Pandemic Preparedness

Work Life Guidance to Prepare for Pandemic Flu or Other Catastrophic Disaster

At Work

Employees

  • Speak with your supervisor to find out if you perform an essential function and whether you would be authorized to work from home in the event of a pandemic flu or natural catastrophe and identify connection needs, if any, required for home access. See the University's Disaster Preparedness Policy.
  • If you are authorized to work from home, anticipate resources that will enable you to work effectively (work space, access to telephone lines, internet connections, modems, fax machine, etc.).
  • Plan for the possible reduction or loss of income if you are unable to work or your place of employment is closed.
  • Understand the University of Iowa's leave policies, know your current leave balances, and plan to maintain or increase your leave balances if possible. See the University's Disaster Preparedness Policy.

Managers

  • Think about what information people in your workplace will need if you are a manager. This may include information about insurance, leave policies, the possibility of working from home, possible loss of income, and when not to come to work if sick.
  • Meet with your colleagues and make lists of things that you will need to know and what actions can be taken.
  • Identify other information resources in your community, such as mental health hotlines, public health hotlines, or electronic bulletin boards.
  • Find support systems – people who are thinking about the same issues you are thinking about. Share ideas.

Outside of Work

Social Disruption May Be Widespread

  • Usual services (hospitals and health care facilities, banks, stores, restaurants, government offices) may be disrupted.
  • Consider how to care for people with special needs in case the services they rely on are not available (options may include preparing your home or the home of a relative for some level of home care by equipping with medical devised, maintaining a supply of current medications and having, on file, prescriptions for medications/equipment in the event of care in the home).
  • Other services such as utilities, mail, and trash may also be disrupted, as much of the workforce may not be available.

Schools May Be Closed for an Extended Period of Time

  • Plan home learning activities and exercises. Have materials, such as books, on hand. Also plan recreational activities that your children can do at home.
  • Consider childcare needs (options may include working from home, coordinating with other families for rotating in-home childcare, tapping in to other family or community resources to provide in-home childcare).

Supplies

During a pandemic, access to supplies or availability of supplies may be limited. Public waterworks services may also be interrupted. When considering what foods to store, consider foods that:

  • Are nonperishable (will keep for a long time) and don't require refrigeration.
  • Are easy to prepare in case you are unable to cook.
  • Require little or no water, so you can conserve water for drinking.

To plan for a pandemic:

  • Store a two-week supply of water and food.
  • Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
  • Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
  • Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.

Items to have on hand for an extended stay at home:

Food and Non-perishables

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, and soups
  • Protein or fruit bards
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter or nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Crackers
  • Canned juices
  • Bottled water
  • Canned or jarred baby food and formula
  • Pet food
  • Other non-perishables
  • Medical, Health, and Emergency Supplies
  • Prescribed medical supplies
  • Soap and water, or alcohol-based (60-95%) hand wash
  • Medicines for fever
  • Thermometer
  • Vitamins
  • Fluids with electrolytes
  • Manual can opener
  • Flashlight and battery operated radio
  • Batteries
  • Garbage bags

Stay Healthy

  • Get a flu shot. It won't protect against pandemic influenza, but will help you stay healthy generally.
  • Get a pneumonia shot to prevent secondary infection if you are over the age of 65 or have a chronic illness such as diabetes or asthma. For specific guidelines, talk with you health care provider or call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Hotlines at 800-232-4636
  • Make sure that your family's immunizations are up-to-date.
  • Take regularly scheduled medications.
  • Practice good health habits, generally:
    • Eat a balanced diet. Be sure to eat a variety of foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grain products. Also include low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, and beans. Drink lots of water and go easy on salt, sugar, alcohol, and saturated fat.
    • Exercise on a regular basis and get plenty of rest.

To Limit the Spread of Germs and Prevent Infection

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water. Teach your children to do the same.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve if you don't have a tissue. Teach your children to do the same.
  • Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner. Teach your children to do the same.
  • Stay home from work if you are sick.

Additional Resources