• The Flu Code

    by  • April 26, 2009 • Personal • 11 Comments

    Flu Code 0.1Beta English – A Public Service from The Institute for Collapsonomics.

    1) If I have any signs of possible flu infection I will stay at home.

    2) I will stay away from crowds whenever possible and always wear a mask while in public places.

    3) I will cleanse my hands at the doorway when I arrive at my destination.

    4) I will encourage other people to follow these rules to protect us all.

    We were talking about pandemic flu today and came up with this concept. It is still in development. The key principle is to protect each other by being responsible. These rules should be followed by everybody in any pandemic-affected area.

    The Flu Code was featured in Wired’s swine flu primer.

    Hashtag #flucode please RT. The short URL for this post is http://bit.ly/flucode.

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    Vinay Gupta is a consultant on disaster relief and risk management.


    11 Responses to The Flu Code

    1. Glenn Willen
      April 27, 2009 at 12:30 am

      Possibly you can answer a question I’ve been wondering about, as I’ve been hearing advice from various places recently:

      Are these meant to be global rules for all human beings starting now?

      E.g.: I live in Pittsburgh, PA, where the swine flu has not yet been spotted. Most people I know aren’t terribly worried about it; public places are still just as packed as ever.

      Is rule (2), e.g., meant to imply that even here, the socially-responsible thing to do is to avoid crowds and wear a mask? Or just that we ought to be prepared to do these things, should a pandemic be declared?

    2. Bexter
      April 27, 2009 at 9:18 am

      I like this in principle, would def sign up to it, though I think it needs some tweaking:
      face masks are not effective protection, especially if they get moist/wet, or if they’ve been used for longer than an hour or two at a time (this from a medical professional on BBC news this morning).

      Maybe could include a commitment to cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze, wash your hands after you have done so, throw away tissues immediately after use?

      Definitely agree we need to promote individual responsibility for prevention of infection spreading.

    3. iMark
      April 27, 2009 at 11:40 am

      It’s better to sneeze/cough into the crook of your elbow, rather than covering your mouth with your hands.


    4. April 27, 2009 at 12:29 pm

      You can read more here:

    5. April 27, 2009 at 12:33 pm

      The key phrase is “in risk areas.” Right now I think we’re about a week away from knowing if “risk areas” is the entire planet. Right now Mexico should be doing these things – and are – and that may also be true for New Zealand. The rest of the world, I think we’re discovering in real time.

    6. May 1, 2009 at 2:02 pm

      The flu code in Spanish

      Consejos para evitar la propagación de la gripe.

      1.- Si creo que tengo síntomas de una infección, me quedaré en casa.
      2.- Aunque no me sienta mal, evitaré concentraciones de gente y siempre llevaré una máscara en lugares públicos.
      3.- Me lavaré las manos cada vez que llegue a algún sitio.
      4.- Animaré al resto de gente a seguir estos consejos para el bien de todos.

      (thanks Moof!)

    7. May 2, 2009 at 3:16 pm

      La promesse grippe 0.1Beta, version français – Une service dans l’intérêt publique de L’institute pour efrondnomiques

      1. Si j’ai des signes d’une grippe éventuel, je vais rester chez moi.
      2. Je vais rester à distance des foules quand c’est possible, et je vais toujours porter une masque dans les lieux publiques.
      3. Je vais laver les mains a la porte chaque fois je arrive a ma destination.
      4. Je vais me engager de enseigner ces règles aux autres de protéger tous.

    8. May 9, 2009 at 12:59 pm

      Definitely add sneezing into your sleeve, rather than you hand.

    9. June 22, 2009 at 11:33 am

      I’d advise stringently following good personal hygien practices at all times not just when there is a novel flu virus on the plot – seasonal flu kills more people (so far) than the current H1N1 virus.

      When “Swine Flu” becomes more widespread and it’s lethality increases (scheduled for late August in UK) I’d been keen to wear an FFP3 mask during higher risk activities like collecting groceries from the local supermarket or if I was in a higher risk group – eg recent organ transplant or immunosuppressed.

      Whilst surgical masks offer little protection the FFP3 provides a reduction in live virus behind the mask of times 100. Seems like a no-brainer to me!

      You can get more information on this and other business continuity matters at http://www.veteruscontuling.com

    10. June 22, 2009 at 11:50 am

      Ayeup Bradley, I think the new data on mask effectiveness is worth taking a look at:


      Face masks are a cheap, effective public health “frontline” against epidemics such as swine flu, especially when vaccines are unavailable or in short supply, UNSW infectious disease expert Professor Raina MacIntyre says.

      Professor MacIntyre, who sits on a national panel advising on influenza and emerging infectious diseases, led national commentary by a number of UNSW experts on the latest influenza outbreak, which threatens to become a pandemic.

      If a pandemic occurred, face masks would become an important protective measure until a vaccination was developed, Professor MacIntyre, from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, said.

      A world-first clinical study of virus transmission in Sydney families led by Professor MacIntyre found those wearing a mask were four times less likely to be infected than non-wearers.


      The other thing is that the FFP3 masks have outflow valves, and it’s fairly likely – although I haven’t seen a study – that virus-containing water droplets could exit through the outflow valve if somebody wearing such a mask coughed while infected. I wish people would design masks with droplet-catching mesh over the outflow valves. Otherwise, though, those masks look great!

    11. June 22, 2009 at 8:23 pm

      Hi Vinay, of course you can get the masks with or without the valve. Those with the valve are cooler to wear for long periods. The valveless masks would get around the problem you describe.

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