EVERYONE HAS A ROLE IN PREPARING FOR AN INFLUENZA PANDEMIC!
Being prepared will help bring peace of mind and confidence to deal with a disaster, including a pandemic. The best way for you and your family to prepare is by knowing some basic facts on what may happen during a pandemic. Usual services including those provided by hospitals and other healthcare facilities, banks, restaurants, government offices, utility companies and post offices may be disrupted. Schools and daycare centers may be closed for an extended period of time. Preparing now and practicing basic infection control principles will protect you and your family against communicable diseases and will limit the effects of pandemic influenza.
Basic Infection Control Principles
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand cleanser
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
- Avoid crowds
- If you are sick, stay home and away from other people as much as possible
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Clean surfaces regularly with disinfectant
- Develop preparedness plans
- Educate yourself and family on pandemic flu
Non-pharmaceutical interventions are community strategies that delay or reduce the impact of a pandemic. The goals of non-pharmaceutical interventions are to delay and/or reduce the spread of disease until a vaccine is available, decrease the epidemic peak and reduce the total number of cases.
Examples of Non-pharmaceutical Interventions
- Dismissal of students from schools and school-based activities
- Closure of childcare programs
- Request of ill people to stay at home and not go to work or out into the community
- Recommendation of social distancing among adults
- Cancellation of large public gatherings
- Changing work place environments and schedules
- Establishment or enhancement of sick-leave policies that enable employees to work from home
Tips for People with Medical Needs
- Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.*
- Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand*:
- Pain relievers
- Stomach remedies
- Cough and cold medicines
- Fluids with electrolytes
- Have a list of all your medications:
- Name of medication
- Dose and frequency
- Name of prescribing doctor
- At all times, have an emergency bag packed with:
- Medication list
- Extra medical supplies and medications*
- Copies of medical history and vital medial papers such as insurance card, power of attorney, etc.
* Be sure to check all medications on a regular basis for expiration dates.
Tips for People with Mobility Impairments
- Store emergency supplies in a bag attached to a walker, wheelchair, scooter, etc.
- Store needed mobility aids close to you in a consistent and convenient location. Keep extra aids if possible.
- Keep a pair of heavy gloves in your emergency bag to use when wheeling or making your way over glass and debris.
- Have an extra battery available for motorized vehicles, such as a scooter.
- Store a lightweight manual wheelchair if available.
Tips for People with Hearing Impairments
- Store hearing aid(s) in a consistent and secured location.
- Store extra batteries for hearing aids and implants. If available, store an extra hearing aid with your emergency supplies.
- Store paper and pens to communicate with emergency personnel if there is no interpreter or if you don’t have your hearing aid.
- Consider carrying a pre-printed copy of important messages with you.
- Install alarms and smoke detectors with both audible and visual alerts. Ideally, these should have battery backup.
Tips for People with Visual Disabilities
- Keep extra canes in a consistent and secured location.
- Plan and practice for loss of auditory clues that you might normally rely on to maneuver at work, home or at school.
- Service animals may become confused, panicked, frightened, or disoriented during and after a disaster. Keep them confined or securely leashed or harnessed.
- If helpful, mark emergency supplies with large print, fluorescent tape or Braille.