Editor’s Note: This is the second official emergency advisory by the American Red Cross (ARC), prepared exclusively for NAM’s ethnic media network whose audiences may be impacted by H1N1 (Swine) Flu. We are anticipating the launch of a formal partnership with ARC to provide a hotline for health and disaster messages. The Emergency Messaging System (EMS) we have developed will allow ARC to know which media have opened the message and will allow you to send ARC your own translated version as appropriate and feedback on the system. We are still fine-tuning the EMS but preparation for H1N1 Flu is so critical that ARC asked us to send out their advisory immediately. We hope it will be helpful to you.
— Sandy Close, Executive Director, New America Media
American Red Cross Urges Preparation for H1N1 (Swine) Flu
The H1N1 (swine flu) virus is a potentially serious health issue for families, schools and businesses across the country and the world. While the government is uncertain how widespread or severe the H1N1 flu virus will be this year, the American Red Cross says that there are simple things that people can do now to prepare for it.
The federal government estimates that as many as 40 percent of the country’s population could become ill with the flu this fall and winter. Parents should review flu plans at their children’s schools and day care centers. Employees should ask about work policies on tele-working or staying home when a relative is sick with the flu or a child’s school is closed.
The American Red Cross recommends that people follow common sense public health practices and store extra supplies when possible. These steps are helpful for both H1N1 virus and the seasonal flu virus each year:
- Follow basic public health practices to help prevent the spread of the flu:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cover you mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
- Minimize contact with people who are sick as much as possible and stay home when you are sick.
- Get flu shots for both seasonal flu and H1N1 virus. Get the seasonal flu shot early. Groups at high risk for contracting H1N1, such as pregnant women, household caregivers for children younger then 6 months of age, all people from 6 month through 24 years old, health care and emergency medical service personnel, those with chronic health disorders and those 65 or older should get vaccinated as soon as shots become available (cdc.gov).
- Try to stock homes with extra food, water and supplies to reduce the need to go out in public when taking care of a sick loved one or if schools and business have temporarily closed due to widespread outbreak.
- The Red Cross recommends storing the following supplies when possible: a two-week supply of food, water, prescription and non-prescription medications, and health and cleaning supplies such as soap, tissues, thermometers and hand sanitizer. Water should be in clean plastic containers and hold a gallon of water per person per day. Household preparation steps should also include baby supplies, food for special nutritional needs, copies of important personal documents, extra pet food and cash.
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