Challenges for Individuals
Just as nations and communities struggle to cope with the many challenges that pandemics create, individuals likewise must bear a large burden. Employees are asked to stay home 24 hours after a fever subsides, even if they don’t have sick days to spare. Parents have to find alternative care when schools are closed, even though their children are not ill. And health care workers are asked to go to work, even though that means being among the infected.
Additionally, final decisions on vaccinations, voluntary isolation, stockpiling of supplies and what is now called “cough etiquette
” are all made in the home. Naturally, people have a lot of questions about what they should and shouldn’t do during a pandemic and they look to trusted news sources for answers.
There are a number of reliable online sources providing answers to basic questions people have about pandemic disease, ranging from “Do I have it?” to “Should I stockpile?” We have aggregated some useful links on this page to guide you through the ocean of information now available on the subject.
Prevention for specific groups/situations
A story idea on vaccines
The need for swine flu vaccination varies according to each person’s unique circumstances. For example, surveillance data show that pregnant women are at substantially higher risk of severe illness or death from 2009 H1N1 influenza. Children are more susceptible than adults, and are more likely to spread the infection. People born before 1957 appear to have some natural immunity to the virus because of prior exposure to swine flu strains. Health care workers face greater exposure to sick patients and their absence from the workforce due to their own illnesses hampers efforts to deal with a pandemic.
What are the main demographic groups that live in your community and what is their risk profile? How can your reporting help individuals understand that risks are different from fears, and assist them in making more educated decisions about vaccinations?
What to do if you get sick
Preventing the spread of the disease
Information for specific groups/situations: