Prepare for Pandemic Influenza
As in other emergencies, pandemic influenza could affect everyday life. Schools and businesses might be closed, travel could be limited, and there may be some shortages during an influenza pandemic. By preparing now, you can help protect yourself and your family when a pandemic does occur.
- Use an emergency planning checklist
- Keep a supply of essential supplies at home (such as food, water, medicine), as for any emergency.
- Volunteer with local organizations to help in emergency response.
- Stay informed about pandemic influenza.
Following simple preventive steps will help keep all of us healthy from “normal” flu and many other illnesses in our communities.
In general, it is important to avoid close contact with people who are sick and to stay home when you are sick. Washing your hands thoroughly and often; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze will also help protect you and reduce the spread of disease.
What to Do if a Pandemic Occurs
If an influenza pandemic occurs, many of the precautions will be the same as mentioned above. However, some additional considerations include contacting your health care provider if you become sick, staying at home if you have been exposed to someone else who is sick (even when you do not have symptoms), and avoiding large crowds or gatherings.
In a pandemic, you would also be encouraged to be aware of the most up-to-date information. Your local public health agency will likely have additional prevention information or instructions that may be helpful.
Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is an antiviral medication that is active against influenza A and B viruses. When taken within the first 24-48 hours after onset of influenza symptoms, the medication may shorten the duration if illness and decrease the severity of illness. Tamiflu (oseltamivir) has never been used for the widespread control of epidemics of influenza. It is not recommended that you obtain a prescription of Tamiflu.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Always cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Limit your time in crowds.
- Consider staying home if you have been near someone who was sick.