Friday, May 1, 2009

Pandemic Flu - Physical and Psychological Responses

The possibility of a pandemic flu is upon us. A great deal of information is available from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation. I, with my colleagues, Kathleen Ayers PhD, Christian Sandrock MD and Warner Hudson MD, recently produced a series of 6 videos on pandemic flu which are highlighted on the UC Davis Continuing Medical Education website - The objectives of these modules, which have a focus on public health and mental health responses to pandemic flu, include the following:
  • Understand different outcomes from different influenza pandemics
  • Understand differences among types of influenza viruses
  • Understand antigenic drift and antigenic shift
  • Understand basic disaster mental health (DMH) principles and the methods, strategies, and best practices for delivering DMH services
  • Recognize typical reactions to pandemic disasters and their time scope
  • Understand differences between disaster mental health services and other clinical interventions
  • Understand assessment processes following a pandemic disaster

It is crucial that we manage this situation without panic and inappropriate fear, are practical and pragmatic, and most importantly use simple precautions such as handwashing.

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