High Demand for Potassium Iodine Reply

Potassium-Iodine-65mgWhen this current flap dies down, consider buying potassium iodine as a just-in-case drug for your emergency medical kit.

The current rush to purchase (by civilians) is likely due to Japanese nuclear debris which is now washing up on the beaches of the west coast of the United States.   This development, combined with the U.S. government’s huge order for an unspecified purpose in the same time frame, demonstrates that existing stockpiles will instantly disappear if this emergency drug is ever needed; thus the need to maintain your own supply.

Liquid potassium iodine which is often sold for this purpose, is generally inadequate to the task.  If you don’t have medical expertise to guide your purchase selection, you may want to follow the U.S. government specs which are included below.

A U.S. government purchase solicitation recently posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, indicates that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has sought an emergency purchase of  potassium iodide tablets, 65mg each, packaged in unit dose packages of 20 tablets.  This DHS purchase was for 700,000 packages (of 20s), for a total of 14 million tablets.  The supplier must deliver these packages of medicine before February 2, 2014.
Drug Purpose:  Potassium iodide helps block the absorption of radiation by the thyroid gland which is easily damaged by exposure.  These tablets will not stop severe radiation poisoning, but they may reduce the damage to a human body which has been, or may become exposed to lower levels of radiation.  
These tablets have traditionally been used to aid victims of nuclear accidents, and proactively by members of the military and emergency workers who may become exposed to radiation in the near future.  
Under current regulations, U.S. state governments which have populations living within 10 miles of a nuclear plant, are encouraged to maintain a supply of potassium iodide.  However, this is not a federal mandate.  

The current purchase quantity by DHS of these tablets is unprecedented in recent years and reflects a perceived need for this drug domestically.  (

DHS does not stockpile supplies intended for military use.)  Information regarding the size of the U.S. military’s inventory and recent purchase activity which may have been made by the Department of Defense, is not available.

Health Risk: West Nile Virus 1

Dark green indicates concentrations of reported cases of the West Nile Virus.  Source: U.S. Government, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the last decade more than 30,000 Americans have become ill, and 118 have died as a result of the West Nile Virus.  This problem is growing and spreading, and has now become a serious national health threat.

Infected mosquitoes are spreading this disease which can cause death and serious life-altering effects.  In the United States, two-thirds of the cases have been reported from six states: Texas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Mississippi, Michigan, and Oklahoma, and 40 percent of all cases have been reported from Texas.  However, even if you live in a State other than these, it is now prudent to take precautions as the disease is quickly spreading.  It is time for everyone to take prevention seriously.

How-To Protect Yourself

To reduce the risk of contracting this West Nile Virus, follow these simple steps:

1. Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, as these are the times of day when mosquitoes are most active.

2.  When going outdoors, dress in clothing that is loose fitting and covers as much skin as possible.  Shirts should have long sleeves, and pants should be long enough to cover shoe tops.  Light-color clothing may provide some additional protection.

3.  When going outside, defend yourself against mosquitoes by using an insect repellant that contains a high percentage of DEET (50-99%).  Or, less effective but still helpful, are commercial or home-made repellants which contain picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.  For outdoor living, mosquito traps can help, and some report a reduction in the number of mosquitoes by burning citronella candles.  However, these typically have no favorable effect unless the air is totally calm.

4.  Drain standing water in your yard and neighborhood.  Stagnant water is a prime breeding area for mosquitoes.  Swimming pools, rivers and creeks with moving water are usually not a problem.  The problem is stagnant water; water that is not flowing or moving.  Even small areas of stagnant water are a problem, such as:  stagnant ponds, flower pots, water dishes, bird baths, wading pools, and even potholes and tire ruts which have collected water.  These are a problem and should be drained.

Though it can be somewhat effective to add a few drops of oil to the surface of a stagnant pond, sufficient to form a sheen on the surface, this is not good for the environment.  Nor is it good for fish, frogs, birds, and other small creatures which might drink from the pond.  Though the oil may create a somewhat effective barrier against mosquito breeding, it is far better to drain the water rather than try to treat it.

Insect-Repellents, click on the text to the left to download a CDC 2-page PDF document, written by Centers for Disease Control staff, which describes the effectiveness of different insect repellent products for use on skin and clothing.

Insect-Repellents-TopRated, click on the text to the left to download a PDF product review of the most popular grocery-store variety of insect repellents.  This review was conducted by an independent consumer agency.

 

Symptoms of West Nile Virus

Those infected with the West Nile Virus may not experience any symptoms at all, but generally there will be flu-like symptoms plus some of these additional conditions:  High fever, extreme headache, severe neck pain, slurred speech, lack of coordination (dropping things more often than usual, stumbling, balance problems, etc.).  If you are experiencing some of these conditions in addition to flu-like symptoms, visit your doctor or hospital emergency room.

Animal Infections

Animal infections have now been reported in all 50 States, so the spread of this disease to humans in other North America locales is eminent.

Non-human Infections: West Nile Virus infections have been reported to CDC ArboNET from the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Human Infections:  2,963 human West Nile Virus infections have been reported to CDC ArboNET from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Statistics on the West Nile Virus

Source of All Statistics Cited:  U.S. Government, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.CDC.gov.  Unfortunately, we do not have reliable statistics for Mexico, but for information on the spread of this disease in Canada, visit:  http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/wnv-vwn/index.html