The goal of the Health Department is to plan for, and prepare residents and visitors to properly respond to an influenza outbreak. Working in partnership, it is also the responsibility of each individual to ensure their preparedness, and the preparedness of family members until additional help is available.
What is Influenza?
Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory illness caused by a virus.
What is Avian Flu?
Avian flu - commonly called the bird flu - is an infection and causes varied symptoms in birds. The H5N1 has killed birds in Europe, Asia and Africa.
What are the Symptoms of the Flu?
Influenza symptoms include: fever, headache, nasal congestion, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, and tiredness. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are more commonly seen in children.
What is a Pandemic Flu Outbreak?
A pandemic is a worldwide disease outbreak and can cause large numbers of fatalities. It can happen when a new virus strain emerges and humans have no immunity to it, meaning our bodies have no defense to the new germ. To date, there have been no cases of the Avian (bird flu) H5N1 virus in the United States, nor has there been a human transmission of the disease in a form that could fuel a pandemic.
How Can I Reduce My Risk of Getting the Flu?
Influenza virus is spread when a person coughs or sneezes and the airborne droplets are inhaled by another person. However, the virus can also be spread by touching contaminated surfaces, and then touching one's face. The best way to prevent the spread of the influenza virus is by practicing good personal hygiene.
- The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated yearly.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Wash your hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom; and after changing diapers; before during, and after preparing food; after wiping your nose or someone else's nose; and especially after sneezing and/or coughing into your hands.
- Keep fingers away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Put used tissues in the trash, and wash your hands.
- Stay away from those who are ill.
- Stay away from others if you are ill.
- If at all possible, stay home from work and school to avoid making others sick.
- Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water or other liquids.
- If someone in your household does get the flu, talk to your health care provider about anti-viral medications.
Extended Home Stay Supplies List
Food and Non-Perishables
- Ready-to-eat canned meats
- Vegetables, beans, and soups
- Protein or fruit bars
- Dry cereal or granola
- Peanut butter or nuts
- Dried fruit
- Canned juices
- Bottled water
- Canned or jarred baby food and formula
- Pet food
Medical, Health and Emergency Supplies
- Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood-pressure monitoring equipment
- Soap and water, or alcohol-based (60-95%) hand wash
- Medicines for fever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Anti-diarrheal medication
- Fluids with electrolytes
- Cleansing agent/soap
- Portable radio
- Manual can opener
- Garbage bags
- Tissues, toilet paper, disposable diapers