Thursday, November 7, 2013

Preparing for the Flu

While I have been feeling under the weather for the past few days, I have watched a lot of television between naps. The past three months I've spent with the American Red Cross have brought to my attention more than ever just how much emergency preparedness is portrayed in T.V. shows. I've posted other blogs regarding this topic, like my “Who Is More Prepared?” post between Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory) and Dwight Shrute (The Office), and my “Be Red Cross Ready; The Office Edition” post. 
Yes, I love The Office. 
However, this post is different because it highlights yet another type of disaster that isn't always thought of: the pandemic flu. No, it’s not a wildfire, it’s not a tornado or an earthquake or a hurricane, but it could still be a disastrous situation.

In this episode of Parks and Recreation, the citizens of Pawnee Indiana are to participate in a mandatory disaster preparedness drill. The Avian Flu was drawn at random as their disaster situation.

The best way to be prepared for a disaster situation like this is to be informed. 
Influenza, AKA the flu, is a contagious respiratory disease caused by different strains of viruses. Flu viruses spread from person to person when people who are infected cough or sneeze. Adults may be able to infect others 1 day before getting symptoms and as long as 5 days after getting sick.

Be Informed of all types of the flu: 

Seasonal Flu—A contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza (flu) viruses occurring every year. It affects an average of 5 percent to 20 percent of the U.S. population by causing mild to severe illness, and in some instances can lead to death.
Epidemic—The rapid spread of a disease that affects some or many people in a community or region at the same time.
Pandemic—An outbreak of a disease that affects large numbers of people throughout the world and spreads rapidly.
H1N1 Influenza (swine flu)—H1N1 influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that cause regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get H1N1 influenza, but human infections can and do happen. H1N1 influenza viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person.
Avian Influenza—Commonly known as bird flu, this strain of influenza virus is naturally occurring in birds. Wild birds can carry the virus and may not get sick from it; however, domestic birds may become infected by the virus and often die from it.
By informing yourself and your family members, your chances of contracting this unpleasant virus will significantly decrease!
Visit for more information on how to be prepared for the flu.

Samantha Minks
AmeriCorps NPRC 2013-2014
Preparedness Coordinator
American Red Cross - Kern Chapter

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