Action Steps for Community and Faith-based Organizations to Prevent the Spread of Flu
This website is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated. For updated information on the current flu season, see the CDC Seasonal Flu website.
November 6, 2009, 2:00 PM ET
Prepare Your Organization
- Identify and create points of contact with your local public health department or agency.
- Develop a plan to cover key staff positions when staff members need to stay home because they are sick or caring for sick family members.
- Read “H1N1 Flu: A Guide for Community and Faith-based Organizations” for more action steps your organization can take to keep community members healthy during flu season.
- Review and revise existing pandemic flu and all-hazards or disaster plans.
Prepare Your Staff
- Encourage all staff (both volunteer and paid) to get vaccinated for seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 in accordance with CDC recommendations.
- Educate and encourage staff to cover their mouths and noses with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, and to throw the tissue away after use. If they don’t have a tissue, they should cough or sneeze into their elbows or shoulder, not into their hands. Display reminder posters.
- Remind staff to wash hands regularly and provide the time and supplies for them to do so. Hands should be washed often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand rub can be used.
- Remind staff to stay home and parents/caregivers to keep a sick child at home when they have flu-like symptoms
- Flu symptoms may include:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
- Sometimes vomiting and diarrhea with 2009 H1N1
- Flu symptoms may include:
- Send sick staff home immediately. Ask them not to return until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 degrees Celsius measured by mouth) or signs of a fever (chills, feeling very warm, flushed appearance, or sweating), without the use of a medicine to reduce fever such as Tylenol™, aspirin, or Motrin™.
- Routinely clean surfaces and items that are frequently touched by different people, such as doorknobs, faucets, and telephones. Wipe these surfaces with a household disinfectant, following the directions on the product label. Additional disinfection of these surfaces beyond routine cleaning is not recommended.
- Encourage staff at higher risk for complications from flu to consult their healthcare provider if they become sick with flu-like symptoms. Pregnant women, children under 5 years of age, and people with certain chronic health conditions (such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes) are at higher risk for flu complications and may benefit from early treatment with antiviral medicines if they are sick with flu.
- Consider temporarily closing children’s programs if flu is widespread in the community, if the number of staff and children staying home makes it difficult for the early childhood program to operate, or if local health officials recommend temporarily closing early childhood programs to decrease the spread of flu in your community. Work closely with your local public health officials to make this decision.
Prepare Your Community
- Spread the word about what your members can do to prepare for the flu and how to stay healthy during the 2009-2010 flu season.
- Share “H1N1 Flu: A Guide for Community and Faith-based Organizations” with leaders and other organizations in your community.
- Check Flu for the most up-to-date information on current recommendations.
- Institute a “Healthy Habits” or “Flu Facts” section in your newsletter, bulletin, and Web site.
- Sponsor a community lecture series on preventing and treating the flu.
- Develop a “buddy” system to help ensure vulnerable and hard-to-reach community members stay connected to flu-related news and services. These may include low-income people and families; non-English speakers; homeless people and families; shut-in or homebound individuals; migrant workers, immigrants and refugees; and people with physical, sensory, mental health, intellectual, and cognitive disabilities.
- Encourage the general public and families to be prepared for flu by distributing the fact sheets, posters, letters, and other information in this toolkit.
Support State and Local Health Departments’ Vaccination Efforts
- Help people understand the primary vaccination target groups for seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu.
- Encourage primary vaccination target groups to get their flu vaccinations.
- Offer your facilities as sites for vaccination programs in partnership with your state or local health department.
- Provide information about where and when vaccinations are available.
- Tailor health department information on vaccinations to meet the specific cultural or religious needs of your community.
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