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Pandemic-Flu – A Guide for Families With Asthma and Allergies
On September 1, 2009 @ 2:12 pm In
Health officials around the world have been gearing up in recent years for pandemic flu – a global outbreak of flu caused by a new type of virus that people have not been exposed to before or have not been exposed to in a long time. The virus would spread quickly around the world because people are not immune to it. Pandemics pop up periodically – most recently in 1918, 1957 and 1968 – and they can be very dangerous, especially for people with asthma, COPD and other respiratory conditions.
In June, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that Novel H1N1 influenza [link to our H1N1 page] (originally called “swine flu”) had become pandemic. So far, this virus has not been as serious a threat to health as was originally feared, but it is spreading quickly. Some health experts fear it will mutate into a more serious disease.
The World Health Organization  says a pandemic flu can encircle the globe within three months. How long it takes to infect a community – and how long it stays – is impossible to estimate. If it infects masses of people at once, pandemic flu can be very disruptive to businesses, schools, government and local health services.
People with chronic health conditions like asthma and COPD are at increased risk of developing complications from any flu virus, but there are things you can do to prepare yourself and your family.
Use anchor links here:
PROTECT  by practicing good health habits and updating your asthma action plan.
PREPARE  your family’s supplies of medication and food
PREEMPT  infection with good hygiene and simple prevention techniques
Protect against pandemic flu by practicing good health habits. Update your written, customized asthma treatment plan with your healthcare provider. Exercise, get enough sleep, eat a well-balanced diet, and minimize exposures to allergens, irritants and – most important – viruses!
When your family is living with allergies, asthma or COPD, being prepared is the key to staying healthy. Keep records of your family’s medical history on hand, inspect medications and medical devices, and be ready for an extended stay at home if flu invades your community.
For steps to take when flu infects your family, read Family Matters: Flu Preparedness At Home [link to other article]
This article first appeared in Allergy & Asthma Today magazine, Summer 2006. For a free trial subscription to this award-winning quarterly, click here. 
Updated by Laurie Ross, August 2009
Article printed from Allergy and Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics: http://www.aanma.org
URL to article: http://www.aanma.org/health-topics/flu-facts/pandemic-flu-a-guide/
URLs in this post:
 World Health Organization: http://www.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en
 PROTECT: #protect
 PREPARE: #prepare
 PREEMPT: #preempt
 here: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/masks.htm
 www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/individual/checklist.html: http://www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/individual/checklist.html
 Inspect nebulizers and nebulizer medications: http://www.aanma.org/2009/06/nebulizers-mis/
 here: http://www.aanma.org/pdf/pu_fakes_frauds.pdf
 “It’s Not All in Your Head”: http://www.aanma.org/2009/02/not-all-in-your-head/
 www.pandemicflu.gov: http://www.pandemicflu.gov/
 www.cec.gov/flu: http://www.cec.gov/flu
 here.: http://www.aanma.org/publication/aat-subscription
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