Infection Control & First Aid Blog

What is the Difference Between Pandemic Flu and Seasonal Flu?

[fa icon="calendar"] 8/28/17 8:45 AM / by Jill Tilton

We know and accept that germs are spread each and every place that we go. Those germs that cause the flu are even more apparent from October to May. There is however a difference year after year in how many people are affected by the virus. 

Sick man sneezing in his bedroom.jpegWhen the flu virus mutates and becomes widespread it is called a pandemic. Luckily, pandemics do not happen often. There have been 3 flu pandemics in the 20th century according to the CDC. When a pandemic influenza virus emerges, the virus can spread quickly because most people will not be immune and a vaccine might not be widely available to offer immediate protection. 

Travel back in time to 2009 during the H1N1 pandemic which may be fresher in your head than 1918's Spanish FluIn April 2009 the virus was identified and by June 2009 the H1N1 virus had spread worldwide and the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. 

In November 2009, a worldwide update by the WHO stated that "199 countries and overseas territories/communities have officially reported a total of over 482,300 laboratory confirmed cases of the influenza pandemic H1N1 infection, that included 6,071 deaths." By the end of the pandemic, there were more than 18,000 laboratory confirmed deaths from H1N1. Due to inadequate surveillance and lack of healthcare in many countries, the actual total of cases and deaths was likely much higher than reported. Experts, including the WHO, have since agreed that an estimated 284,500 people were killed by the disease, about 15 times the number of deaths in the initial death toll.

The seasonal flu is a bit easier to contain via immunizations. There are people at higher risk to getting the virus, but that risk can be significantly lessened by receiving the flu shot. 

Can the seasonal flu shot be effective against pandemic flu?

It is highly unlikely that seasonal flu vaccines would protect against a pandemic influenza virus. Seasonal flu vaccines that are used annually protect against currently circulating human influenza A and B viruses. They are not designed to protect against new influenza A viruses - therefore if there were to be a pandemic flu, another vaccine would be necessary to prevent infection.

What should you have on hand in your facility to protect against the spread of the flu virus?

There are 5 products that we reccomend having on hand to use when the threat of the flu is present. 

    1. SaniWash® Antimicrobial Hand Soap

    2. Instant Hand Sanitizer

    3. p.a.w.s.®   Antimicrobial Hand Wipes

    4. SaniZide Plus®  Surface Disinfectant

    5. SaniZide Pro®  Surface Disinfectant

 Want to try a sample of any of the 5 products listed above?

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Topics: Influenza Season, Flu Prevention

Jill Tilton

Written by Jill Tilton

As the Digital Marketing Strategist, Jill works on strengthening the Safetec website and brand. She optimizes the website to its peak potential and suggests different marketing techniques to bring in qualified leads to the sales team. She also works with online marketplaces such as Amazon, ESP, and ThomasNet to generate additional revenue. In her off time, Jill enjoys spending time with her family.