Six Mississippi agencies and departments have jointly launched a statewide campaign to help prepare you and your family for a unique public health threat: pandemic influenza. While it cannot be predicted whether or when a pandemic might happen, or what its impact might be, the best course of action for everyone is to Plan, Prepare and Protect.
How can Pandemic Flu affect you?
- People: All age groups – even healthy adults – may be affected by pandemic flu. Health officials may encourage people to stay home when sick. Public health measures to help slow the spread of a disease may be put in place in the event of a pandemic.
- Businesses: Employers should be prepared for 30 to 40 percent of their workforce to stay home due to illness or to take care of family members. This would then impact consumers, as delivery of goods and services would be limited.
- Health care: Because more people may get sick during a flu pandemic, visits to hospitals and clinics will increase and put a strain on health providers.
- Community: Since pandemic flu may spread easily, schools may close and other activities – such as community meetings, concerts and other large public gatherings – may be cancelled to help slow the spread of illness.
- More: Complete Pandemic Flu Information
What Steps Has Mississippi Taken?
Local, regional, and state agencies and organizations, including hospitals, have plans in place and are taking steps that include:
- Working Together: Public health and emergency response agencies are working together to:
- Plan and prepare.
- Keep residents informed.
- Distribute medicine when needed
- Watching for Possible Cases: Local, regional, and state agencies:
- Monitor illness around the state to quickly detect any outbreak.
- Conduct laboratory tests to discover any new influenza virus strains.
- Report all unusual cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Improving Health Care: Mississippi is working to:
- Coordinate emergency plans with hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.
- Assist health care facilities to respond effectively.
- Help provide food, medical care, and other services during a pandemic for people who are homebound.
What National Preparations Have Been Made?
- A global monitoring system is in place.
- Facilities are being prepared to quickly produce vaccines when they are developed and to create large amounts of antiviral medications.
- Emergency plans are being developed and revised to assist in the event of a pandemic.
Plan in Advance for Possible Emergencies
Families can cope with emergencies by preparing in advance and working together as a team. Knowing what to do is your best protection, and your responsibility.
Practice Good Health Habits.
Washing Your Hands: The most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands regularly. By washing your hands you wash away germs that you may have picked up from other people, from contaminated surfaces, or from animals.
Wash your hands:
- Before, during, and after you prepare food
- Before you eat, and after you use the bathroom
- After handling animals or animal waste
- After touching common surfaces such as door handles, handrails, shopping carts, tables, etc.
- When your hands are dirty
- When someone in your home is sick
Coughing and Sneezing
- Cough and sneeze into a tissue.
- Throw used tissues away in a trash can.
- Cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve if you do not have a tissue.
- Keep hands away from your nose and mouth.
Cleaning Common Surfaces
Wash and disinfect commonly-touched surfaces:
- Kitchen tables
- Kitchen and bathroom sinks
- Door handles
Improve Your Health
The healthier you are, the easier it is for your body to fight the flu
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Stop smoking.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get regular medical checkups.