and snuggles right next to those warm, moist parts of our anatomy that germs love so dearly. Money is some nasty stuff.

I suppose in a worst-case scenario therell be some fractures in the infrastructure…schools will close, delivery of goods and food may slow as truckers and shipping outfits deal with a sick workforce, people will get pushed further into a financial hole as one or both members of the household cant go in to work, etc, etc.

Disturbingly absent from the news out of Mexico is any indication either way about whether infected people who die are or are not ‘coming back’ with a hunger for brains. I believe the media is keeping a lid on that part at the behest of the .gov. Better play it safe and unpack the machetes.

So…you can’t just board yourself up in the house and stay put till its all over. Someone has to go to work, go shopping, etc, etc. Lets take some precautions. The missus and I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in the truck. Whenever we leave some major bacteriopallooza like WalMart the first thing we do is use a big dollop of that goo on our hands. Unless you’ve washed your hands or used some antibacterial on them, don’t touch your face, mouth, or any other body part with openings. Especially don’t walk through CostCo, pushing your cart with your hands on a germy shopping cart handle, and then use those same hands to pick up a slice of pizza in the food court. You may as well just wipe your pizza along the floor in the restrooms. Wash your freakin’ hands. If you can, be conscious of what youre handling…people a lot scuzzier, filthier and more diseased than you may have been using that phone, handled that shopping cart handle, pushed that elevator button, used that toilet seat, or typed with that keyboard. If you cant disinfect the object, then disinfect your hands after using that object. Or, to put it another way, pretend every item in the world is covered in a layer of dog crap. Now, after touching those items do you really want to pick up a hot dog, handle your kids food, put your wifes toothbrush in the medicine cabinet, or put a stick of gum in your mouth? Didn’t think so. Wash the hands. Often.

I’m a huge fan of those little bleach wipes that you see for sale these days. Clorox makes a ‘pocket pack’ of these things. I keep one in my bag at all times. In addition to wiping down the handles of shopping baskets and shopping carts it gives tremendous peace of mind if you have to use a public restroom. I try not to get fanatical about various products but I definitely recommend the Clorox pocket packs. Other companies make similar products and theyre probably just as good. Get some and use them.

Naturally, there are those who say that an opposite strategy is called for. Go lick doorknobs, roll around in medical waste, and eat spoiled food…it’ll build your immune system up to the point where you’ll be bulletproof. There may be a grain of truth to that for the kids. However, Im over 40..any immunities I was gonna build up are either there or theyre not. Im at the stage in my life where Im going to take every advantage I can and if that means a garden sprayer full of Clorox to disinfect my world and keep me from puking and coughing myself into an early grave, then so be it. If the massive-exposure-equals-massive-resistance school of thought is so darn effective then go have unprotected sex with a couple dozen crack whores…lemme know how that AIDS immunity thing works out for you.

On the less dramatic side, its always a good idea to be prepared for a shutdown or slowdown of the system that keeps gas at the filling station, food at the markets and money at the banks. Stored food, stored fuel, cash in the safe…if things became insanely weird and people had to stay in their homes we’d be set for quite some time. You should have all that stuff stored away by now anyway.

However, I’ll go on record saying that it isn’t going to come to that. Why? Because the US isn’t a Third World country like China or Mexico when it comes to this sort of thing. That’s not racism or blind nationalism talking…that’s the facts. Think about these words: Mexican health care system…Chinese infectious disease response plan…. Either of those sound terribly confidence inspiring? Fact is, despite what gasbags like Michael Moore might say, the US probably has some of the most advanced medical research, treatment and production capabilities on the planet. (A side effect, so to speak, of the ‘for profit’ medical system in this country.) If there is any country on this planet that can put the brakes on a disease or ailment its probably this one or one just as advanced. Mexico and China? They get diseases, they don’t cure them. Will the US see outbreaks of this ‘Mexican flu’? Of course. But I would almost guarantee that the rate of death from it will be lowest in the US compared to any other country. And it will probably be the least disruptive in this country…that’s not to say there won’t be disruptions, just that compared to other countries we’ll be getting off light.

Of course, playing the odds isn’t what people like you and I do in regards to things like this. We look at a 90% chance of nothing happening as a 10% chance of a trainwreck. Nothing wrong with that…better to have it and not need it, etc, etc. So..I’ll keep an eye on the news, try to read between the lines, and take any preventative steps that I think we need to take. Right now I think Im just going to make sure we have a couple gallons of fresh bleach, some more bleach wipes, cold/flu meds, and do a little research on other pandemics.