We’ve been hearing a lot about the swine flu, or the H1N1 virus. It was given pandemic status by the World Health Organization in 2009, and many people have been concerned about it. Of course, the H1N1 virus was not the first pandemic, and it certainly won’t be the last. If you want to be prepared for the next pandemic — and kept up to date — here are 50 tools and tips to bookmark so that you are ready for next time:
Government Information and Resources
One of the best places to go is the government if you are looking for up-to-date information on pandemics and tools to track outbreaks. Here are some government and public health information resources that can help you in the event of a pandemic.
- PandemicFlu.gov: Just what it sounds like, this site is set up to help you keep up with the latest developments in a pandemic flu situation.
- Office of Medical Services Pandemic Influenza Plan: This site provides the plan for dealing with widespread illness, developed by the U.S. State Department.
- Department of Health and Human Services: Turn to the HHS if you are interested in the latest news and tips for dealing with any current public health emergency.
- Centers for Disease Control: This site contains tips for protecting yourself and includes outbreak maps for pandemics.
- UN Pandemic Influenza Contingency: See the United Nations plan for pandemic preparedness, and get tips on personal protection.
- World Health Organization: This site offers alerts on global pandemics and coordinates worldwide responses. You can get helpful tips on protecting yourself, as well as helping to organize relief efforts.
- Public Health Agency of Canada: Get information from Canada about public health threats and how to protect yourself from pandemics.
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: The European Union has its own web site devoted to helping to track pandemics and provide information.
- American Red Cross: This is not a government resource, but the Red Cross does have valuable public health information and tips for what to do in a pandemic situation.
General Pandemic Preparedness
Be prepared for a pandemic, or any other health emergency. These sites offer helpful insights and tools for general emergency preparation.
- Ready America: This is a U.S. government site that is devoted to emergency preparedness, and can help you get yourself ready in advance for the next pandemic.
- Top 20 Ways to Prepare for a Pandemic: This helpful tip sheet is from the British Columbia Ministry of Health Services.
- Pandemic Influenza: What You Can Do To Be Ready: The Minnesota Department of Health offers a handy list of things you can do to prepare for a pandemic.
- Answers to Swine Flu Questions: Get the answers to the most important H1N1 questions from CNN.
- Swine Flu FAQ: Not everything is covered in the CNN list, so you can read this FAQ from WebMD to get a little more information.
- Oregon Public Health Emergency Preparedness: This site, while aimed at Oregonians, also provides helpful information for anyone else interested in tools and tips. Check your own state for something similar.
- Flu Checklist: Use this checklist from the Red Cross to determine if you are ready for a pandemic.
- Questions About Swine Flu: The New York Times provides a video about swine flu and how you can protect yourself from a pandemic.
You want to make sure that your family is properly prepared for a pandemic. Here are some helpful resources to help you make a plan for family preparedness.
- Pandemic Influenza Planning: A Guide for Individuals and Families: Get help on how to create a plan, and learn the differences between protecting yourself from seasonal flu and a strain of pandemic flu.
- Make a Plan: This emergency preparedness site helps you make a plan for emergencies, including a form to help you get started.
- Family Emergency Planning: While this is aimed at members of the LDS Church through the Provident Living site, the tools and tips can help any family with emergency planning.
- How to Swine Flu Proof You and Your Family: This is a helpful guide from eHow on how to get your family prepared for and protected from pandemic flu.
- Talking with Children about a Flu Pandemic: Helpful tips and resources on explaining a pandemic to your children.
- Preparing for Pandemic Flu: A Family Checklist Video: This video is helpful for families who are interested in preparing for pandemics.
- Let’s Get Ready!: This resource from Sesame Workshop helps you get ready for emergencies with your family.
- Pandemic Flu…What to do, what to do!: This is a kids’ page from the National Institutes of Health aimed at helping children learn about public health emergency preparedness.
Interested in keeping track of pandemics online? Want the latest information and emergency tips? You can use these online tools to stay updated during the next pandemic.
- Google Alerts: Set up alerts using desired keywords to help you get the latest information delivered right to your inbox.
- QuickShare My Emergency Information: This tools helps you create an email message with emergency information that can be easily and quickly shared with the important people in your life.
- Twitter: Everyone is on Twitter. And it can also help you find tips and news updates on pandemics. Search keywords and use hashtags to find the latest.
- Global Map of Pandemic Risk: This offering from Maplecroft is accessible through docstoc and can help you see where the biggest pandemic threats are.
- CDCemergency: This is the Twitter account for the CDC’s emergency updates. Follow to get tips and resource hints from the Centers for Disease Control.
- HealthMap: This global disease map offers an interactive resource to keep you updated on pandemics.
- Where You Live: This interactive map from Flu.gov helps you find out what is happening where you are right now.
- Widgets from HHS: The Health and Human Services deparment has widgets that can direct readers to the latest pandemic information.
- Google Maps: Where there is a pandemic, there is a Google Map that can help you plot it out. Most recently, there was a Swine Flu map with confirmed and probable cases.
You can track disease outbreaks and pandemics with the help of your iPhone.
- Outbreaks Near Me: This app from the Children’s Hospital in Boston helps you find local pockets of disease.
- FDA Mobile: Get the latest health information and tips for protecting yourself while on the go from the Food and Drug Administration.
- Mobile World Disaster: If you want to know immediately when disaster strikes, this iPhone app will keep you in the loop.
- HealthMap: This is an iPhone app that can help you see, on your phone, exactly where health issues are most prevalent.
- Diagnose the Disease: This app is designed to help you identify diseases. While not a true substitute for a medical professional, it can nevertheless provide some needed help and information.
- CDC News Reader: Get the latest from the Centers for Disease Control — no matter where you are.
- PEPID Elements Infections Disease & Travel Medicine: Keep track of where diseases are, and what you can do to protect yourself with this handy iPhone app.
- Emergency Radio: This iPhone app lets you listen in to emergency radio stations from all around the country in order to get the latest information.
You want to be adequately prepared, and you also want to be calm and collected. Here are some tips that can help you protect yourself in a pandemic situation.
- Wash your hands: You want to be as clean as possible. One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from a pandemic is to properly wash your hands.
- First Aid kit: Put together, or purchase, a First Aid kit that can be used in a number of situations, including a pandemic.
- Have a stockpile: Before a pandemic hits, make sure you have some food storage, as well as emergency money. You should also have other items on hand, in the event you are in the house for an extended period of time.
- Telecommute: If you have a job that can be performed, at least temporarily, from home, ask about telecommuting to avoid being involved in the spread of a pandemic.
- Consider a facemask: If you are truly concerned, you can find CDC approved facemasks to help protect you from a pandemic.
- Stay healthy: Maintaining healthy diet, exercise and sleep habits can keep your immune system in good shape, helping you ward off pandemic illness.
- Be educated: Learn about what to do, and how to do it. Get information from reliable sources so that you are prepared for a pandemic situation.
- Don’t panic: It is very important to realize that pandemics have been happening throughout history. If you prepare properly and take precautions, you can reduce your chances of falling victim.