Primer on Pathogens: Part 3/3

Sometimes you need to take a silly quiz to learn a point.

That’s why I like The Ultimate Zombie Apocalypse Survival Quiz. Now, of course, the quiz is in jest but it brings up several important points when we talk about pathogens and your susceptibility to them. How are zombies often made– by an infectious disease process– at least in books and movies.

But it also examines survival techniques. Have you thought through aspects of survival in your mind? The more you rehearse emergencies– the more apt you are to act. This is one reason why we practice “mock codes” in the hospital setting. Thinking through your response on a mannequin several times makes it less scary when a real person is involved. 

Let’s look at several of these factors.

Your age. Typically the ends of the spectrum are more susceptible to illness. The very old and young for instance. This is why we are super cautious in pediatrics during an infant’s first 30 days of life. A very low temp (anything 100.4 or greater) is concerning and will likely buy the infant a septic work-up. You can read a post I did about newborn septic work-ups here and why babies in their first two months of life should be sheltered in– particularly in the winter.

Where you live. People living more close together have the opportunity to spread disease more easily. This is why when school season starts we see an increase in illness– things like strep throat and meningitis. Because you’re lumping 20-30 (or more) kids in a classroom. Close contact=ease of transmission.

Your general state of health: Obviously, someone who has a healthy immune system and good general health will be able to fight off infection more easily.

Your occupation: When I first started working in pediatrics they warned me about the “Children’s Crud.” It’s not unusual for healthcare workers (those working taking care of people with infectious disease) to get sick a lot in their first couple of months. Suddenly, their immune system is exposed to LOTS of new bugs it hasn’t seen before. Now, I don’t get sick very often because my immune system has been primed for several different types of pathogens. However, my husband came down with a very common pediatric infectious illness from one of our daughters. “Why didn’t you get sick?” he asked. It’s simple– my immune system has seen this bug literally hundreds of times and it laughs it off now.

When I first took the Zombie Survival quiz– I answered fairly honestly with my current state of health. My chances of surviving a zombie apocalypse was 78.8%. 

When I took it a second time– making my health and survival knowledge much worse my score was 35.7%

How about you? How well is your body at fighting off infection? How well do you think you’d survive a Zombie Apocalypse?

If you take the quiz and post your score– there will be a chance to win one copy of either Proof or Poison— your choice. Winner announced Monday, July 29th! Must live in the USA.

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