Pandemic Flu Awareness Week
Continuing the public health experiment, Flu Wiki in association with the blogosphere will use October 3–9 as Pandemic Flu Awareness Week.
The purpose of Pandemic Flu Awareness Week, and the Flu Wiki, is to allow the dissemination of information down to the local level so that everyone can use each others’ experience, planning and ideas so as not to be left unawares should an actual pandemic occur. Like hurricanes, when a pandemic occurs cannot be accurately predicted. Nonetheless, that which can be done in advance should be done, because eventually something will happen. Planning can only help, even if at the local level it can’t prevent.
Blogs, media and other sources of information who choose to participate can use Flu Wiki and its list of Links and Other Sources such as:
to highlight just a few from the available list, and any of the other flu resources on the internet. Here, for example, are the Phases of a Pandemic from the Basic Science section; here is an introductory page (What do I need to know?). if this all still seems confusing, try Pandemic Influenza Risk Communication: The Teachable Moment by Peter M. Sandman and Jody Lanard (consultants to WHO), a readable summary of what’s going on and why it’s important - and why it’s difficult to discuss, along with how to discuss it.
What can you do? There are actually many things you can do, from educating yourself, to thinking about how your business would be affected if 20% or more of the work force were out sick (or 20% of your delivery force were out sick), to finding out what your hospital, town, or state is doing to prepare. Even asking the question gives (sometimes reluctant) local officials the impetus to examine what they’ve done and what they still need to do to prepare and plan. Here’s an example of a discussion of community preparedness ongoing in the Flu Wiki Forum (scan the index for topics of interest).
A pandemic can’t be ‘organized away’ into insignificance. But planning and participation can help you to help your local authorities and public officials share information and begin dealing with the tough issues of rationing of medication, vaccines and even hospital beds. A broader knowledge base will better allow you to be an effective participant in these very important discussions.