Second National Preparedness Month Giveaway!

It’s time for the second National Preparedness Month giveaway! This week we’re focusing on pandemic flu preparedness, so leave a comment on this post to tell us how you’re preparing for a flu outbreak this year.

While you’re thinking about pandemic flu preparedness, check out our Web site and review the pandemic flu safety tips. There are all sorts of simple steps you can take to minimize exposure to viruses and many of them are listed within our safety tips.

The giveaway entry deadline is 4 p.m. this Friday (Sept. 18), so don’t wait – comment now! We’ll choose the best comment and the winner will receive one of our American Red Cross Preparedness Radios, a $60 value.

Please leave your email address in your comment if you can, or check back Friday at 5 p.m. to see if you’ve won!

10 responses

  1. Everyone in my home got their flu shots today. Everyone has tiny hand sanitizers for at home, at work, and in purses and bags. And we're holding our breaths as we pass other people on the street so we don't inhale their germs.

  2. I get a flu shot every year, stay home when I do get sick, always wash my hands before I eat, and try to remember to cover sneezes with my sleeve instead of my hand.I wish we could come up with a socially acceptable alternative to handshakes during flu season, since a lot of other people *don't* remember to wash their hands and try to keep working despite being ill. Even if they don't have the flu, I'd prefer not to catch colds and other viruses that leave me more susceptible!

  3. We could just wear masks when we're sick, like they do in most Asian nations I've visited. They're polite and don't want to spread their germs. The governments reenforce this with PSAs and other advertising. There is no social stigma attached to wearing a mask in public like there is in America.

  4. The problem with masks is that surgical masks (cheapest, most commonly used) don't really offer much protection and give people a false sense of security. The respirator-type masks that can protect against the germs are uncomfortable and can't be worn by pregnant women, one of the most susceptible groups. More here: sanitizers are great for flu season and potential outbreaks, but there's a lot of speculation in the medical community(not sure about hard evidence) that frequent use of sanitizers and anti-bacterial soaps can actually make you more susceptible to bacteria and viruses. Lowering everyday exposure could prevent someone from building up natural immunity to those germs. In addition, strains can mutate and become more virulent in response, so going overboard could actually make an outbreak more serious.

  5. The problem is that you're still looking at the mask situation from an American perspective. The masks aren't for the healthy — they're for the sick. Especially those with sneezing and coughs. Re-read my comment.The Bloomberg article you linked to also is looking at it from an American, not Asian perspective.

  6. You're right – I was looking at it from that perspective. Wearing masks can prevent spreading of germs via sneezes and coughs a lot more effectively than just hand-washing or covering one's mouth/nose with a sleeve – if they're used properly and there isn't widespread social stigma, which is where the public awareness campaigns come in (as you mentioned).During flu season, I think that's a good idea for anyone who feels like they're coming down with something. But it would still be a lot better if those people would limit their exposure to others, stay home, and get some rest. I realize staying home isn't always that easy – especially if someone has to make arrangements for childcare, doesn't have any sick days at work, etc. There can also be the mentality that missing work will make you look weak or put you too far behind to catch up. Businesses would be wise to have and reinforce policies of not coming in to the workplace when sick/sending sick employees home (especially in sectors like food/service). And employees who may feel well enough to work but who are exhibiting symptoms should be encouraged to work-from-home if/when that's a possibility.

  7. This is Gentry Lassiter from the Greater Chicago Red Cross. Thank you all for your comments and tips on this post. We'll choose a winner shortly, so if you haven't yet provided us with an email address with your comment, take a minute to do that so we can contact you if you're the winner. Thanks again for your participation and discussion!

  8. Congratulations, Anna, you've been selected as the winner for the giveaway! Please provide us with a way to contact you and we'll get you your Emergency Radio as quickly as we can. Thanks for participating and supporting the Red Cross!

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