What You Can Do to Prepare for an Anthrax Attack

Get a kit, make a plan, stay informed

For details about how to put together an emergency kit, develop a family disaster plan, and stay informed about all types of emergencies, go to CDC’s Center for Preparedness and Response website. These basic preparedness steps would be essential during an anthrax emergency.

People in areas where anthrax is released would also need to know how to get antibiotics, how to create a family medical history, and how to recognize the symptoms of anthrax.

How to get antibiotics during an anthrax crisis

People handing out medicine in a POD (Point of Dispensing).

If an anthrax emergency happened in your area, your community might need to receive large amounts of antibiotics and medical supplies from the federal government. The supplies would be sent to sites that are usually called points of dispensing (PODs). PODs would be located in your community in safe, familiar places such as schools or convention centers.

In an anthrax emergency, you would be able to find out where the nearest POD is located and what to bring to the POD by listening to news updates on TV and the radio, visiting your health department’s website, and staying alert for messages from community leaders.

PODs are designed to provide medicine to a large number of people in a short period of time, so you could expect to stand in line. While at the POD, you would be asked to fill out a form that includes some basic information about your medical history. Once you complete your form, a POD staff member would review it and determine which antibiotic is best for you.

Keep a family medical history

A person writing on a checklist.

In some cases, you may be able to pick up antibiotics for others in your household. If you live with family members, it’s important to keep a medical history for each person in your family, including:

  • check iconMedical conditions
  • check iconAllergies
  • check iconAny medicines they are taking
  • check iconEach child’s weight

During an emergency, you may be asked to bring this information to a POD to make sure you get the right antibiotics for everyone in your family.

In an anthrax emergency, many lives would be saved if people started taking antibiotics right away. It would be very important to start taking antibiotics as soon as you get them, take them as directed, and keep taking them as for as long as you are told to.

We hope there is never an anthrax emergency that requires PODs to open, but if there is, be assured the process is in place to get antibiotics to you and your family as quickly as possible.

Be aware of the symptoms of anthrax

During an anthrax emergency, you would need to be able to recognize the symptoms of anthrax, especially inhalation anthrax, and be prepared to get medical care if you have any of these symptoms.

Additional Information