Pandemic Flu Planning

Common Types of Flu

Seasonal Flu

Seasonal flu refers to several common strains (specific forms) of flu virus that go around each year, mainly in fall and winter. A yearly shot (vaccine) can help prevent it.

Bird Flu

Bird (avian) flu refers to flu strains that mainly infect poultry and some wild birds. If bird flu were to evolve in a way that let it spread to people and then spread easily between people a flu pandemic could begin. Currently there is no widely available vaccine to protect humans against the H5N1 bird flu virus. Antivirals may be available (mostly for treatment); however the effectiveness of antivirals is uncertain.

Flu Pandemics

A flu pandemic is when a new flu strain starts spreading easily and quickly around the world. Depending on the strength of the strain, it can cause:

  • Many people to get sick at once - producing a vaccine for it will take 6 to 9 months
  • Medical or government services to get overloaded
  • Restricted travel
  • Severe illness and many deaths
  • A short supply of food, goods and services if many workers stay home

History of Flu Pandemics

Flu pandemics have happened before. They are likely to happen again some time No one can say when. The 1900s had 3 flu pandemics. The most deadly one (in 1918) killed about 500,000 people in the United States.

Flu viruses are easily spread and constantly changing. With modern travel, viruses can circle the globe faster than ever.


A Lincoln-Lancaster Pandemic Flu Coordinating Council has been assembled. Three areas of emphasis include:

  • Assurance of public health and safety
  • Health care delivery
  • Sustaining basic infrastructure (such as power and water)

For regular plan updates go to the City of Lincoln Website and search "flu".

What You Can Do

  • Get involved in your community as it works to prepare for an influenza pandemic.
  • Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including
    • Cough and Cold Medicines
    • Fluids with Electrolytes
    • Pain Relievers
    • Stomach Remedies
    • Vitamins
  • Make a list of family member emergency health information:
    • Allergies
    • Blood Type
    • Current Medications
    • Dosages and Instructions
    • Past/Current Medical Conditions
  • Obtain an Individual/Family checklist available through the City of Lincoln Website
  • Prescription drugs are very important. Have an ample supply on hand, however, check with your Doctor about the shelf life of your medications.
  • Store a supply of water and food. During a pandemic, if you cannot get to a store, or if stores are out of supplies, it will be important for you to have extra supplies on hand. This can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages and disasters. Your hot water heater is an excellent source of stored water. It contains 45 to 85 gallons.
  • Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
  • Volunteer with local groups to prepare and assist with emergency response.

Preparation Materials

  1. Food & Non-Perishables
  2. Medical, Health & Emergency Supplies
  • Baby formula
  • Beef jerky
  • Bottled water
  • Canned juices
  • Canned or jarred baby food
  • Crackers
  • Dried fruit
  • Dried or canned milk
  • Dry Cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter or nuts
  • Pet food
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and soups

Contact Us

For more information or to request presentations on a number of topics, contact us at 402-441-7441. Presentations may also be requested through the Lincoln-Lancaster Health Department at 402-441-6204.