Disaster Ready People 12 Month Guide – What You Can Do

The first step in getting prepared for a pandemic is to establish habits of prevention. Whether or not you view pandemic as a threat, the following are lifestyle changes that should be incorporated into your personal daily life. By forming good habits and teaching them to everyone in your household, more preventative action will be taken. The more preventative action you take the better for everyone.

Cough or sneeze into a tissue. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow. This keeps germs off your hands. Or, bend deeply at the waist and cough toward the ground. Both approaches prevent the spread of infectious droplets.

Discard into a covered container any waste such as tissues, paper towels, masks, and other disposables that come into contact with your skin and face.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth because germs are spread in this manner.

Disinfect all telephones, TV remotes, kitchen & bathroom counters, doorknobs, computer equipment and other frequently touched surfaces.

Wash your hands regularly, particularly after using equipment used routinely by others (e.g. door handles, coffee pots/machines, copiers, scanners, etc.), after being near someone who is ill, after using the bathroom and before eating and/or drinking. Use warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds or alcohol-based hand cleaners (at least 60% alcohol) if soap and water are not available.

Get a seasonal flu shot. Note: The seasonal flu shot will not protect against Avian Flu or other highly dangerous influenza viruses. However, it will reduce your risk of more common strains of the common flu which reduces your vulnerability to other illnesses, including Swine Flu.

Exercise and eat healthy to boost and maintain your immune system.

Do not smoke or drink excessively.

Be prepared in case you get sick and need to stay home. Have the following items on hand: fever-reducing medicines that contain acetaminophen or ibuprofen, alcohol-based hand cleaners, gloves, tissues, and other items that may be useful. This will eliminate the need to make trips out in public while you are sick. Speak to your physician about antiviral medications, like Tamiflu, and whether you are a candidate for them.

Keep sick members away from others to minimize the spread of infection among household members and designate one person to care for those who are sick.

Stay home when you’re sick or have flu-like symptoms until 24 hours after your fever is gone.

Drink extra water, get plenty of rest and check with a health care provider as needed.

Your Family’s Emergency Plan

Learn as much as you can about the health threat in question and know where to go for the most current information. Sources of accurate information include your local county health department and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at http://www.cdc.gov.

In addition:

Make back-up plans to care for sick household members or for children if their schools or childcare programs are closed.

Plan to limit the number of trips you take to shop or run errands.

Determine how you would care for people in your family who have disabilities if support services are not available.

Be prepared to get by for at least a week on what you have at home.

Store Water, Food and Other Essentials

Prepare to survive for at least a week on what is normally kept at home. You may be unable to get to a store, stores may be closed, or those that are open may have limited supplies for weeks. Public services may also be disrupted so be prepared for outages in electricity, water, and garbage services.

Next>> Month 4: Your Contacts List