Influenza Pandemic

An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population. The virus begins to cause serious illness and then spreads easily person-to-person worldwide.

Before A Pandemic Outbreak

  • Prepare for the possibility that usual services may be disrupted. These could include services provided by hospitals and other health care facilities, banks, stores, restaurants, government offices and post offices.
  • Consider how to care for people with special needs in case the services they rely on are not available.
  • Adopt business/school practices that encourage sick employees/students to stay home. Anticipate how to function with a significant portion of the workforce/school population absent due to illness or caring for ill family members.
  • Practice good health habits, including eating a balanced diet, exercising daily and getting sufficient rest. In addition, take common-sense steps to stop the spread of germs including frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes and staying away from others as much as possible when you are sick.
  • Get a kit of emergency supplies and prepare a portable Ready kit in case you have to evacuate.

During A Pandemic

  • Limit the spread of germs by
    • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
    • Staying home from work and school, and avoiding errands when you are sick.
    • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
    • Washing your hands often.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
  • Reliable, accurate and timely information is available at Another source for information on pandemic influenza is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Hotline at: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636). This line is available in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY: 1-888-232-6348. Questions can be e-mailed to [email protected].
  • Talk to your local health care providers and public health officials. More information on Georgia’s local planning for Pandemic Influenza can be found here.

What should people do if they begin experiencing flu-like symptoms?

If people are ill, they should attempt to stay at home and limit contact with others until they are symptom-free for 24 hrs. Ill people who experience any of the following warning signs should seek emergency medical care:

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

How can citizens protect themselves and their loved ones?

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you become ill with influenza-like symptoms, contact your health care provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.