Be prepared for the next swine flu outbreak.

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Influenza can infect young and old and can quickly spread through populations in cities and towns. Schools in some locales are already planning closures for up to two weeks, and there may be major disruptions in normal services if swine flu reaches your area. It’s important to consider in advance how you will care for family members who are ill or have special needs if the services they rely on are not available.

Talk to your doctor about getting an advance supply of your regular medications. Keep some cash on hand in a safe place for quick trips to the store. Find out if you can work from home. Talk to your child’s teachers or school administrators to learn what plans are in place should the school close for an extended period. Consider alternative child-care arrangements, and have books and home-learning activities at the ready. Finally, if you are traveling you can check on outbreaks along your route using the Google map at FluTracker.