A pandemic occurs when an infectious disease spreads throughout the global population. It is different than an epidemic, which is usually contained within a region or country.
The Ministry of Health and Long-term Care works with local public health units and healthcare providers to prepare for a flu pandemic. Their tasks include:
- monitoring flu in Ontario and the rest of the world.
- stockpiling antiviral drugs and equipment.
- deploying drugs and protective equipment where they are needed.
- developing emergency plans for delivering healthcare services.
- administering vaccines as they become available.
Pandemics may arise from a new strain of influenza. Since the virus is new, the human population is likely to have little to no immunity against it.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for about 15 seconds, including:
- before and after eating.
- after being in a public place.
- after using the washroom.
- after coughing and sneezing.
- after touching surfaces that other people also touch.
- Stay healthy by eating well, drinking lots of water, getting regular exercise and plenty of rest.
- Get an annual flu shot.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick and keep distance.
- If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when sick – this will help prevent others from catching the illness.
- Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing – it may prevent those around you from getting sick.
For more information on COVID-19, visit York Region's website.