New viruses can emerge and spread quickly. Viruses can be spread from person to person, from a non-living object to a person and by people who are infected but don’t have any symptoms. It is hard to predict when or where the next new pandemic will develop but there are some things you can know to be prepared when the next pandemic hits.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Prepare for the possibility of schools, workplaces and community centers being closed. Investigate and prepare for virtual coordination for school, work (telework) and social activities.
  • Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days or weeks. Supplies may include cleaning supplies, non-perishable foods, prescriptions and bottled water.
  • Review your health insurance policies to understand what they cover, including telemedicine options.
  • Take actions to prevent the spread of disease. Cover coughs and sneezes. Wear a mask in public. Stay home when sick (except to get medical care). Disinfect surfaces. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Stay six feet away from people who are not part of your household.
  • If you believe you’ve been exposed to the disease, contact your doctor, follow the quarantine instructions from medical providers and monitor your symptoms. If you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 and shelter in place with a mask, if possible, until help arrives.
  • Share accurate information about the disease with friends, family and people on social media. Sharing bad information about the disease or treatments for the disease may have serious ramification.
  • Know that it’s normal to feel anxious or stressed. Engage virtually with your community through video and phone calls. Take care of your body and talk to someone if you are feeling upset.
  • Consider how a pandemic may affect your plans for other emergencies and prepare accordingly.

During a pandemic, refer to the latest information from the CDC and our local and state public health departments for accurate information. You can also create an emergency plan so that you and your family know what to do and what you will need in case an outbreak happens.