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Pandemic Flu

By George Wood,2014-01-10 23:34
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Pandemic Flu

NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

JULY 2006

    Ten Pandemic Flu Self Care Fact Sheets

    Contents

    Planning for a Pandemic

    Pandemic Influenza FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

    Staying Healthy

    Personal Protective Hygiene

    Home Protective Hygiene

    More Tips for Families

    Social Distancing

    Office Protective Hygiene

    Self Diagnosis

    Self Treatment

     Pandemic Flu

    Planning for a Pandemic

If there is a flu pandemic, many people will be sick and it may be difficult to get medical care. For this

    reason, it is important to be prepared to take care of yourself and others at home as much as possible.

    Because you may need to be home during the pandemic, it is a good idea to stock up on basic supplies,

    such as food and water. Have a supply of your regular medications and a list of phone numbers of

    family, friends, neighbors, and your doctor.

While antivirals exist to treat the flu, these likely will be in short supply and limited to health care

    professionals and those in highest need. Therefore, it is important to be aware of steps you can take to

    relieve many symptoms and reduce the risk for further problems.

If you get the flu, make arrangements for someone to help you if you become ill. This is especially

    important if you are alone, are a single parent or are responsible for the care of someone who is frail or

    disabled. Plan to stay home if you are sick. This will ensure that you get the rest you need and that you

    don‟t spread the virus to others.

Prepare to have the things you need if you get sick. You will need to:

    ? Drink lots of fluids. This includes water, real juice, milk and herbal teas. It is best to have

    drinks without caffeine, because caffeine can further dehydrate you.

    ? Take basic pain/fever relievers. Examples are acetaminophen (Tylenol?) or ibuprofen.

    Aspirin should NOT be given to children or teenagers.

    ? Use a hot water bottle or heating pad. Applying heat for short periods of time can help

    reduce muscle pain. Check the skin often when using a heating pad to prevent overheating or

    burning.

    ? Take cough medicine, especially if you have a dry cough.

    ? Get lots of rest.

    ? Take a warm bath with Epsom salts.

    ? Gargle with a glass of warm water and/or suck on sugarless hard candy or lozenges

    to ease your sore throat.

    ? Use saline drops or spray or decongestants to soothe or clear a stuffed nose.

    ? Avoid alcohol and tobacco. Smoking especially irritates damaged airways.

    ? Avoid sharing anything that may carry germs such as towels, lipstick, cigarettes, drinks,

    or toys.

    ? Wash your hands often. Use soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds each time, or

    alcohol-based hand cleaners to avoid spreading the flu to others.

    ? Take over-the-counter medicine to ease symptoms. Let the pharmacist know if you have

    any chronic medical problems and advise you about choices.

    For seasonal flu, most healthy people feel better in five to seven days. However, general tiredness and

    cough can last up to three weeks. For pandemic flu, it is not known if it will take longer to get better.

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    SELF CARE FACT SHEET NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH JULY 2006

    Pandemic Influenza FAQ

    Frequently Asked Questions

What is influenza?

    Influenza or the “flu” is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract. It is not what some

    people call „stomach flu,‟ which causes abdominal upset and diarrhea. Flu symptoms include a sudden onset of a respiratory illness with a cough, fever, headache, muscle pain,

    a runny nose, sore throat, and body aches. Children with influenza can have nausea, vomiting and

    diarrhea, so it is important not to mistake these symptoms for an underlying intestinal virus. Adults

    over 65 and children under 5 may not have a fever when sick with the flu. Although colds and other

    viruses may cause similar symptoms, influenza weakens a person much more. Most healthy people will

    feel better in five to seven days but symptoms may last up to three weeks. Complications of influenza,

    such as pneumonia, can be more severe for the elderly, infants or people with chronic health problems.

What is pandemic influenza?

    Pandemic influenza is a global outbreak of severe influenza affecting many people in many countries.

    Unlike the seasonal influenza virus that infects people each winter, pandemic influenza may strike at

    anytime of the year, causing much more sickness and death than seasonal influenza. Many scientists

    believe that it is only a matter of time until the next influenza pandemic occurs.

    What causes pandemic influenza?

    Pandemic flus are caused by a new subtype of influenza virus, or a subtype that has not circulated

    among humans for a long time. To create a pandemic, the subtype has to be able to cause serious illness

    in humans who have little or no immunity to that specific subtype and be easily transmitted from

    person to person.

    How is influenza spread?

    It is spread from person to person in respiratory droplets by coughs and sneezes. It can also be spread

    when people touch respiratory droplets of another person or an object and then touch their own eyes,

    mouth or nose before washing their hands. After a person is first exposed to the flu virus, symptoms

    begin in one to three days.

    How long is the influenza virus contagious?

    A person with the flu is contagious 24 hours before he or she becomes sick and for five days after

    becoming sick. Some children may be contagious for longer than a week. The virus can live for up to

    two days on hard surfaces such as doorknobs, handrails, toys, cups, utensils and telephones. It can live

    on the hands for up to five minutes.

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    SELF CARE FACT SHEET NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH JULY 2006

    FAQ/page 2

What can I do to protect my family and myself?

    You can protect yourself from getting the flu by washing your hands frequently and avoiding close contact with people who have the flu. Healthy eating, adequate sleep and physical activity are essential to your well-being. Practicing good personal hygiene will also help to protect you from getting and spreading the flu. Use disposable, single-use tissues for wiping your nose; cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing; wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or using tissues; and keep hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth.

    It is recommended that people at high risk for getting seasonal influenza and its complications and their caregivers receive an annual influenza vaccine. These groups include: people 65 and older; children 6-23 months of age; people in nursing homes, long-term care facilities and other institutions; people with chronic medical conditions such as heart or lung disease, diabetes or those with a weakened immune system; health care workers, essential service workers and healthy people living in the same house as high risk people who either cannot be vaccinated or may respond inadequately to vaccination.

Will there be a vaccine against the pandemic influenza?

    Research and development of new influenza vaccines is ongoing. Once the pandemic influenza strain is identified, the first pandemic influenza vaccines are expected to be available in six to nine months. Therefore, vaccine may not be available during the first “wave” of the pandemic. When vaccines first become available, they may be in short supply.

Will there be medications to prevent or cure pandemic influenza?

    Certain antiviral medications can be used for the treatment and/or prevention of influenza. It is important that antiviral medications are used in the correct manner, because incorrect use may lead to drug resistance. Antiviral medications also are expected to be in short supply during a pandemic. Therefore, like vaccines, they will be given first to the high-risk groups.

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    SELF CARE FACT SHEET NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH JULY 2006

    Pandemic Flu

    Staying Healthy

    Washing hands is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of the influenza.

    Stay healthy at home

    ? Eat, rest well and exercise

    ? Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap

    ? Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing

    ? Limit visitors to your home

    ? Call friends and family members who live alone

    ? Watch for regular influenza updates from the Health Department

    ? Get the influenza vaccine when available; It is recommended that people at high risk of

    getting influenza and its complications and their caregivers receive an annual influenza vaccine

    Stay healthy at work

    ? Work from home or arrange to work flex hours if possible

    ? Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap

    ? Use waterless sanitizing gel to clean hands if soap and water are not available

    ? Clean objects and hard surfaces that are handled by many people with a disinfectant

    ? Keep your office door closed

    ? Use stairs instead of crowded elevators

    ? Cancel non-essential meetings; use teleconferencing/video conferencing/emails/fax

    Stay healthy away from crowds

    ? Stock up on basic items

    ? Shop at smaller stores with shorter lines

    ? Shop at off peak hours and find out which stores stay open late or 24 hours

    ? Arrange to pay bills at ATMs, online or over the phone

    ? Cancel or postpone family gatherings, outings or trips.

    ? Avoid unnecessary travel, crowded restaurants and public transportation

    ? Stay three feet away from people who are coughing or sneezing

    ? Call your doctor before visiting the office while you are sick and are able to spread the

    illness to others. Your doctor‟s office will also be able to tell you if there are special clinics for

    people with the flu or flu-like symptoms, and where those clinics are.

    If you cannot avoid crowds, minimize the amount of time you spend around people.

    If you feel unwell, stay home, rest and drink plenty of fluids.

    __________________________________________________

    SELF CARE FACT SHEET NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH JULY 2006

    Pandemic Flu

    Personal Protective Hygiene

    There are several things you can do to reduce your chances of getting sick with the flu, and to avoid

    passing it to others if you are infected.

    ? Maintain good routine health practices, including eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly.

    ? Get a flu shot each year. It is the best way to protect you from getting sick from the flu

    each year. If you are over 65 years of age, ask your doctor for a shot to protect you against

    pneumococcal infection, as well.

    ? Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water, and always

    after you cough or sneeze. An alcohol-based hand cleaner also works if your hands do not look

    dirty. This is one of the best ways to protect you from the flu.

    ? Practice good cough manners. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough into your upper sleeve if you don‟t have a tissue. Throw the used tissue into

    the garbage right away and wash your hands.

    ? Stay home if you are sick to make sure that you get the rest you need and that you don‟t

    spread your germs to others.

    ? Stay away from people who are sick. Try to stay at least three feet away from people who are sick with the flu.

    ? Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. This is a common way to spread germs. ? Avoid public gatherings and crowds. ? Call your doctor before visiting the office while you are sick and are able to spread the illness to others. Your doctor‟s office will also be able to tell you if there are special clinics for

    people with the flu or flu-like symptoms, and where those clinics are.

    These things are even more important during a flu pandemic, both to protect you and your family from

    getting sick, and because it may be hard to get medical when many people may be sick at the same time.

    __________________________________________________

    SELF CARE FACT SHEET NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH JULY 2006

    Pandemic Flu

    Protective Hygiene

Personal hygiene

    Most patients with pandemic influenza will be able to remain at home during the course of their illness

    and can be cared for by other family members. Anyone residing in a household with an influenza

    patient during the incubation period and illness is at risk for developing influenza. A key objective in

    this setting is to limit transmission of pandemic influenza within and outside the home.

Good personal hygiene will help protect you and your family from coming in contact with influenza

    viruses. Vaccines and antiviral medications will not be available to the general public in the early phases

    of the pandemic. Strict adherence to good personal hygiene may be the only preventative measure

    available.

    Wash your hands often

    ? Before, during and after you prepare food

    ? Before you eat

    ? After using the bathroom

    ? After sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose

    ? When your hands are dirty

    ? More frequently when someone in your home is sick

    ? After touching commonly used items

    ? When soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel

    sanitizers that can be found in most supermarkets and drugstores.

Home hygiene

    Influenza virus can live up to two days on hard surfaces. Wash hard surfaces such as sinks and counters

    with a disinfectant such as a 10 percent bleach solution (one part bleach and nine parts water) to kill the

    influenza virus. Surfaces that are frequently touched with hands should be cleaned often. Careful,

    thorough cleaning of surfaces is effective in removing the influenza virus and many other germs.

If a member of your family is ill with influenza, keep personal items such as towels separate from the

    rest of the family. Do not share towels. Do not share eating utensils or drinks with anyone (you never

    know who is sick or who is not sick). Ensure that your home always has adequate supplies for hand

    washing and cleaning. Special handling of laundry or linen from a person who may have influenza is

    not necessary. Wash clothing and linen in a warm wash cycle with a commercial laundry detergent and

    dry as usual. The garbage generated by a person with influenza does not require special handling.

    __________________________________________________

    SELF CARE FACT SHEET NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH JULY 2006

    Pandemic Flu

    More Tips for Families

At home

    ? Check up on family, friends and neighbors who live alone.

    ? Offer to get groceries and run errands for family/friends/neighbors who are at higher risk for getting influenza (elders, persons with other chronic medical conditions).

    ? Anticipate what you will need during a pandemic and stock up on foodstuffs, cleaning supplies, prescription medication and basic medications such as Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol ).

    ? Keep in mind that the pandemic may last several months and come in waves. ? Keep emergency phone numbers and self-care instructions in a place where everyone in the family can access them.

    ? Because schools and community centers may be closed, keep books and games at home for your children to play with.

    ? Arrange for childcare that minimizes exposing your children to crowds. ? Make arrangements with your child‟s teacher for schoolwork to be done from home.

    ? Pets If there is bird flu in your area, keep your cats in the house. Cats have caught the flu

    virus from dead birds. Pigs, birds/poultry and horses are at risk for getting influenza. If you have these animals as pets or live on a farm, take extra care in washing your hands after contact with them.

At work or school

    ? Stay at home if you are ill.

    ? Drive your car, walk or ride your bike, rather than using public transportation. ? Go early or late to avoid rush hour crowding on public transit and working in close spaces with others.

    ? Minimize contact with others.

    ? If you need to meet with people, stay three feet away.

    ? Avoid shaking hands, hugging or kissing people as greetings.

    ? Work from home if possible.

    ? Cancel or postpone travel and face-to-face meetings where possible; have meetings using video or teleconferencing or pass on information through emails.

    ? Bring your lunch and eat at your desk or away from others. Avoid the cafeteria and crowded restaurants.

    ? Sit at the back of the class, away from others.

    ? Walk up and down stairs instead of using crowded elevators.

Shopping

    ? Go to stores at off hours to avoid crowds.

    ? Shop at smaller stores which have few other customers.

    ? Find out which stores are open 24 hours in your neighborhood.

    ? Find out which stores and pharmacies take telephone orders or deliver to your home.

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    SELF CARE FACT SHEET NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH JULY 2006

    Pandemic Flu

    Social Distancing

You can protect yourself and minimize being exposed to influenza viruses by avoiding crowds of

    people. People can look healthy but still spread the virus. Influenza is infectious for 24 hours before

    symptoms develop. The more people you are in contact with, and the more time you spend in contact

    with people, the greater the chance you will be exposed to someone who is carrying the influenza virus.

Social distancing refers to methods to reduce the frequency and closeness of contact between people to

    reduce the risk of infection. Social distancing methods include staying at least three feet from people

    who are coughing or sneezing, avoiding face-to-face meetings, avoiding unnecessary travel, public

    transportation, restaurants, malls and gatherings.

The risk of spreading the influenza virus in day care settings and schools is high because of the large

    number of people and the amount of time spent together in a confined area. The risk of infection is

    influenced by the age of the child, group size, the nature of the activity and the hygiene habits of the

    child. Influenza acquired in these settings is easily spread to attendants, teachers, family members and

    the community. Because of this, schools may close during a pandemic.

Stay away from crowds. Cancel or postpone family gatherings, outings or trips. Keep your home

    stocked up on basic items. Shop at smaller stores with smaller checkout lines during off peak hours,

    and find out which stores stay open late. If possible, phone ahead your grocery order for quick pick up,

    or delivery, if possible. Arrange to pay bills at ATMs, online or over the phone.

If you cannot avoid crowds, minimize the amount of time you spend around people. Work from

    home or arrange to work flex hours if possible. Keep your office door closed. Use stairs instead of

    crowded elevators. Cancel non-essential meetings; use teleconferencing/video conferencing, emails and

    faxing instead.

    __________________________________________________

    SELF CARE FACT SHEET NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH JULY 2006

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