As global health authorities are rushing to contain what looks like a growing swine flu epidemic, experts have offered protection and survival tips.
The current outbreak originated from Mexico, and by Monday 20 cases have been confirmed in the U.S., prompting the government to declare a public health emergency.
Although the authorities have sought to calm fears, it is wise to take basic precautions to avoid infection.
The surest ways to avoid contracting swine flu is frequent hand washing and wearing a mask in public.
In an outbreak, it is generally a good idea to stay indoors and avoid congregating in public or crowded spaces as well as kissing and hugging.
While these are the most immediate measures to be taken when an outbreak is already under way, individuals can also do much to increase their chances of survival in the longer term.
One survival website expert recommends having one to three months’ worth of supplies at home, including food, water, fuel, candles and first aid kits with anti-viral and other medications. This is especially important given that epidemics can come in waves of outbreaks.
Stored food should be similar to what the family normally eats and as much of it as possible should be "ready to eat" in case one is sick and not able to prepare a meal.
Dried or canned food, which lasts longer, is the best option when preparing for survival during an epidemic.