As health experts expect the H1N1 flu outbreak to intensify in the fall, Consumer Reports has put together guidelines to help Americans protect themselves from the potentially fatal disease.
"This could be an especially big year for flu, so people need to take every precaution and double their efforts to safeguard their families," says Joel Keehn, senior editor of Consumer Reports.
The publication recommends that each household prepare an emergency kit for a flu outbreak in case prolonged home confinement becomes necessary.
In addition to regular prescription medications family members may need to use, such a kit should include fever reducers, cough and cold medications as well as lozenges and electrolyte drinks to stay hydrated. In addition, hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol are very useful as they can kill viruses when soap and water are not readily available.
Several changes of surgical masks to help prevent spreading the infection may also be a good idea.
An emergency kit should furthermore include a two-week supply of food and water, antihistamines for allergic reactions, pain relievers as well as stomach and antidiarrhea remedies.