healthcare swine fluAs the H1N1 outbreak of 2009 taught us, we as a modern society are just as apt to be exposed to outbreaks, as well as the behavior that follows. Because the next outbreak is only a matter of time away from happening, we thought now would be a good time to go over some lessons learned to be applied to the next time. So without further ado, here are the seven things that swine flu taught us.

  1. Public Health Emergency does not mean panic – Back in 2009 when the swine flu first hit the states, public officials were declaring an emergency after 20 people had infections confirmed. More people die per day of the flu than were diagnosed back then, which doesn’t necessarily merit a panic, but what if the next outbreak is more serious?
  2. There is tons of medication – In fact, when the outbreak hit in 2009, there was a supply of 50 million units of anti-viral drugs that could have been used immediately, not to mention a pharmaceutical industry that was prepared to make lots more.
  3. Planning pays – There was a system in place for the case of an outbreak that did include mobilizing the proper people. There were also plans in place that were implemented to stockpile medicines should an outbreak occur.
  4. The media helped – Although the media can be blamed for over-exaggerating or under-exaggerating outbreaks, it is also a vital part of relaying information. Just about every private citizen heard about the outbreak, its symptoms, and what to do from the media.
  5. Rise of outbreak sites – In addition to the CDC’s site that lists outbreaks and updates, there were also other sites that sprang up to meet the need of people who wanted to be notified immediately of outbreaks. There are sites such as FluTracker and Outbreak Alert that can tell you what has been reported in your area.
  6. Review – The outbreak of swine flu was also a good chance for everyone to brush up on good hygiene and safety practices like washing your hands, covering your mouth, and not going into work if you think you’re contagious.
  7. More vaccine plants – The outbreak of 2009 showed how limited the United States’ own resources were limited. In fact, Time reported that only one plant in Pennsylvania produced flu vaccines in the U.S.

Casey Roberts is a student and also writes for Radiology Assistant which helps students find the right radiology degree.