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Pandemic Flu is a large concern for any country. These strains of flu spread quickly and usually create a global health issue. These flues also bring high mortality rates, as strains are usually fresh and never-before-seen, making them very difficult to treat.
One of the worst cases of Pandemic Flu was in 1918, during the Spanish Flu outbreak, also called, in laymen's terms, the influenza outbreak. During this severe flu outbreak 20% - 40% of the world's population was infected, and an estimated 50 million people worldwide died, including an approx. 675,000 in the United States alone.
Pandemic Flu can have a fast and terrifying impact on our everyday lives. The 3 best things to do are educate, prepare and prevent, a standard procedure that should be followed with any type of flu, but is of the utmost importance when dealing with a pandemic of any kind.
Flu pandemics occur around three times every century. While these pandemics are rare, but when they hit they pack a punch in several ways. Our ability to prepare for pandemics is key in pushing through them with as few lives affected as possible. Challenges that pandemics present include:
- Rapid worldwide spread - Overloaded healthcare systems - Inadequate medical supplies - Disrupted economy and society
Some tips for keeping your home and work place safe during pandemic outbreaks include:
- Get a regular flu shot to help protect against foreseen flu strains. While contracting two flu viruses at once is rare, it is possible and can mutate the two strains into one new strain which is then passable from person-to-person. - Wash your hands with antibacterial soap frequently and vigorously. - Encourage children to learn proper hand washing techniques and follow flu safety. - Keep your hands away from your face, nose, mouth, eyes etc. as much as possible. - Keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer available for times when regular hand washing is impossible. - Know your symptoms, and see a doctor immediately if symptoms occur during a pandemic outbreak. - Stay home from work, and keep kids home from school, until 24-hours after a fever had broken without help from medication. - Use a face mask as much as possible during a pandemic to limit airborne cross contamination.
There are even flu preparedness kits you can buy for easier protection. Start preparedness early with education courses outlining symptoms and preventative measures. Utilize the Pandemic Checklist on the CDC website and check back regularly during times of pandemic for up-to-date news.Sources: CDC .PDF About What to expect in the next flu pandemic http://www.flu.gov/planning-preparedness/community/nextflupandemic.pdf Pandemic Flu Checklist, along with readiness review http://emergency.cdc.gov/healthcare/pdf/hospital_2009h1n1_checklist.pdf