Flu and Social Distancing Terminology
has heard of pandemic flu and the devastation that can occur. If and
when this happens, we as a community will need to be prepared. A big
part of being prepared is to understand the information given out. There
are terms and phrases that are likely going to be used in a pandemic
situation. The following is a list of terms and definitions that you
may hear in a pandemic.
the case of a pandemic, people will need to keep a safe distance from
one another to prevent the spread of a contagious illness. The idea
is to control the spread of the disease before everyone in a community
Isolation is the separation of a person who is sick and has a contagious
disease from people who are not sick or infected.
Quarantine is the separation of people who have been
exposed to an illness, but who are not yet sick themselves. A person
may be quarantined at home or in a separate facility. Quarantine is
done to prevent the continued spreading of the infectious disease. During
a flu pandemic, quarantine applies from the time you are exposed to
a person who is contagious up to 10 days after contact.
Quarantine: This is a special quarantine for health care
providers and other essential workers who must go to work because they
provide a necessary service. However, they must also follow orders of
quarantine when not at work. Monitoring of symptoms before going to
work is usually required.
of Groups of Exposed Persons: This is a quarantine of
people who have been exposed to the same source of illness. An example
of this is a case of influenza spread at a public gathering, on a train,
at a school, etc. This group of people would be quarantined.
Quarantine: This is the closing of community borders
to create a barrier around a geographic area. Cordon Sanitaire is the
technical term for the barrier. When cordon sanitaire is in place, travel
in or out of the area is prohibited.
A person who is placed under quarantine is asked to monitor their symptoms
twice a day and to contact the health department or a designated person
immediately if flu symptoms develop.
Monitoring: A person who is placed in quarantine is monitored
on a regular basis by a health care worker for symptoms that may indicate
influenza. This is done at least once a day and can be done by phone
or in person. Restrictions on movement may be voluntary or legally required.
Confinement will be at home or in a designated facility.
Distancing is a set of actions that apply to groups rather
than individuals. These actions help to control the spread of illness
by minimizing the chance of groups coming in close contact with one
another. The following are types of Social Distancing:
This refers to one's own choice to avoid infected people. This includes
not going to work or school or to the public places (i.e. the mall).
Days: This is when schools, offices, and transportation
systems are closed or cancelled because of infectious illness, much
like if there were a major storm.
of Public Events: In this case, sporting events, concerts,
plays, etc. would be cancelled to reduce interaction between ill and
of Office Buildings, Schools, Recreational Facilities (swimming pools,
gyms, clubs, etc.), Shopping Malls, and Public Transportation:
These actions are applied to stop the spread of illness within specific
These are important terms to know in the case of pandemic. Everyone
can be a part of preventing and fighting pandemic by being prepared.