Why Worry About a Pandemic Influenza?
No one wants to think about a Pandemic Influenza, let alone worry about what we should be doing to prepare for such an event. But as we approach the traditional flu season, itís something to think about.
What would you do if you and your family all became ill with an unknown flu virus and couldnít get to the pharmacy for needed medications? What if you could get to the pharmacy but found it closed because its employees were sick with the flu? You then might go to your doctorís office only to find that the office is closed because your doctor is at the Hospital trying to find a bed, equipment and nursing staff for his or her seriously ill patients, but the hospital is overflowing with patients and 1/3 of the hospital staff is sick with the same virus. The grocery stores have not been able to stock their shelves with bread, milk and other essentials for days because their employees and suppliers are unable to work. And this scenario could go on for weeks Ė or longer. No one really knows. Experts claim that a future outbreak is inevitable.
What can you do to be sure you can take care of your family at a time like this?
The Huntingdon County Healthy Communities PartnerSHIP was awarded a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health in April to prepare a Pandemic Influenza Resource Guide for Families and Individuals of Huntingdon County to help answer this question. Copies of the resource guide are available in various locations throughout the county. Speakers from J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital and the Huntingdon County Emergency Management Agency are available to present the guides as part of a program to further educate the community on the importance of pandemic influenza preparation.
The guide provides an explanation of Pandemic Influenza and a brief summary of pandemic outbreaks in the past as well as information about the bird flu, which some think could be the next pandemic. The guide describes the impact a pandemic influenza will have on our community and recommendations for minimizing this impact. Local resources, as well as web resources, are also included.
Most importantly, there is a call to action to volunteer with one of the service organizations that will be called upon to help those in need should a pandemic influenza break out. Local EMS services and fire companies as well as regional, state and federal organizations will all need manpower pools to draw from during such an event.
To download the Pandemic Influenza Resource Guide, click the link at the end of this page. The Guilde is also available throughout the community at J.C. Blair Hospital, Huntingdon County EMA Office, the State Health Center, physicianís offices, senior centers, and other locations. To request a copy or a supply of Guides, contact J.C. Blairís Community Relations Office at (814) 643-8833.