Preparing for a Flu Pandemic Fact SheetCoping and Emotional Well-Being

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Preparing for a Flu Pandemic Fact SheetCoping and Emotional Well-Being

Post  cottontop on Wed May 21, 2008 9:47 am

Preparing for a flu pandemic fact sheet-coping and emotional well-being" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">

What is a pandemic? Who is at risk? What will happen?

As the mediareports about the possibility of a flu pandemic, thesethoughts may occur to you. Knowing what to expect, how to prepare and where to find needed information can increase your resilience and minimize the pandemic’simpact on you and your loved ones. What to ExpectA flu pandemic is a global outbreak of disease that occurswhen a new influenza virus appears to which people havelittle or no immunity. It affects people of all ages, back-grounds and locations, causing much illness and death as well as social disruption.

During a flu pandemic:
•Many people are likely to become ill at the same time.
•Infected people may be isolated, which means that they are separated from healthy people to reduce thechances of spreading the flu.
•People who have been exposed to the virus may be quarantined.
•Many things may shut down or be canceled, includingpublic transportation, gathering places, events, schools and businesses.
•Community services and utilities may be disrupted.
•Health care services could become overwhelmed.These circumstances could significantly impact you. You may need to reorganize your life to care for loved ones or to receive care. You may lose income if your workplace closes or you become ill. School closures canresult in the need for home-schooling or other activitiesfor homebound children. Access to food and other household goods may become limited. The many changesin day-to-day living can cause anxiety and stress.

Coping with Stress and AnxietySome ways that you can cope with stress and anxiety are—
•Get accurate information from reliable sources.
•Educate yourself about the flu pandemic.
•Maintain your normal daily routine, if you can.
•Exercise, eat well and rest.
•Stay active — physically and mentally.
•Stay in touch with family and friends.
•Find comfort in your spiritual and personal beliefs.
•Keep a sense of humor.Coping Through PreparednessBeing adequately prepared can significantly affect how you cope with stress and anxiety during a flu pandemic. It will help you feel more in control and lower your stress.

Consider adopting the following preparedness actions:
•Reduce the likelihood of infection by using good personal hygiene and self-care practices.
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water oran alcohol-based sanitizer.
• Cough or sneeze into a tissue, and place used tissuesdirectly into the trash.• If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper sleeve.
• After coughing or sneezing, clean your hands withsoap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Stay at home if you are ill.
•Make a plan among your family and friends for takingcare of one another should one of you become ill.
•Talk with your family and friends about how they will be cared for if they become ill.
•Keep at least a two-week supply of non-perishable easy-to-prepare foods, water and other critical household and hygiene goods.
•Keep medical supplies, prescription and non-prescription drugs on hand.
•Investigate how your health insurance carrier plans tohandle costs of treatment during a pandemic.
•Check with your employer regarding policies for dealingwith a pandemic.
•Ask about plans at your child’s school or daycare fordealing with a pandemic, and develop plans now forhow you would keep homebound children occupied.PU B L I CIN F O R M A T I O NSE R I E SPreparing for a Flu Pandemic Fact SheetCoping and Emotional Well-Being
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Increase Your Psychological ResilienceCertain strategies can increase your resilience and encour-age new emotional strengths. The following tips can helpyou deal with life’s difficulties, including a pandemic.

Identify how you cope with a crisisIdentify your coping strengths.

What crises have occurredin your life?
How did they affect you?
How did youcope? Did your coping style work?
Are there other waysyou might cope?
Foster healthy attitudes and beliefsCrises and difficult circumstances are stressful but can beovercome. Look for all ways unfortunate situations canbe bettered and focus on problem solving.Choose nurturing and healthy behaviors Identify your goals and move toward them, even thoughprogress may seem slow at times.

Take decisive action inprotecting and preparing yourself and your loved ones,rather than letting the pandemic situation make yourchoices for you. Professional HelpSeek professional mental health care for yourself or yourloved ones if you or they experience—•Loss of sleep, frequent nightmares or disruptive andintrusive thoughts.
•Feelings of depression or feelings that lead to aninability to engage in usual activities.
•Disorientation, extreme memory difficulties; or losingawareness of time, date and place.
•Hallucinations or delusions, such as hearing or seeingthings that are not there, extremely unrealistic think-ing or excessive preoccupation with an idea orthought.
•A previously-identified mental health conditionrecurring or becoming worse.If these circumstances occur, contact your personalphysician or mental health provider. If you are currentlyworking with a mental health provider, ask how serviceswill be provided during a pandemic, and consider ordiscuss how you might get needed support or assistancefrom family and friends.
You can also seek local mentalhealth resources by contacting the U.S. National MentalHealth Information Center at or 1-800-789-2647.Stay Informed
•Be aware of the status of the pandemic in the media.
•Seek information on public services that may close,requiring you to plan ahead.
•Follow updates provided by local public health authorities and personal health care providers.
You can find additional information on planning and preparing for pandemic flu at ConnectedStay in touch with others by telephone, e-mail and other means should you be unable to get around due tomovement restriction measures.During a pandemic or other disaster, you can let othersknow of your well-being by registering on the Safe andWell Web site at Address:Important Phone NumbersLocal Health Department:Local Red Cross Chapter:Family Health Provider:Mental Health Provider:Emergency Contact Card

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