Jan 7, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Pandemic planning strategies have been brought to a personal level with the release yesterday of a guide from the federal government outlining actions that individuals and families can take to protect themselves.
The handbook, titled "Pandemic Influenza Planning: A Guide for Individuals and Families," was announced by Secretary Mike Leavitt of the Department of Health and Human Services at a forum in Arizona. "Pandemics are global in nature, but their impact is local. When the next pandemic strikes, it is likely to touch the lives of every individual, family, and community." Leavitt writes at the beginning of the document.
Included in the guide are background information covering topics ranging from the history of pandemics to the differences between seasonal and pandemic flu to what to expect in a pandemic; an emergency health sheet for recording important health information on each family member; and links to other resources. Also included is a checklist that divides appropriate actions into three categories: planning for a pandemic, limiting the spread of germs and preventing infection, and items to gather for an extended stay at home.
Among specific activities listed in the plan are having stocks of nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, discussing within a family how care will be given if a member becomes ill, teaching proper handwashing and cough etiquette to children, and having supplies of food and water on hand.
The government's overall pandemic planning initiative includes meetings with health and other officials in each of the 50 states; the Arizona meeting yesterday was the second, following the initial meeting in Minnesota on Dec 14. Forums in Vermont, West Virginia, Rhode Island, and Georgia are next on the schedule.
Guides for business planning and for state and local public health planning were released last fall. Similar resources for schools, healthcare providers, and community organizations are in development.
Pandemic Influenza Planning: A Guide for Individuals and Families (pdf document)
Web page on flu.gov site with numerous resources for individual and family pandemic planning http://www.flu.gov/individualfamily/index.html
Business pandemic planning checklist http://www.flu.gov/planning-preparedness/business/businesschecklist.pdf
State and local pandemic planning checklist http://www.flu.gov/professional/states/index.html
Dec 5, 2005, CIDRAP News story about state planning forums
Dec 14, 2005, CIDRAP News story about summit in Minnesota