Friday, September 30, 2011

Preparedness month... day 30!

It's the last day of preparedness month! We hope that you've enjoyed celebrating and learning with us these past 30 days about our favorite topic… preparedness!! If you've missed out on any of them, click here to take a trip through the month of September and catch up!!

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Preparedness Tip #30
Unlike an explosion, a biological attack may or may not be immediately obvious. Most likely local health care workers will report a pattern of unusual illness or a wave of sick people seeking medical attention. The best source of information will be radio or television reports.

Understand that some biological agents, such as anthrax, do not cause contagious diseases. Others, like the smallpox virus, can result in diseases you can catch from other people.

In the event of a biological attack, public health officials may not immediately be able to provide information on what you should do. It will take time to determine exactly what the illness is, how it should be treated, and who may have been exposed. 

You should watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for official news including the following:

--Are you in the group or area authorities believe may have been exposed?
--What are the signs and symptoms of the disease?
--Are medications or vaccines being distributed?
--Where? Who should get them and how?
--Where should you seek emergency medical care if you become sick?

During a declared biological emergency:

--If a family member becomes sick, it is important to be suspicious.
--Do not assume, however, that you should go to a hospital emergency room or that any illness is the result of the biological attack. Symptoms of many common illnesses may overlap.
-- Use common sense, practice good hygiene and cleanliness to avoid spreading germs, and seek medical advice
--Consider if you are in the group or area authorities believe to be in danger
--If your symptoms match those described and you are in the group considered at risk, immediately seek emergency medical attention

If you are potentially exposed:

-- Follow instructions of doctors and other public health officials
--If the disease is contagious expect to receive medical evaluation and treatment. You may be advised to stay away from others or even deliberately quarantined
--For non-contagious diseases, expect to receive medical evaluation and treatment

If you become aware of an unusual and suspicious substance nearby:

--Quickly get away
--Protect yourself. Cover your mouth and nose with layers of fabric that can filter the air but still allow breathing. Examples include two to three layers of cotton such as a t-shirt, handkerchief or towel. Otherwise, several layers of tissue or paper towels may help.
--Wash with soap and water
--Contact authorities
--Watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for official news and information including what the signs and symptoms of the disease are, if medications or vaccinations are being distributed and where you should seek medical attention if you become sick
--If you become sick seek emergency medical attention

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