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Press Releases of the Day: Beware the Possible Swine Flu Pandemic

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This press release just in from the Red Cross, St. Louis Area Chapter, regarding the Swine Flu outbreak:
"Think of this swine flu outbreak like severe weather. If you thought a storm was coming - you would take steps to prepare yourself," said Nicole Holtgrefe, director of preparedness and client services for the St. Louis Area Chapter. "No one can prevent a pandemic from happening, but we can work together to minimize its impact." 
And this from Governor Jay Nixon: "Gov. Jay Nixon directs public health officials to prepare state for possible bout with new strain of swine flu."

Twitter users may or may not want to follow @swineflu, which basically has just been retweeting @CDCemergency (which has posted updates throughout the day.)

The influx of influenza information continues after the jump, with the Red Cross press release in full.

Simple steps every family can take; time to prepare is now
 
 
St. Louis, Monday, April 27, 2009 -- With 20 documented cases of swine flu confirmed in the United States and the government declaring a public health emergency, the American Red Cross St. Louis Area Chapter is advising people to take this opportunity to prepare now for the possibility of a pandemic. A pandemic flu is a newly emerged type of infection that can cause serious illness, is easily spread from person to person, and spreads globally. So far, there have not been any reported cases in Missouri or Illinois. But now is a good time to take small steps to get prepared.
 
"Think of this swine flu outbreak like severe weather. If you thought a storm was coming - you would take steps to prepare yourself," said Nicole Holtgrefe, director of preparedness and client services for the St. Louis Area Chapter. "No one can prevent a pandemic from happening, but we can work together to minimize its impact."
 
How Individuals Can Prepare
  • Stock Up: Store nonperishable foods, bottled water, medicine, health supplies and other necessities. A two-week supply of food and a three-day supply of water is recommended in the event of a pandemic. These supplies can also be useful in other emergencies, such as power outages. See checklist below.
  • Practice Good Health Habits: Wash your hands with soap and water frequently during the day. Cover your nose and mouth with your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
  • Plan Ahead: Consider what you would do if you could not go to work, schools were cancelled, or a family member became sick and needed care. Make sure your family knows your plan, and ask about emergency plans at your work and child's school.
  • Stay Informed: Keep plugged-in to local media reports, as well as public health officials like the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the American Red Cross.
 
How Businesses Can Prepare
  • Develop a Disaster Plan: Think about how a pandemic flu could affect your employees, customers and workplace. Consider how your business would operate if a large portion of your staff were home sick. If your business needs help creating a pandemic plan, local resources are available. The Red Cross partners with PandemicPrep.org, a St. Louis-based group that specifically focuses on planning for pandemic illnesses. Their website includes online templates for creating a pandemic plan. Additionally, the Red Cross St. Louis Area Chapter has created the Ready Rating Program to guide any business, organization, or school through the steps of getting prepared in any emergency.
  • Keep Workspaces Clean: Just like at home, make sure you sanitize surfaces such as desktops, phones, and computer keyboards.
 
For More Information
  • www.redcrossstl.org- The St. Louis Area Chapter offers tips for being prepared at home and work, as well as checklists for supplies to have on hand.
  • www.cdc.gov/swineflu - The Centers for Disease Control's page on the topic of swine flu. Updated with current statistics on the outbreak, as well as general information about the disease.
  • www.pandemicprep.org - A St. Louis-based organization committed to helping local businesses, hospitals, governments and community groups work together to plan for pandemic illnesses.
  • www.pandemicflu.gov - The U.S. Government's website about pandemic illnesses and how to prevent them.
 
 
Supplies Checklist
Planning now will make it easier for you and your family during a pandemic. One simple action you can take to reduce the impact of a flu pandemic is to stock up on supplies. This will make it easier to stay at home for an extended period of time and will be helpful in the event that you are unable to get to a store (or if stores are out of supplies).
 
Examples of food and nonperishables
Examples of medical, health and emergency supplies
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, beans and soups
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter or nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Crackers
  • Canned juices
  • Bottled water
  • Fluids with electrolytes
  • Canned or jarred baby food and formula
  • Pet food
  • Prescriptions
  • Soap and water, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Medicines for fever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Thermometer
  • Vitamins
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Portable radio
  • Manual can opener
  • Garbage bags
  • Bleach
  • Tissue, toilet papers, disposable diapers
  • Personal documents, contact info
  • Disposable gloves, masks
  • Electrolyte drinks
 
 
About the American Red Cross St. Louis Area Chapter:
Founded in 1917, the American Red Cross St. Louis Area Chapter celebrates 92 years of dedicated service, providing emergency relief and preparedness training more than 402,700 times each year. The Red Cross is a charity, not a government agency, and depends on the efforts of thousands of volunteers and donors to provide a wide range of community support services, including disaster relief, first aid and CPR training, water safety, services to military personnel and support for blood services. The Chapter, a proud United Way agency, provides programs and services to St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County and Jefferson County in Missouri, as well as Monroe, St. Clair (including Scott Air Force Base) and part of Madison County in Illinois. All disaster relief services are provided free of charge thanks to the generosity of the American people. To learn more about Red Cross programs, volunteer opportunities, and how you can help, contact the St. Louis Area Chapter at 314.516.2800 or www.redcrossstl.org.

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