Stay safe. Be prepared for the next swine flu outbreak.


Swine flu (H1N1), like all influenza, tends to follow seasonal cycles, meaning there is a good chance it will return, and public health experts speculate that it could appear in a more severe form. This is not a reason to panic, but it is a good time to establish preventive measures and prepare for potential future outbreaks.

You can prepare yourself for this or the next influenza outbreak just as you might for other types of emergencies, such as power outages and natural disasters. Stock up on water and non-perishable foods such as ready-to-eat canned goods and juices, protein or fruit bars, cereal, dried fruit and nuts, crackers, canned or jarred baby food and, to be sure, pet food.

Other emergency supplies to have on hand for an extended stay at home include: soap and water, medicines for fever, a thermometer, antidiarrheal medication, vitamins, fluids with electrolytes, tissues, toilet paper, disposable diapers and, if someone in your home requires them, prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood-pressure monitoring equipment.