Influenza Pandemic Preparation and Response: A Citizen's Guide
The MRC program is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) works to enhance the capacity of state and local law enforcement to utilize volunteers.
VIPS serves as a gateway to resources and information for and about law enforcement volunteer programs. Funded by the Department of Justice (DOJ), VIPS is managed and implemented by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Checklist for Pre-Pandemic Preparation
You are now ready to begin preparations to help protect and prepare yourself, your family, and loved ones from a pandemic outbreak of influenza.
You also have the knowledge to educate your neighbors on how to start their own pandemic emergency kits.
Because in many cases governments won't be able to help on a local level if a pandemic should occur, it is up to each individual, family, and neighborhood to care for itself.
By being proactive, you are taking a vital step in lessening the chaos that may occur during a pandemic. The more people are prepared, the better off society will be to survive a pandemic.
You should now understand
- How the flu can be transmitted from person to person
- How to recognize symptoms of the flu
- How to wash your hands like a scientist
- How to prevent spread of infection
- Ways in which you may involve your community
- How to plan with your neighbors how to coordinate response
- How to prepare your home and stockpile for an extended stay
- Some ways you should immediately begin to involve your family
- Ways to investigate pandemic preparedness around you
- About the many different volunteer organizations around you
Being prepared does not apply only to those of us who respond at the time of need, all citizens must take this seriously and begin to plan for any potential disaster that may occur in our own community.
— Rebecca Patton, President of the American Nurses Association
In this chapter you will learn
- What life could look like during a severe pandemic
- Medical management of influenza
- Home treatment during a pandemic
- Complementary medicines
- The importance of hydration
- What you and your neighbors can do to help
After reading this chapter, you will be able to
- Administer basic care for an adult or child with influenza at home
- Know how to purify water
A Glimpse of Life During a Pandemic
Routine services may be disrupted
- Hospitals, schools, government offices, and the post office
- Telephone service, the Internet, commercial radio and TV broadcasts could also be interrupted if the electric power grid falters or fails
- Stores may be closed and/or will have limited supplies
- Local ATMs and banks may be shut down, and cash will be in short supply
Public transportation services may be disrupted
- Gasoline supplies may be limited or unavailable
- Travel could be restricted by fear, quarantine or curfew
- People in your community may be dying from the pandemic influenza virus
- Public gatherings may be canceled
- Communications about pandemic status may be limited due to changing circumstances and limited communication services
- Citizen anxiety, confusion, and fear are likely
You, your family, and your local community will need to be able to function independently during this period of time.
One area of self sustainability will be in managing influenza issues at home for your family and local community members who are unable to care for themselves (for example, medically vulnerable children, elderly, pregnant women, and the immuno-compromised).
Medical Management of Influenza
Medical services will be strained as they try to manage the surge of patients during a pandemic.
In the beginning of a pandemic, individuals will be caring for their families and loved ones in an isolated fashion, usually at home. Laypeople will become caregivers learning how to obtain vital signs such as pulse, blood pressure, temperature, and respiratory rates of these sick family members and neighbors.
There are also many people, such as elderly citizens living alone, who have no one to care for them; community members will need to be mindful of helping these individuals as well.
Helpful hints for managing influenza at home
Diagnoses, treating physician, medications and treatment schedules
- Have a medical history available for every person in your household
- Designate one person as caregiver
Keep unexposed visitors out of the house if there are persons inside the house who may have or do have influenza.
Monitor exposed persons for signs of illness.
If exposed persons become ill, arrange for immediate medical evaluation, if possible.
* Those with symptoms should be isolated inside the house.
- If asymptomatic, but exposed to the sick, they should stay inside.
Keep a record of every person being cared for.
- It is useful to write down health information about the people that are being cared for at home.
* Keep the record arranged chronologically and try to be as accurate and consistent as possible.
- Note the person's general appearance.
- Take a patient's vital signs three or four times each day or when a significant change in condition is observed. Include temperature, pulse rate (in beats per minute), breathing rate (in breaths per minute), and if possible, blood pressure as well.
Other important information is estimations of fluid intake and output.
See appendix G for a sample of a home patient medical record
Blood pressure monitoring
Learn to use an automated blood pressure monitor to measure blood pressure.
These devices come with good instructions that clearly explain how to use them. "Practice makes perfect" applies to learning and perfecting these skills.
If you need help learning how to use these devices, ask your doctor or his or her nurse for help. They will be happy to help you develop these simple skills.
All you need to do is ask.9
Treatment at Home
While researchers are working very hard to develop pandemic influenza vaccines and increase the speed with which they can be made, non-pharmaceutical interventions may buy valuable time at the beginning of a pandemic while a targeted vaccine is being produced.
— Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of National Institute of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
There are two main antiviral medications (known as neuraminidase inhibitors) shown to be effective in reducing the severity and duration of illness caused by seasonal influenza and may be helpful against pandemic influenza.