Swine flu reinforces the importance of preparing for emergencies

The American Public Health Association (APHA) urges the public to use the current swine flu outbreak as an opportunity to ensure that they and their families are prepared for potential pandemics, disasters or any other health emergencies that may arise.

"Although it is far too early to know the degree to which the current swine flu outbreak warrants alarm, the number of cases and the speed with which the virus has spread around the globe serves as an opportunity to spread the message of the critical nature of preparedness," said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of the APHA.

APHA's Get Ready campaign helps all Americans prepare themselves, their families and their communities for all disasters and hazards, including pandemic flu, infectious disease, natural disasters and other emergencies. Along with a wealth of pandemic flu resources, visitors to the site will also find fact sheets, blog entries, handouts, podcasts, Q&As and a variety of other resources to help their families get ready for any type of emergency.

Some of the preparedness tips for a potential pandemic include:

  • Staying healthy and keeping others from getting sick by washing your hands frequently, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze and staying home from work or school if sick;
  • Creating an emergency preparedness kit with food, water, medical supplies and anything else you might need if you had to stay at home for an extended period of time; and
  • Talking to your employer about their contingency plan for a potential situation where many employees are unable to work or must work from home.

"While investing in our nation's public health infrastructure is an essential component of pandemic preparedness, it is also up to each of us to take steps as individuals and as members of a family and community to ensure we are well prepared when a public health emergency occurs," Benjamin said.

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