I hope you noticed that all the stories we did Monday for "Swine Flu 101" have a common theme running through them: Don't panic, but be prepared.

I'm not saying swine flu is the outbreak. But just like earthquakes in San Francisco, you never know when it's going to be the "big one."

So, whether it's a major outbreak, a giant earthquake, a tornado, the four horsemen of the apocalypse or nothing, it's always smart to take smart steps.

Whichever way it goes (and I hope and pray this is not it), you'll find you feel no need to panic, if you're prepared. We've gone through what this outbreak looks like now and what you should do. We've looked at what the stakes are, with the history of the 1918 pandemic that killed a hundred million people, as well as the stakes of government mixing bad science and politics in 1976. And you know that even if this stays centered in Mexico, how this could potentially devastate an economy that the military says is about as likely to fail as Pakistan. (Wouldn't it be nice if we could secure the border?)

Armed with all of this knowledge, you can hope for the best, but you are prepared for the worst. The government will tell you "now is not the time for panic," but if we all just take simple steps to get ready, we'll realize the time for panic never comes.

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