Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
Submit News
  
 Search
  9911 Seminole Blvd. Seminole, FL 33772       Ph. 727-397-5563   View TBN's FREE e-Edition today!  
Click here to learn more
Pinellas County Facebook Twitter
Preparedness not just for hurricane season
Article published on
  Print E-Mail
 
PINELLAS COUNTY – Health officials say the public needs to prepare for an influenza pandemic that they know is coming sometime in the future.

“We’re doing our best not to panic people,” Gayle Guidash with the Pinellas County Department of Health’s public health preparedness department, told the Board of County Commissioner’s in April. “But, people need to be prepared.”

Guidash is working with Gary Vickers, director of the county’s emergency management department, on a county plan and

preparedness measures. Communication to the public of the need to prepare and self-protection is a key component in the plan

“Once it (pandemic influenza) takes hold, there will be little or no help from the outside,” Guidash said.

Most people are aware of H5N1 Avian Influenza – a virus that affects wild birds, chickens and humans that come into direct contact with the blood or feces of an infected bird.

Thus far, no documented evidence exists of the avian flu spreading from person to person. However, influenza viruses are quick to mutate, and health officials are closely monitoring H5N1.

“Pandemic influenza is different from seasonal influenza because it occurs when a new strain of influenza emerges that can be transmitted easily from person to person and for which people have no immunity,” according to the federal Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, released May 3. “Unlike seasonal influenza, which typically affects the frail and sick, pandemic influenza could present as much risk to the young and healthy.”

On Dec. 30, 2005, President George Bush signed the Pandemic Influenza Act, 2006. The Act included $3.8 billion for pandemic influenza preparedness.

Guidash said the state of Florida received a little more than $4 million in federal funding. Pinellas County’s share was not quite $111,000.

The state’s money has gone in part to increasing surveillance in the form of sentinel physicians and training of medical workers to be vigilant for signs of the onset of an influenza pandemic.

“There’s a short window from the time it’s detected because it’s quick to transmit,” Guidash said. “It takes six to nine months to make a vaccine and there won’t be enough antiviral medications to go around.”

She said the best plan people could make for their own survivability is much the same as the measures taken during hurricane season.

People should keep a survival kit stocked with food, water, medicines – everything they need to survive on their own, she said.

“We will isolate the sick and quarantine the well to limit personal interaction,” Guidash said. “People will be asked to self-quarantine.”

People should stay as healthy as possible and practice good habits, such as washing their hands often, covering their mouth and nose with a tissue when they sneeze or cough, using paper towels on door knobs, not touching mouth, nose and eyes, and other practices to limit the spread of germs.

Avian flu is carried and spread by migratory birds, so health officials know it’s only a matter of time before birds in the United States will be threatened. Guidash said some time would be available to get ready as the birds are tracked from adjoining countries, such as Mexico.

“It’s still unknown if the avian flu will be the next pandemic or not,” Guidash said. “It could be another already known influenza strain that mutates. Either way, people need to be aware and stay prepared and keep a hurricane-like focus year around.”

For more information on how to prepare, call the office of Public Health Preparedness at 820-4155.

For more information, on ways to stay healthy, visit www.p­inell­aswel­lness­.com.

For more information on the avian flu, visit www.p­inell­ashea­lth.c­om.
Article published on
Copyright © Tampa Bay Newspapers: All rights reserved.
Printable Version E-mail article
Featured Print Advertisers
Tarpon Springs Recreation Division
2017 Sunset Beach Concert Series
Web site        View Ad
:)
Oakhurst & East Bay Medical
13020 Park Blvd., Seminole
(727) 393-3404
3800 East Bay Dr., Largo
(727) 539-0505

Web site        View Ad
:)
Flooring America
9012 Seminole Blvd., Seminole
(727) 397-5509
100 Patricia Ave., Dunedin
(727) 733-1356

Web site        View Ad
:)
Abbey Carpet & Floor of Largo
13120 66th St. N.
Largo
(727) 524-1445

Web site        View Ad
:)
Florida Center for Back & Neck Pain
Dr. Greg Hollstrom
11444 Seminole Blvd.
Largo
(727) 393-6100

Web site        View Ad
:)
Custom Couture of Tarpon Springs
208 East Tarpon Ave.
Tarpon Springs
(727) 238-7194

Web site        View Ad
:)
Tampa Bay Newspapers
Online Advertising
For information, e-mail
webmaster@tbnweekly.com
:)
Advertisement
Online Services Directory
MEDICAL DIRECTORY   ONLINE DINING GUIDE
MEDICAL DIRECTORY ONLINE DINING GUIDE
AUTOMOTIVE GUIDE REAL ESTATE GUIDE
AUTOMOTIVE GUIDE REAL ESTATE GUIDE
Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
Submit News