Information and advice on health pandemics

Advice on what to do before, during and after a health pandemic.

Infectious diseases like the flu or coronavirus have the potential to cause a huge impact to public health. A pandemic occurs when a new strain of a virus emerges and spreads around the world, and most people do not have immunity. 

What could happen:

  • health and social care services could become overwhelmed
  • vulnerable people may have to self-isolate
  • businesses may be disrupted by staff shortages, supply chain issues and the closure of non-essential businesses
  • social events get cancelled

What to do if there is a pandemic

Before a pandemic:

  • get a seasonal flu jab and/or other recommended vaccines
  • follow good hygiene to prevent the spread - catch it, bin it, kill it
  • keep a small supply of over-the-counter cold and flu medication to help relieve symptoms
  • identify someone who can collect medication, food and supplies for you so you can stay at home when you are ill
  • stay healthy, it is the best defence against illness – follow advice on keeping well on the NHS website

During a pandemic:

After a pandemic:

  • keep your environment clean as viruses can live on surfaces
  • be aware that pandemics occur in waves and it is possible for a surge of cases to occur after a decline
  • monitor national and local advice

Useful contacts

NHS 24 / 7 non-emergency helpline: 111

NHS Direct (text): 0845 6064647

If you have hearing loss, you can call 18001 111.