No parent wants to think about a pandemic, but on the anniversary of 9-11 terrorist attacks we're reminded that the worst is always possible. Here are some good tips to keep in mind.
The best strategy
To reduce the risk of becoming ill with pandemic influenza, avoid crowded settings and other situations that increase the risk of exposure to someone who may be infected. If you must be in a crowded setting, minimize your time there. Some basic hygiene and social distancing precautions that can be used in every workplace include the following:
· Stay home if you are sick.
· Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or with a hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
· Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes.
· Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve. Dispose of tissues in no-touch trash receptacles.
· Wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
· Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with coworkers and customers.
· Avoid shaking hands and always wash your hands after physical contact with others.
· If wearing gloves, always wash your hands after removing them.
· Keep frequently touched common surfaces (for example, telephones, computer equipment, etc.) clean.
· Try not to use other workers' phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment.
· Minimize group meetings; use e-mails, phones and text messaging. If meetings are unavoidable, avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with others and ensure that the meeting room is properly ventilated.
· Limit unnecessary visitors to the workplace.
· Maintain a healthy lifestyle; attention to rest, diet, exercise, and relaxation helps maintain physical and emotional health.
For more information, see Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for an Influenza Pandemic, OSHA Publication No. 3327, which can be accessed at www.osha.gov.
Another important step is to be prepared for an emergency
Here are three easy things you can do to be ready for what may come:
1. Prepare an emergency kit — It should include essential items to last at least three days such as a battery-powered radio and extra batteries, food, water, flashlight, a first-aid kit, blankets and medications.
2. Make a plan — Discuss the hazards and threats for your area and what your family would do during an actual emergency. Decide on a meeting place in case you cannot return home and designate an out-of-town friend or relative as a point-of-contact.
3. Stay informed — Local media will announce important instructions from local, state and federal officials. They will tell you about evacuation orders, how to safely stay where you are and when the emergency ends.