Medical & Pandemic

Infectious Disease Can Spread Quickly

A pandemic is an infectious disease that spreads throughout human populations over a large region. There have been many pandemics throughout history; the most recent pandemic was the H1N1 pandemic in 2009.

Disease outbreaks and health emergencies can happen suddenly and without warning, often posing a threat to public health and safety. Causes include extreme weather, infectious diseases, industrial accidents or intentional acts.

How to Prepare

  • Review Before an Emergency for general information on how to prepare.
  • Have a plan and practice it with your family.
  • Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
  • Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
  • Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference.

During a Pandemic

  • Limit the spread of germs and prevent infections.
  • Reduce your personal risk by washing your hands well and often.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

After a Pandemic

  • Health care systems will be quickly overwhelmed as many people will be sick, but, so will nurses and doctors. This means health care might not be available for you or your family. You may need to care for sick family members at home.
  • Remain in your home as long as you can to avoid contact with sick people.
  • Stay up-to-date with health alerts in your area, across BC and across Canada. Go to HealthLinkBC.

Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health, health authorities and the BC Ambulance Service are required to develop, implement and test emergency and business continuity plans. These plans include an all-hazards approach for preparing for, responding to, and recovering from a wide range of emergencies and disasters.

Bc Centre for Disease Control (Bccdc)

Events that threaten public health are planned for by the BCCDC's Public Health Outbreak and Emergency. It works with the Ministry of Health, regional health authorities, as well as ambulance, fire and law enforcement to minimize casualties, contain the emergency or outbreak and to inform the public.