"This effort is our next step in helping the citizens of our state have the latest information about pandemic influenza," said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. "We want individuals, businesses, and families to be prepared for any potential threat this illness might pose in the future, because we believe that - in the event of a pandemic influenza outbreak - following the instructions of public health officials will ultimately safe lives."
The 12-page document, available on the MDCH influenza web page, provides citizens pandemic flu facts, information about vaccines and antiviral medications, tips for handling birds safely, and advice for practicing good hygiene - a critical weapon in the fight against illness, said Dr. Gregory Holzman, State Chief Medical Executive.
"The beauty of the information contained in this resource guide is that so many of the tips are applicable to all diseases, not just influenza," Holzman said. "Knowledge is our best defense against any public health threat, and we have worked hard to make the language in this document easily understandable. By removing medical jargon, we increase the chances of citizens putting this issue in the appropriate proactive context."
The document also outlines potential challenges Michigan could face in dealing with a potential pandemic influenza outbreak, including planning for service disruption, travel considerations, family communications plans, food and water considerations, potential closure of schools and daycare centers, and preparedness for medical care. Additionally, the guide gives Michigan businesses a checklist to follow as they develop plans for health preparedness and business continuity.
"We're pleased - along with our MDCH partners - to be able to make this pandemic influenza resource guide - Pandemic Flu and You - available to Michigan residents, businesses and local communities," said Ellen J. Clement, MALPH President and Health Officer of the Washtenaw County Public Health Department. "The best way to prevent or limit the negative impact of health emergencies - such as pandemic influenza - is to have every sector and individual understand what they need to do ahead of time. By providing accurate, timely and comprehensive information to the broadest possible audience we can help ensure that they will take the necessary steps to be prepared." - Michigan Department of Community Health