Comic book teaches pandemic preparedness and resilience

"No Ordinary Flu" is a 12-page comic book that tells the story of a boy learning about his ancestors' experiences during the 1918 influenza pandemic. The boy learns of how churches and movie theaters were closed; businesses were unable to function; and doctors and nurses were not available to treat many of the sick. He also learns how the flu touched his family personally when his great-uncle became ill. The story also offers recommendations for respiratory and hand hygiene, storing supplies, working from home, planning for childcare, and helping one's neighbors during a pandemic.

One reviewer called the comic book an excellent example of making pandemic influenza information available in a widely accessible, easily understood format that will connect with a variety of audiences. One of the most important aspects of the comic book is its emphasis on individual and community resiliency in three key ways: 1) By reminding readers that we are all descendants of people who survived the 1918 pandemic; 2) By adding that pandemics since 1918 have been milder; and 3) By showing various ways in which people can prepare. The comic book presents complicated information in a simple, straightforward way. It gives practical examples of services that may be unavailable, without being overly dramatic or frightening. The story nicely integrates important personal preparedness information, and the steps to take to prepare for a pandemic are laid out in a clear and accessible manner. A combination of text and pictures may overcome the challenge of making the story accessible to individuals with various levels of literacy. The characters' ethnicities are open to interpretation, and the comic book is available in multiple languages, making it relatable to many groups and adaptable to many jurisdictions.

One reviewer voiced a concern that the comic book format may not interest all readers, although the reviewer also noted that the combination of text and pictures may be likely to draw people into the story. The comic book is not intended to be a primary or sole approach for communicating about pandemic influenza, yet it may serve as a valuable option for reaching a broader audience.

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