1. What can I do at home to prepare?
There are several things that you can start to do, or continue with, if you are already practicing them at home:
• Incorporate healthier lifestyles into your daily routine. Eat healthy nutritious foods, get adequate sleep and rest, and exercise regularly. These activities will help ensure that your body is healthy and boost your immune system, enabling your body to fight off serious illnesses or diseases.
• Get your annual flu vaccination.
• Stay home from work if you are sick with the flu to help protect your coworkers.
• Keep your child(ren) home from school if they are sick.
• Practice good hand washing techniques. Hand washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. You can pick up germs when you touch contaminated objects or surfaces and then touch your face, mouth, eyes and nose.
→ Good hand washing techniques include:
• Using an adequate amount of soap and warm water;
• Rubbing the hands together to create friction (making sure to rub between fingers and under nails);
• Lathering up for 20 seconds (equivalent to singing two “Happy Birthday” songs, a good technique for teaching children);
• Rinsing well under running water and drying hands thoroughly.
• Hand wash with a waterless hand scrub:
• Apply gel to palm of one hand;
• Rub hands together, covering all surfaces of hands, fingers, wrists and forearms with enough gel to cover all surfaces;
• Rub into hands until dry (approximately 30-60 seconds). Waterless hand scrubs (alcohol-based gels) are not effective when hands are heavily contaminated with dirt, blood, or other organic materials.
• When there is visible soiling, hands should be washed with soap and water. If there is no soap and water available, use a damp cloth or towelette containing detergent on your hands first, followed by a waterless hand scrub.
2. When should I be washing my hands?
✔ When hands are visibly soiled
✔ After using the washroom or changing diapers
✔ After blowing your nose or sneezing in your hands
✔ After shaking hands with people
✔ Before and after eating, handling food, drinking or smoking
✔ After touching raw meat, poultry or fish
✔ After handling garbage Before visiting or caring for sick people
✔ After handling pets, animals and animal waste
3. Do you have a plan for stockpiling food, water and an emergency survival kit?
Have at least a three-day supply of food and water on hand. Choose ready-to-eat foods—some that don’t require refrigeration and some that don’t require cooking. Here are a few tips to guide you in accumulating your supplies:
Water: An adult should be provided with at least one litre of drinking water per day. In an emergency, water can be retrieved from toilet tanks (not bowl!), water heaters, or melted ice cube trays.
Food: Canned food can include soups, stews, baked beans, pasta, meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, and/or fruits. Crackers and biscuits are handy, as are honey, peanut butter, syrup, jam, salt and pepper, sugar, instant coffee and/or tea.
Equipment: Keep a supply of forks, knives, spoons, manual can opener, bottle opener, disposable cups and plates. A fuel stove and fuel are handy. Don’t use a barbecue indoors and don’t forget waterproof matches and plastic garbage bags.
Basic Emergency Survival Kit:
flashlight and batteries
radio and batteries
first aid kit
candles and matches or lighter
food and bottled water for 72 hours
clothing and footwear
blankets or sleeping bags
toilet paper and other personal supplies
medication / prescriptions
backpack / duffel bag important papers including ID for everyone
whistle, in case you need to attract attention
playing cards, games
tow chains warning light / flares
axe / hatchet
road maps methyl hydrate / de-icer
sand, salt, kitty litter
extra clothing / footwear
matches / survival candle
cloth / paper towels
emergency food pack
ice scraper / brush
first aid kit and survival blanket
4. Do I have my own personal plan for my family and loved ones?
Communicate with them what needs to be done and who is going to do what.
Caring for Family Members Sick in the Home
If you or someone in your family becomes ill with the flu during a pandemic, it is likely you will find yourself convalescing at home. If that should occur, it is important that you try to minimize exposure from your sick family member to other healthy family members. While no efforts can be totally effective in preventing the spread of the disease in your house, some basic suggestions will go a long way to keeping your family as healthy as possible. Family who become ill with influenza need to be cared for in a single room to prevent direct or indirect transmission of the virus. This can be a challenge in a home where there may be inadequate resources.
Remember to plan for your pets
Pets can be valuable and loved members of your family and they also need to be included in your emergency personal plan. You will need to think about their food and water needs during this time. Emergencies or disasters, whether they are natural or human-caused, can strike at any time. If this were to happen in our community, you may not have access to food, water and electricity for days or even weeks. By taking steps now to have a personal family emergency plan and to store emergency food and water supplies, along with an emergency supply kit, you can help minimize the stressful effects of any such disaster or emergency on your family.
Consider these suggestions:
• Place an “ISOLATION” sign on the door.
• Section off the area from the rest of the home with a door or partition and keep this door closed at all times.
• Nothing (dishes, utensils, linens, furniture, etc.) should be removed to another area until it has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
5. What household cleaning solutions can I use?
Bleach (5.25 to 6.0% Sodium Hypochlorite as its only active ingredient) solution should be diluted in clean water.
For disinfection of material contaminated with blood and body fluids: Use concentrations ranging from 1 part bleach to be mixed with 99 parts of tap water.(1:100) or one part of bleach to be mixed with 9 parts of tap water(1:10), depending on the amount of organic material (e.g. blood or mucous) present on the surface to be cleaned and disinfected.
To add to laundry: One part (one 8 oz. cup) of bleach mixed with about 500 parts (28 gallons) of tap water Surface Cleaning Soaking of glassware or plastic items One part (one 8 oz. cup) mixed with about 50 parts (2.8 gallons) of tap water.
Suggested Household Cleaning Schedule & Special Consideration:
– Horizontal surfaces such as tables, work counters: Thorough daily cleaning (or as required) with a water and detergent solution followed by use of a hospital grade disinfectant. Clean when soiled.
– Walls, blinds, curtains: Clean daily, and as splashes or visible soil occur, with water detergent solution, then disinfect with a low level disinfectant.
– Floors: Thorough daily cleaning. Clean when soiled. Damp mopping preferred.
– Carpets/Upholstery: Vacuum daily and shampoo as necessary. Detergent is adequate in most areas. Clean blood/body fluids spills with disposable cloths; clean the area with a detergent solution followed by a low level disinfectant.
– Toys: Clean daily, disinfect with a low level disinfectant, rinse thoroughly, and dry. Toys should be smooth and nonporous (not plush) to facilitate cleaning and decontamination. Do not use any cleansers that are considered toxic.
– Toilets Procedure: Thorough daily cleaning. Clean with a detergent solution when soiled, followed by a low level disinfectant. These may be the source of enteric pathogens (illnesses in the bowels) such as Clostridium difficile and Shingella.