Influenza infects your body through your mucous membranes: your nose, mouth, and eyes.
1. Wash up
Good handwashing and good cough and sneeze etiquette are always wise habits to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting any infection, and they are crucial to protecting your health during a pandemic. Be a good example for your children.
2. Keep your distance
‘Social distancing’ and trying to stay more than 1 metre away from people will decrease your risk of spreading or contracting influenza during a pandemic.
3. Be cautious
Use a mask if you need to be less than 1 metre from a person who is ill with influenza, or if you must be in a crowd during Phase 6 of a pandemic. If you can, it’s even better to avoid crowds at this time.
4. Protect yourself
If you are going to be handling the bodily fluids or secretions of someone who is ill with influenza, wash your hands even more and consider wearing gloves.
5. Find balance
Choosing how to go about your daily life during a pandemic means striking a balance between an activity’s risk of exposing you to influenza, and whether that activity is essential for you.
6. Play it safe
Cooperate with any containment measures in your community if they are used. They are well understood to be disruptive and therefore won’t be used unless they are felt to be important.
Excerpted from The Flu Pandemic and You Copyright © 2006 by Vincent Lam, M.D. Colin Lee, M.D.. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday Canada. All rights reserved.