FAQs - Influenza Pandemic

Q1.  What is an influenza (flu) pandemic?

Answer:

A pandemic is a disease outbreak that occurs worldwide. A flu pandemic is an outbreak caused by a new flu virus that spreads around the world. The virus will spread easily from person to person, mostly through coughing and sneezing. Because the virus is new to people, everyone will be at risk of getting it. Recent examples are bird (avian) and swine flu.

Q2.  What can I do to minimise the spread of flu pandemic?

Answer:

Delaying the spread of influenza virus is of the utmost importance. You can play a role by washing hands regularly, regularly cleaning surfaces, implementing social distancing (i.e keeping at least one metre away from other people), disposing of tissues.

You may choose, or you may be required by health authorities, to wear a surgical mask or respirator (sometimes referred to as a P2/N95 mask).

Q3.  What is the impact of an influenza pandemic?

Answer:

An influenza pandemic could result in very high staff absenteeism rates for some periods during an outbreak.  It is estimated that businesses should plan for 30–50% of staff to be absent in a flu pandemic.

With these factors in mind, businesses need to rethink their risk management policy and have a pandemic plan which will assist in business continuity to cope with a pandemic

Q4.  How much do colds and flus cost Australian businesses?

Answer:

It has been estimated that colds and flu cost Australian companies more than $7 billion a year in lost time. St John can complete an infection control risk assessment of your workplace and provide  training and products to help reduce the spread of infection within your workplace and prepare for a pandemic outbreak.

Q5.  What is Hand Hygiene?

Answer:

Hand hygiene is the single most effective way to reduce the spread of germs but often it is done incorrectly or not often enough.  St John can complete an infection control risk assessment of your workplace and recommend training and products to minimise infection.

Q6.  How effective is an alcohol based sanitiser?

Answer:

Touching can transmit up to 80% of infections.*  An alcohol based hand sanitiser gel kills germs without soap or water.

*Source:  Tierno, P.M. The Secret Life of Germs. New York: Atria Books, 2001, p.13.

Q7.  Will a face mask protect me from swine flu?

Answer:

When used correctly a face mask will help protect you from swine flu but must be used in addition to other hygiene practices  such as washing your hands and social distancing.

When used correctly a face mask will help protect you from swine flu but must be used in addition to other hygiene practices[A1]  such as washing your hands and social distancing.

 [A1]Correctamondo!

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Infection Control information provided by St John Ambulance Australia is for the Australian market only.  All care has been taken by St John Ambulance Australia with the preparation of this information but the organisation takes no responsibility for its use by other parties or individuals.

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