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Pandemic Influenza

Pandemic influenza (world-wide flu) happens when a new influenza virus spreads easily from person to person throughout the world. Since people have no protection against the new virus, it will likely cause more illness and a larger number of deaths than the type of influenza virus seen each winter (seasonal influenza).

It is not known which strain of influenza virus will trigger a pandemic. The spread of avian influenza is currently being monitored because it has the potential to mutate and become pandemic influenza.

There is currently no pandemic influenza in Canada or in the world. However, it is important for all Albertans to be prepared and ready to respond when pandemic influenza does occur. It may be scary to consider pandemic influenza, but with preparation and knowledge, we can be ready if it occurs.

Alberta’s pandemic plan

While there is currently no pandemic influenza, preparation is the best protection. Unlike the seasonal influenza that we see each year, pandemic influenza results when a new strain of virus spreads rapidly around the world. This can cause serious illness and death for millions of people.

Alberta has a plan to respond to pandemic influenza, called Alberta’s Plan for Pandemic Influenza. This plan aims to slow the spread of disease, minimize serious illness or death and avoid disruptions to essential community services. The provincial plan will reduce the impact of the disease, but not eliminate it. The plan outlines the coordinated and phased-in responses for the Government of Alberta, the health system, municipalities and other partners to work together to assist Albertans.

What should I do during a pandemic?

• Be alert to information on radio, television, in newspapers, or the internet and elsewhere. Alberta Health and Wellness and Alberta Health Services will advise you about the steps you can take to avoid becoming ill, the availability of immunization and medications for early treatment, and any changes that may be made in health-care services to deal with the pandemic. Health-care professionals will provide care to the very ill and provide information on self-care or caring for family members at home.

• If you are not feeling well or have further questions, contact Health Link

• There are things you can do to control the spread of influenza and take care of yourself and your family:

• Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing; and

• Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water – this is one of the best defences against influenza.

• If you develop influenza:

• Rest;

• Avoid contact with others while contagious (about five days after the start of symptoms) if possible;

• Drink extra fluids;

• Treat symptoms with over-the-counter (non-prescription) medication with careful attention to the guidelines included with the medication;

• Throw away tissues after wiping your nose;

• Wash your hands frequently and always after coughing, sneezing or using tissues;

• Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing;

• Keep your fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth; and

• Know how to take care of yourself and your family if you have influenza.

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This great information was taken with permission from the Alberta Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Preparedness Week Campaign Kit
Download the brochure in its entirety here.

8 areas of emergency preparedness Water - Vital for Life Food - Sustain Your Health Shelter - Protect Yourself From The Elements First Aid - Saves Lives
8 areas of emergency preparedness Light - Diversification is Key Heat - Maintain Your Core Temperature Communication - Stay In Touch Sanitation - Often Overlooked