If a pandemic influenza outbreak occurs in your community, schools and businesses could be closed. Plan ahead for situations in which you might have to take care of yourself and your family without leaving home. These preparations for pandemic influenza are much the same as preparations you would make for any kind of emergency, for example a severe winter storm. Consider this basic emergency checklist:
- Food and water: Have a supply of canned and dried food and drinking water on hand, enough for several days. In a pandemic, disruptions in some services could be possible.
- Medication: If you take medications on a regular basis, keep a supply of several days on hand.
- Personal items: Extra supplies of soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and activities for kids could make extended time at home more comfortable.
- Family emergency plan: Talk to your family about emergency plans. Make sure you have a plan to check in with elderly parents and friends; that children know who to contact in an emergency; and that you know your family's medical histories, social security numbers, and other basic information.
Another important step you can take right now is to practice good personal hygiene and teach your children to do the same. Basic personal hygiene can help prevent seasonal influenza, colds, and other respiratory diseases and is also important in a pandemic.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use alcohol-based hand gel if soap and water isn't available.
- If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth.
- Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
- If you're sick, stay home and keep your kids home when they're sick.
The more you know about pandemic influenza the more you can help your family and community to prepare. To find out more and keep updated regularly, check the Centers for Disease Control Pandemic Flu Website.