Megan Crewe has written a guest post to share her tips on how to survive a pandemic, which I think is definitely a fitting topic because the characters in The Way We Fall and The Lives We Lost are facing a deadly virus no one can stop! You might just find Megan's advice helpful in reality too...
First, the virus took Kaelyn’s friends. Then, her family. Now it’s taken away her home.
But she can't look back—the life she once had is gone forever.
A deadly virus has destroyed Kaelyn’s small island community and spread beyond the quarantine. No one is safe. But when Kaelyn finds samples of a vaccine in her father's abandoned lab, she knows there must be someone, somewhere, who can replicate it. As Kaelyn and her friends head to the mainland, they encounter a world beyond recognition. It’s not only the “friendly flu” that’s a killer—there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the vaccine. How much will Kaelyn risk for an unproven cure, when the search could either destroy those she loves or save the human race?
Megan Crewe's second volume in the Fallen World trilogy is an action-packed journey that explores the resilience of friendship, the ache of lost love, and Kaelyn’s enduring hope in the face of the sacrifices she must make to stay alive.
Tips for Surviving a Pandemic
The scenario presented in the Fallen World trilogy--a deadly virus that sweeps through the world's population--is one that's not quite as fictional as I'd like. In the past fifteen years we've had far too many public health scares, from West Nile and SARS to bird flu and H1N1. Thankfully, none of those has been anywhere near as deadly or difficult to contain as my made-up "friendly flu." But what if another, more deadly disease emerges in the real world? What can the average person do to increase their chances of survival in the case of a critical pandemic? Based on my research for the books, here are my best tips:
-Limit your exposure. You're best off staying away from public places as much as possible. But of course, until a complete state of emergency has been declared, that's not practical for most of us, so the next best thing is just to be alert to your surroundings. If you notice anyone with any symptoms of illness near you, move as far from them as you can get. Don't get into situations where you have to be squished next to strangers and can't move away, like an overcrowded train. If a friend is sick, you're better off not visiting them until they're well again. It may seem unfriendly, but this is survival we're talking about!
-Stay away from doctor's offices and hospitals, even if you're worried you might be sick. In the waiting rooms, there will be lots of people who really are sick, and if you aren't, or you have something not-so-serious, you're just exposing yourself to worse infections in your panic. Only turn to medical help if you absolutely need it.
-Wash your hands regularly. Most contagions spread through contact, and your hands are coming into contact with potentially contaminated surfaces all the time. Wash not just before you eat and after you use the bathroom, but frequently throughout the day to decrease your chances of infection.
-Even when you think your hands are clean, avoid touching your eyes. Your nose and mouth are relatively protected--most contagions that attempt to enter your body that way will be stopped by your body's natural defenses. But your eyes have no real barrier to foreign bodies, and if you happen to have some sort of dangerous microbe on your hand when you rub your eye, you've just given it a free pass.
-Be prepared for the worst. Keep a large stash of non-perishable foods and bottled water in your home. A portable generator could keep your essential appliances going if the electricity goes out; a camping stove and a supply of propane will allow you to keep cooking and boiling water to purify it; blankets and candles will provide you with warmth and light. Stockpile what you think you'd need in an emergency *before* an emergency arises, because when the crisis hits, everyone around you will be rushing to the stores fighting over the stock that's left, and you don't want to be out there in the midst of that chaos.
-If a friend or family member who's living with you gets sick, take every precaution you can when interacting with them. You're safest if they completely quarantine themselves in a room and you don't see them at all. But if you need to look after them or are unwilling to leave them to their own devices, wear protective clothing, especially over your nose and mouth, when you're in the room with them, that you take off after leaving, and wash yourself thoroughly after every visit with them. Avoid touching them or anything that's come out of their body. As cruel as it seems, they should understand, because they wouldn't want you to get sick too.
-Keep a low profile. If the situation gets really awful, the other survivors may turn to violence out of fear or a desire to gather resources. It's better if as few people as possible know you're still around and where you live. Only leave your home when you have to; avoid having lights on at night or making loud noises.
-Monitor available news sources. Have a battery-powered radio (and extra batteries) on hand in case the electricity goes out. Watch the TV news, scan the internet for information, or listen to the radio if that's all you have. You'll want to be among the first to know if the pandemic's spreading to your area, if there are treatments or vaccines available, or if supplies are being offered. With a little luck, you'll hear the good news that the virus has been contained before you have to do any of the steps above!
About the Author:
Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and two cats (and does on occasion say "eh"), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and--thankfully--the worst virus she's caught so far is the garden-variety flu.You can find a more detailed biography on her main website.
Giveaway! Thanks to Megan Crewe and Authors on the Web, I'll be giving away a paperback copy of The Way We Fall AND a hardcover copy of The Lives We Lost to one lucky reader!
- please fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter
- must have a US / Canada mailing address
- giveaway will end at 12:00 am on March 7, 2013
- winner will be contacted shortly afterwords
- do not leave your email address in the comments