Personal Pandemic Planning
As the University strives to be prepared to respond to a pandemic, individuals and families must be prepared, as well.
Diseases can be spread through a variety of ways, including close contact with an infected person, through the air when we cough or sneeze, or by touching contaminated surfaces. It is up to every individual to help prevent the spread of disease by practicing good hygiene and utilizing personal protective measures. To reduce the risk of infection to yourself or others, follow these practices:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid travel to areas where illness is widespread.
- If you are sick, stay at home to avoid spreading the disease.
- If your symptoms are severe, call a healthcare provider before leaving to seek treatment.
- If illness is widespread, utilize social distancing measures to reduce the spread of disease.
- Increase the physical space between people.
- Modify, postpone, cancel, or avoid events or crowded spaces.
Be prepared before you get sick
Some illnesses, while not always severe, may last a week or more. Voluntary home isolation is an effective way to prevent spreading diseases in the community. Prepare yourself for extended isolation before you get sick:
- Gather at least 1-2 weeks’ worth of food and other supplies.
- Ensure you have access to clean water and private restroom facilities.
- Review policies related to working from home, using sick leave, or missing classes.
- Be prepared to cancel travel plans or postpone visits from friends or family.
If a member of your household is sick
If someone you live with (i.e. a family member or a roommate) is sick, it may be necessary to practice voluntary home quarantine. Even if you do not show symptoms of illness, you can still spread the disease from another member of your household. If a member of your household is ill, follow these guidelines:
- Follow guidance from your healthcare provider or public health officials to provide care to a sick household member.
- Help the person with basic needs, including food preparation, water, and helping them follow their healthcare provider’s treatment instructions.
- Monitor the person’s symptoms and contact a health provider if they get sicker.
- Isolate the person and use a separate bedroom and restroom if possible.
- Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home.
- Do not handle pets or other animals while sick.
- Wash your hands frequently. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- You and the sick person should wear a facemask when in the same room.
- Avoid sharing household items with the person, including dishes, utensils, towels, or bedding. Clean any items the person touches after use.
- Clean all high-touch surfaces, including counters, tables, doorknobs, and bathroom fixtures at least once per day.
- Wash laundry thoroughly, wear gloves when handling soiled or contaminated laundry, and wash your hands immediately after.
- Place all used disposable gloves, masks, tissues, or other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with regular household waste.