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Seven Steps You Can Take Now To Prepare For A Pandemic

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  • Seven Steps You Can Take Now To Prepare For A Pandemic

    Seven Steps You Can Take Now To Prepare For A Pandemic

    Covering Pandemic and Seasonal Flu, H5N1 `Bird Flu, Emerging Infectious Diseases, public health, community & Individual preparedness, and anything else that piques my admittedly eclectic interests

    # 2215

    While we don't know when the next pandemic will arrive, or even what virus may spark it, we do know that it is just a matter of time before it happens again.

    Influenza pandemics come around, on average, every 30 to 40 years.

    It's been 40 years since the last one.

    While many people will wait until a pandemic starts before they do anything about preparing, the smart money is on preparing early. Once a pandemic outbreak becomes apparent, the ability to prepare may be limited.

    Here are 7 steps you can take now to prepare for a pandemic.

    1. Become Informed. Visit and plan to spend some time reading the information there. Particularly the page on personal preparedness for a pandemic.

    CIDRAP (Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy) is another reputable source for pandemic information and news. You should also check your local or State's Health Department webpage on pandemic influenza.
    And of course, I can heartily recommend a short list of flu bloggers, including SophiaZoe, Crof, Scott McPherson, and the Reveres at Effect Measure.

    2.Get your flu shot every year. They aren't expected to be effective against a pandemic flu strain, but some studies suggest they may confer some slight immunity.

    Not enough, perhaps, to keep you from catching pandemic flu, but hopefully enough to help blunt its effects a bit.

    Besides, a pandemic strain will likely be spreading at the same time as seasonal flu. It would be helpful to know that, if you got sick, it was likely to be the pandemic strain and not seasonal flu.

    3. Talk to your Doctor about the PPV shot. The Adult-dose 23-valent Pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine (PPV) provides protection against 23 of the most common types of pneumococcal bacteria.

    Bacterial pneumonia, secondary to an influenza virus infection, is believed to have been the cause of a large portion of the high mortality rate during the 1918 pandemic. While not 100% effective, the PPV vaccine will reduce the odds of acquiring secondary pneumonia.

    Normally this vaccine is given to those over the age of 50, or those with chronic health problems.

    You should talk to your doctor to see if this vaccination is appropriate for you. Often these shots are available at pharmacies and supermarkets that hold flu vaccination clinics.

    4. Make a written pandemic plan for your family and/or your business. To get you started, the HHS has a series of checklists for families, businesses, and schools. The ones listed below are just a small sample of those available.

    5. Follow the advice of the HHS and stockpile at least 2-weeks of food, water, and essential supplies. And don't forget the first aid kit!

    Americans are urged to do so, not only for a pandemic, but for any other disaster that might occur. Here is part of the government's advice:

    Be Prepared
    Stock a supply of water and food. During a pandemic you may not be able to get to a store. Even if you can get to a store, it may be out of supplies. Public waterworks services may also be interrupted. Stocking supplies can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages and disasters. Store foods that:
    • are nonperishable (will keep for a long time) and don't require refrigeration
    • are easy to prepare in case you are unable to cook
    • require little or no water, so you can conserve water for drinking
    See a checklist of items to have on hand for an extended stay at home.

    While 2-weeks is a good start, many agencies and organizations are suggesting up to 3 months of supplies.

    A good source of information for preparing for a pandemic can be found at Get Pandemic Ready. This website has dozens of easy-to-follow guides on how to stockpile food, and handle emergency lighting, heating, and cooking . . . among other things.

    6. Talk to your doctor about getting at least a month's extra supply of any critical prescriptions you, or your family, may rely on. The AMA has recently endorsed the idea that people should have extra meds on hand in case of a disaster.

    Personal medication supply in times of disaster: Earthquakes, hurricanes and floods have headlined recent news reports. This new policy supports allowing all patients with chronic medical conditions to maintain an emergency reserve of prescription medications

    7. Talk to your friends and neighbors, local government leaders, your local PTA, and anyone else you know and encourage them to become educated and prepare as well. If you belong to a civic organization, private club, neighborhood watch, or a church, consider enlisting their help in preparing your community.

    The HHS has provided toolkits for communities to do just that.

    Talking Points
    Pandemic Flu Preparedness (PDF - 53.05 KB)
    How to Get Your Peers Involved (PDF - 58.56 KB)
    Fact Sheets
    Pandemic Flu Basics (PDF - 59.75 KB)
    Community-Based Interventions (PDF - 51.42 KB)

    Pandemic Flu Preparedness (PDF - 64.29 KB)
    Stocking Food and Supplies (PDF - 65.27 KB)
    Food and Supplies Drive (PDF - 66.72 KB)

    Sample Newsletter Articles
    Pandemic Flu Preparedness (PDF - 44.54 KB)
    Stocking Food and Supplies (PDF - 67.04 KB)
    Good Health Habits (PDF - 55.05 KB)
    How to Get Involved (PDF - 45.5 KB)
    Sample E-mails
    Pandemic Flu Preparedness (PDF - 46.71 KB)
    Stocking Food and Supplies (PDF - 65.27 KB)
    Good Health Habits (PDF - 46.96 KB
    How to Get Involved (PDF - 45.15 KB)
    'Chain' E-mail (PDF - 50.39 KB)

    Cover Your Cough (PDF - 90.72 KB)
    Food Drive Template (PDF - 51.8 KB)
    Incentive Ideas (PDF - 49.2 KB)
    Links to Internet Resources (PDF - 47.93 KB)
    Complete 'Take the Lead' Toolkit (PDF - 377.34 KB)

    We are each only as prepared as the community that we live in.

    By taking these 7 steps now, you will be well ahead of the crowds once a pandemic begins. You can then take additional steps to protect you, your family, your community, and your business once a pandemic outbreak is announced.

    But the important thing is to begin now.

    posted by FLA_MEDIC @ 7:06 AM

  • #2
    Re: Seven Steps You Can Take Now To Prepare For A Pandemic

    Sept 29, 2008

    The Importance Of Having A Plan

    # 2341

    While the death toll from Hurricane Ike hovers around 60 nationwide, two weeks after it came ashore on Galveston Island, roughly 400 people still remain unaccounted for.

    The video below comes from KHOU - TV and is from a Sept 28th newscast.

    Hopefully some of the missing are in shelters somewhere, and simply haven't managed to contract friends or relatives.

    Sadly, others are probably victims of the storm. The fear is that an unknown number of people who remained on the barrier islands may have washed out to sea.

    Not knowing is a terrible burden for the friends and families of the missing.

    One of the tenants of any emergency plan is having a way to contact one-another after a crisis. There should be a standardized meeting place as well.

    The following good advice comes from the website.

    Make A Plan

    Family Emergency Plan

    <hr> Download the PDF Family Emergency Plan.
    Download the XLS Family Emergency Plan.
    Acrobat Reader Excel 2003 Viewer
    Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations.

    Family Emergency Plan

    • It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
    • Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has coins or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact.
    • You may have trouble getting through, or the telephone system may be down altogether, but be patient.

    Emergency Information

    Find out what kinds of disasters, both natural and man-made, are most likely to occur in your area and how you will be notified. Methods of getting your attention vary from community to community. One common method is to broadcast via emergency radio and TV broadcasts. You might hear a special siren, or get a telephone call, or emergency workers may go door-to-door.

    Emergency Plans

    You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one. Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together in the event of an emergency. You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance. Read more: School and Workplace.

    Preparedness for any emergency, not just a pandemic, needs to become a way of life in our nation.

    Disasters happen.

    Hang around long enough, and the odds are one will happen near you.

    It only makes sense to be prepared for it when it does.