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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Health > Emergency Preparedness > Pandemic > How to Protect Yourself during a Flu Pandemic



You may not be able to prevent a flu pandemic from happening, but there are many things you can do to protect yourself if a pandemic does occur:

Stay healthy

  • Keep yourself in shape by eating nutritious foods, not smoking, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.
  • Get a flu shot every fall so you're protected against seasonal flu.

Learn how to avoid getting or spreading infectious disease

  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve.
  • Wash your hands often with warm soap and water.
  • If you don't have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based, waterless hand cleaner.

Make a family emergency plan

  • Know how you will get in touch with each other in an emergency and where you will meet.
  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers in a handy place. Store emergency numbers in your cell phones under "ICE" ("In Case of Emergency"), so someone else can call your  emergency numbers if you're not able to.
  • Know what routes you will use if you have to evacuate.

Create an emergency kit

  • Make sure your kit has everything you'll need to get by if you have to remain at home for a period of time - up to two weeks, if possible. Be sure to include:
    • A supply of drinking water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won't spoil (like canned meats and vegetables).
    • Basic equipment like a flashlight, battery-operated radio, batteries, and a can opener.
    • Personal care products including soap, toiletries, waterless hand cleaner, extra glasses or contact lenses, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, tissues and toilet paper, and any special items for infants or people with special health needs.
    • A good first aid kit.
    • Kitchen utensils and dishwashing supplies.
    • Extra clothing and bedding.
    • Other useful items like a notebook and pen, whistle, money and credit cards, extra car keys, medical and insurance information, and copies of other important documents.
    • Games, reading material, and other entertainment items. You might need to stay home for a while during a pandemic.
    • To learn more about being prepared, visit, ReadyPA website