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Content developed in collaboration with National Organization on Disability's Emergency Preparedness Initiative


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A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. Of greatest concern today is a flu pandemic, which occurs when a new flu virus emerges for which people have little or no immunity and there is no vaccine.

It is difficult to predict when the next pandemic will occur or how severe it will be, but if a pandemic occurs it is likely to be a prolonged and widespread outbreak.

How to Prepare for a Pandemic

  • See Get A Kit and Make A Plan for general information
  • Be prepared to stay at home for an extended period of time; consider storing a two weeks supply of non-perishable food and fresh water
  • There is no vaccine for a pandemic flu, but you can make sure your familys flu immunizations are up-to-date to protect from seasonal flu outbreaks
  • Practice good hygiene! (this is the most effective way to prevent illness)
    • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
    • Do not share food or utensils
    • Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing

How to Respond to a Pandemic

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Keep your distance from people as much as possible when you are sick
  • Maintain good health and hygiene
  • If you are sick, wear a mask or put a piece of cloth over your nose and mouth to protect others; if you are not sick, consider wearing a mask to protect yourself
    • If you do not have a medical mask, cover your mouth and nose with cloth
  • Expect prolonged interruptions of daily life; you may not be able to go to work or school and many public services may not be available

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