Seasonal Flu, Pandemic Flu and Bird Flu: What you need to know, compliments from your local health department.
Do you have the facts?
The Seasonal Flu: refers to several common strains (specific forms) of flu virus that go around each year, mainly in fall and winter. A yearly shot (vaccine) can help prevent it.
The Flu Pandemic: is when a new flu strain starts spreading easily and quickly around the world. Depending on the strength of the strain, it can cause:
*many people to get sick at once
*severe illness and many deaths
*a short supply of food, goods and services if many workers stay home, medical or government services get overloaded or travel is restricted for example.
Producing on effective vaccine for it will take time.
Bird (avian) flu: refers to flu strains that mainly infect poultry and some wild birds. If a bird flu were to evolve in a way that let it spread to people-and then spread easily between people-a flu pandemic could begin.
Flu Pandemics: have happened before. They are likely to happen again some time.
No one can say when or how severe the next one will be.
*the 1900’s had three flu pandemic. The most deadly one in 1918 killed about 675,000 people in the US.
*flu viruses are easily spread and constantly changing. With modern travel, viruses can circle the globe faster than ever.
*a bird flu strain called H5N1 has infected some humans in other parts of the world, but so far it has not spread easily between people.
A lot is being done to prepare: Around the world, governments are taking steps for:
*prevention-like quickly dealing with infected poultry
*minimizing effects-like planning ways to ensure that essential services continue in a pandemic
*treatment-like encouraging the production of flu medications.
The Pandemic Severity Index: if a flu pandemic develops, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will give it an official rating on a scale of 1 to 5 (similar to the hurricane category rating system):
*category 1 means the least severe pandemic
*category 5 means the most severe pandemic
Government agencies and other organizations will then begin using strategies for that category of severity aimed at slowing and containing the pandemic.
There are also simple things each of us can do.
Know about flu germs.
They spread mainly through people’s coughs and sneezes. These things can spray droplets through the air and :
*into the mouths or noses of people nearby
*onto surfaces that people touch before touching their noses, mouth or eyes.
In rare cases, human can also catch flu germs from an infected bird, pig or other animals. This could happen through contact with feces, saliva, mucus, raw meat or raw eggs from the animals.
Different flu strains may cause similar symptoms: but a pandemic has begun, symptoms most likely mean seasonal flu-or a different illness that causes flu-like symptoms. Flu symptoms generally:
*start within 10 days (usually 2) of exposure.
*include fever, chills, headache, body aches and shortness of breath.
Take Steps to help avoid getting or spreading flu germs.
Wash you hands often and well: be sure to scrub your hands and wrists for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. Keep on alcohol-based hand sanitizer handy for times when soap and water aren’t available.
Cover coughs and sneezes: use a tissue (use upper sleeve if you don’t have a tissue-not your hands). Put used tissue in the wastebasket. Then wash your hands well. Stay at least 6 feet away from others if you’re coughing and sneezing-or if they are.
If you get sick, act responsibly: if you think you might have caught a flu virus, call your health-care provider, a clinic or a local flu hotline. Find out:
*if you should stay home and for how long
*how to protect others-for example, by staying in a separate room.
*how to treat symptoms-or if you should go in for testing or treatment.
Get away available flu shots: the yearly shot helps prevent the seasonal flu. Authorities are no developing and stockpiling vaccines for a potential pandemic flu strain. The vaccines may:
*offer some protection if a flu pandemic starts
*got to high-priority groups first-like those who provide essential services to help others.
*check the news. Authorities will announce a pandemic and provide information and instructions. Also find out if your local or state health department had a flu hotline or website.
*find out what to do if you must travel in an area with a flu outbreak. See http://www.cdc.gov/travel/.
*find out if you job requires additional preparation or prevention steps.
*report sick poultry. USDA veterinarians can help-call 1-866-536-7593. Report any groups of dead wild birds to local wildlife officials.
*in a flu pandemic, a medical face mask or an N95 respirator may offer some protection if you can’t avoid crowds or close contact with someone who has pandemic flu. Find out more about their proper use.
Thoroughly meat, poultry and eggs.
Carefully clean any surface-including hands and utensils-after contact with ray products. This helps kill flu or other germs that might be present.
Support “common good” efforts: if the flu pandemic occurs, authorities may use several strategies to help stop or slow it, depending on its severity. These may include:
*shutting down mass transit or preventing travel into or out of certain areas.
*restricting gatherings (school, movies, sports events, etc.)
*asking everyone to stay home
*separating people who have or may have pandemic flu from others.
Create an emergency kit:
Store enough bottled water, food and other supplies to last at 2 weeks (This will help if utilities falter or you’re stuck at home for any reason).
*1-800-CDC-info (1-800-232-4636) 1-888-232-6348 (TTY) and ask about pandemic plans at work or school. Together we can help protect our families, communities and country.
*Please read: talk to a professional. This folder is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified expert.
*This information was provided by the Channing Bete Company via the local health care department. Please check the websites for updated information.