A “pandemic” is a disease that spreads all over the world and affects a large number of people. If you are caring for a loved one during a pandemic, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself and others. Always follow the most current advice of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and your local health department.
These healthy habits will help keep you and others from getting and passing on the virus.
Also, a person with signs of the flu should:
The flu virus is spread when contaminated droplets exit the mouth and nose of an infected person and the virus comes in contact with others. So, follow these tips to protect yourself and others in your home:
Caregivers should always wash their hands before providing care. Afterward, wash again and apply alcohol-based hand sanitizer as well. Follow these steps for proper hand hygiene:
Watch for these symptoms:
Call your health-care professional at the first sign of the flu. Many symptoms can be treated by the health-care professional over the telephone.
A person recovering from flu should have:
In some cases, a health-care professional may prescribe antiviral drugs to treat the flu. Antibiotics (like penicillin) don’t cure it.
Keep a care log. Write down the date, time, fever, symptoms, medicines given and dosage. Make a new entry at least every 4 hours or when the symptoms change. Call your healthcare professional again if your loved one has:
If you cannot reach your health-care professional, call 9-1-1 or local emergency number for any of the signs below:
Dehydration occurs when the body loses too much water and it’s not replaced quickly enough. It can be serious. Begin giving soothing drinks at the first signs of the flu and follow these tips: In addition to plenty of liquids, give ice and light, easily digested foods, such as soup and broth.
If your loved one has diarrhea or vomiting, give fluids that contain electrolytes. These are available at your pharmacy or grocery store. Or you can make your own rehydration electrolyte drink for someone over the age of 12. > If drinking liquids makes nausea worse, give one sip at a time until your loved one can drink again.
To help reduce a fever, do the following:
After you have called your doctor or emergency number for a fever, continue to follow the home treatment recommen-dations above. If there is a delay in getting help, ask a health-care professional if you should start an additional dose of an alternate fever- reducing medication (acetaminophen, ibuprophen or aspirin) between the doses described on the label. Always continue to give plenty of fluids.
Make a plan now for a flu pandemic. Figure out what you will do if members of your household have to stay home from work or school or stay separated from others for a period of time. Keep extra supplies of food, water, medications and your disaster supply kit on hand.
Pandemic Flu Caregiving Supplies:
For more information, contact your local American Red Cross chapter, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.