Medical Quarantine – Protecting Your Family from Infection

Cholerabaracke in Hamburg während der Cholerae...

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Plague.  Yellow fever.  Cholera.  Diphtheria.   

Diseases which evoke images of death and despair.  

Though less likely to transmit a fatal illness, would you open your door to someone with hepatitis, strep throat, or methacillin-resistant staph?  What about a person suffering from vomiting, diarrhea, a cough, or lice, or a fever?  Are you immune to measles, polio, and whooping cough – and would you even recognize these conditions?  How will you know if someone is going to come down with influenza in the next day or two?

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About Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

CYNTHIA J KOELKER , MD is a board-certified family physician with over twenty years of clinical experience. A member of American Mensa, Dr. Koelker holds degrees in biology, humanities, medicine, and music from M.I.T., Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the University of Akron. She served in the National Health Service Corps to finance her medical education.
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2 Responses to Medical Quarantine – Protecting Your Family from Infection

  1. GoneWithTheWind says:

    In a situation where doctors, hospitals, and healthcare were not available I would not take in anyone who had a serious illness. Obviously it is possible to not know someone is sick and be exposed and that is hard to prevent. But it would be insane to take in a person with a serious infectious disease and put your family at risk.

    [I agree special precautions are mandatory. Watch for future articles on medical isolation. – Doc Cindy]

  2. Bruce says:

    Great article, and a good starting point for further study on communicable diseases.

    We plan to use our small guest house and camper for isolation/quarantine purposes as they are self-contained and fairly comfortable, with their own bathrooms. They may get a lot of use too, as it’s no secret to family/old friends that our lifestyle and location would have many benefits in a disaster. They don’t know the depth of our preps, but we’d likely still be a magnet in any prolonged emergency assuming they could get here. We’ve planned for this, and it’s actually to our benefit as well, as the one resource we’ll be short on is manpower. I also created a custom medical history form to be filled out by each, but it’s a constant ‘work in progress’ as I learn more.

    Looking forward to the article on isolation of obviously ill guests. As you mentioned in the article, would a layman even recognize a particular disease when they saw it? In my case, maybe – if it was uncomplicated and exhibited classical symptoms (and after much study). Probably not otherwise.

    As a suggestion/side note, I’d be willing to pay to read a transcript of two doctors discussing their concerns and how they would treat illnesses in their own family members in a disaster, without access to laboratory tests beyond what they could perform themselves, with no option of hospitalization, and using only the resources available in their homes or offices.

    [Thank you, Bruce. I will see if I can arrange the discussion you mention. Any docs out there want to be a part? Just reply to this comment and I’ll email you privately. – Doc Cindy]

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