An influenza pandemic is a global disease outbreak usually caused by a new version of a virus, like influenza, that affects humans. An outbreak could require changes in social behavior.
You can prepare for an influenza pandemic now. You should know both the magnitude of what can happen during a pandemic outbreak and what actions you can take to help lessen the impact of an influenza pandemic on you and your family.
- Build an emergency supplies kit. During a pandemic, if you cannot get to a store or if stores are out of supplies, it will be important for you to have extra supplies on hand.
- Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home. Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins, on hand.
- Make a family communications plan.
- Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Wash your hands often to help protect you from germs.
- Get vaccinated against seasonal flu.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
- Know the emergency plans for your area.
- Download the following printable materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Research additional information on how to plan and prepare for influenza, beginning with the following resources: