…Flu pandemics are natural events that happen when a unique flu virus evolves that few people (if any) are immune to.
Image: Wiki Commons
…so what is it?
There are important differences between ‘ordinary’ seasonal flu of the kind that happens in winter, and pandemic flu.
In a pandemic, the new virus will spread quickly and cause more serious illness in a large proportion of the population, due to the lack of immunity
There is a high probability of a flu pandemic occurring, but it is impossible to predict when, or exactly what it would be like.
Each pandemic is different and the nature of the virus and its impacts cannot be known in detail in advance.
Covid-19, Swine Flu, and Spanish Flu are 3 examples of pandemics that have caused major disruption.
- Vulnerable people exposed to lower levels of care
- Longer and more frequent disruptions to essential utilities
- Reduced levels of emergency services cover
- Disruptions to businesses and organisations through staff shortages and supply chain interruptions
- Impacts on the national and local economy
What we do as an LRF…
- Management of demand on NHS services and social care
- Distribution of anti-viral medication
- Public awareness and media management
- Managing excessive levels of death
What you can do to help us…
- Keep up a healthy lifestyle (and good hygiene)
- Make a flu friend – someone to help you with essentials if you isolate
- Keep basic flu/cold medication handy
- Annual flu vaccination can reduce risk
- Follow NHS guidance – catch it, bin it, kill it
A new coronavirus variant emerged from China in December 2019. The LRF met in early January 2020 to discuss an action plan. An emergency was declared, and support begin from the County Emergency Centre.
The LRF co-ordinated and supported with a variety of things. These are just a few of them:
During all three response phases, the LRF helped to co-ordinate Public Health LFT testing sites in local districts, and worked directly with the NHS and their Vaccination cell to ensure that both hospital and vaccination sites were supported and successful.
The LRFs resident Warn and Inform team promoted key messaging amongst the public through their award nominated Tom, Dick, and Harriet campaign. They continued to work tirelessly through the pandemic helping to spread advice, vaccination information, and isolation guidance.
The LRF also supported Funeral Directors and Mortuary staff with managing their activities and problems. Whilst a sombre task, it was one that had to be done none-the-less to ensure the mortality system continued.
Other groups also received much needed support: including the delivery of care packages to those vulnerable, including medications, food, and toiletries.
Photo Credit: Case: Flick Commons: 1
Vaccination: © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons), COVID-19 vaccination center, fair grounds Cologne, test run-6851, CC BY-SA 4.0