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Preparing for a Pandemic Flu

A pandemic is a global disease outbreak that occurs when a new virus emerges for which people have little or no immunity, and there’s no vaccine. Recent pandemic outbreaks include the H1N1 flu, Avian Flu, MERS, Ebola and the Enterovirus. These diseases spread easily person-to-person, cause serious and life-threatening illness, and can sweep across the country and around the world in very short time. There have been three pandemic outbreaks in the last 100 years, killing 800,000 people here in the U.S. and over 50 million worldwide.

Before a Pandemic

  • If there is a threat of a pandemic, stockpile extra food and water in case you cannot get to the store or if they run out of supplies.
  • Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to make sure you have a continuous supply in your home.
  • Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
  • Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference.

During a Pandemic

  • During an outbreak, reduce the risk of becoming infected or infecting others by avoiding crowded settings, washing your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing and properly discarding used tissues.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you must come in contact with a sick person, wear protective gear including a mask and gloves.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
  • When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. Stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick to prevent others from catching your illness.

How to be More Prepared

In the event of a pandemic outbreak, it is important to keep a two-week supply of food, water, and prescription medicine at home, plus protective gear if you are caring for the sick. Here are products that can help your family and you prepare for the pandemic flu or other type of outbreak.