Pandemic flu is not the same as seasonal flu. Every year in the UK we have a ‘flu season’ which usually runs from October to May.
A flu pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges and spreads around the world. As it is a new type of flu, most people do not have immunity meaning it can spread more easily.
Pandemic flu may be associated with mild to moderate illness (which may or may not be widespread), or significant severe illness and mortality in certain ages or patient groups.
A flu pandemic can occur at any time and in extreme cases it may disrupt the normal functioning of society.
What you need to do
Keep as healthy as possible and follow these basic hygiene practices:
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and use a tissue when possible.
- Dispose of dirty tissues promptly and carefully.
- Maintain good basic hygiene. For example, wash hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to your face or to other people.
- Clean hard surfaces (e.g. door handles) frequently using a normal cleaning product.
- Help children to follow this advice.
Keep personal stocks of “over the counter” cold and flu medication to help relieve your symptoms.
Know the sickness and closure arrangements for your child’s school.
Know the sickness reporting arrangement of your employer.
Identify a ‘flu friend’ who could collect your medication, food and other supplies if you become ill.
Look out for elderly relatives or neighbours who may need extra help. Contact your local council for more advice and assistance.
Look out for and observe advice and guidance from the NHS. For more information visit www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk