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An influenza or flu pandemic may occur when a new flu virus strain begins to be easily spread around the world from person to person. A pandemic flu virus is different from the seasonal flu or bird flu. The seasonal influenza virus is the “regular” flu that occurs each year, usually in the fall and winter. In the event of a pandemic flu, everyone will be at risk. An influenza pandemic may cause severe illness and death, even among healthy individuals. Understanding how influenza viruses spread and how to reduce your risk of contracting influenza is the first step to being prepared.
Preparing for an influenza pandemic is different from planning for other emergencies or disasters and just as important. If an influenza pandemic occurs, many people may be sick for a long period of time. The flu may also occur in waves that might last several weeks or months. This could have a huge societal and economic impact. Because of this, it’s important for you and your family to be prepared.
You can take steps now to prepare for a pandemic flu.
During a pandemic, individuals and families may be expected to take care of themselves and their families for quite awhile. Having a well-stocked emergency kit can make a huge difference.
People with influenza are infectious and can pass on the virus to others 1 day before, and up to a week after the start of flu symptoms. Knowing how to care for sick family members will help protect you from getting sick with the flu.
Learn more about the 1918 pandemic influenza, what to expect if a flu pandemic were to occur today, and how you can prepare for one. From the Seattle-King County Public Health Department.
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