What You Can Do
to Prepare for a Pandemic Flu Outbreak

 

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Our government is concerned about citizen preparedness related to pandemic flu outbreaks of various types. The government has warned that, without the public taking personal responsibility for preparing for an outbreak, the effects of a pandemic flu could be devastating.

To help citizens understand the implications and to prepare a family plan, the government has set up a clearinghouse website with detailed general information and specific information to help families. The website is very comprehensive and provides updated information on the progression of different flu types.

They have provided checklists and sheets to fill out that identify current medications, emergency contacts, etc. These checklists are very similar to those used for general disaster planning.

The government asks that you educate yourself and develop a plan for yourself and your family in the event that an outbreak occurs. As a caregiver, you have the added responsibility of preparing for your family member as well. Use the provided checklists and guidelines to help ensure that you and your family are prepared to the best of your ability before a disaster strikes.

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Additional information of interest: (with emphasis on avian and bird flu)

"The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service is working to educate the public about safe food handling practices in response to numerous questions from the public about the human risk associated with avian influenza. There is no evidence that bird flu can be transmitted to people by eating poultry. If bird flu were detected in the U.S., the chance of infected poultry entering the food chain would be extremely low.

Proper handling and cooking of poultry provides protection against this virus, as it does against many viruses and bacteria, including Salmonella and E.coli. Safe food handling and preparation is important at all times. USDA continually reminds consumers to practice safe food handling and preparation every day:

  • Wash hands before and after handling food.
  • Prevent cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices away from other foods.
  • After cutting raw meats, wash hands, cutting board, knife, and counter tops with hot, soapy water
  • Sanitize cutting boards by using a solution of 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure food has reached the safe internal temperature--in all parts of the bird. Cook poultry to at least 165° F to kill foodborne germs that might be present, including the bird flu virus.

Poultry products imported to the U.S. must meet all safety standards applied to foods produced in the U.S. No poultry from countries with confirmed cases of bird flu can be imported into the United States."

Have a question?
The USDA has an online 24 hour service database called "Ask Karen". They also have a telephone hotline at 1-888-674-6854 or e-mail your question to them.

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