(Source – CDC and Ready.gov)
Biological agents are organisms or toxins that can kill or incapacitate people, livestock and crops. A biological attack is the deliberate release of germs or other biological substances that can make you sick. However, in nature there are many items that can prove to be harmful and in some cases these can be seeded by terrorists.
These include but are not limited to:
- Various strains of Influenza
- Yellow Fever
- Chicken Pox
Actions to Take:
- Take vaccinations that may be offered. If you are unsure as to your status check with your doctor to ensure all required or suggested immunizations are up to date. Children and older adults are particularly vulnerable to biological agents.
- At all times one should maintain a high level of personal hygiene. This is especially critical before, during, or following a biological attack. Wash hands frequently, shower, clean surfaces using sanitary wipes, be aware of your surroundings and distance yourself from individuals coughing, sneezing, or secreting other bodily fluids.
- Avoid large and small animals such as mice and wildlife, insects (mosquitoes, ticks, etc.), birds, especially bats, and unknown domestic pets (cats and dogs, etc.).
- If you believe you have been exposed to a biological agent, take off and bag your clothes and other personal items. Wash, wear a facemask, or if not available, make a mask out of two or three layers of material.
- Most biological agents can be filtered using home HEPA (High Efficiency, Particulate Air) filters in the air intakes. These filters are capable of filtering most biological agents that are typically larger than 3 microns.
- In a declared biological emergency or developing epidemic, there may be reason to stay away from crowds where others may be infected.
- Since biological agents and diseases exhibit varying incubation periods, usually measured in days or even weeks, biological agent attacks are not as noticeable initially. The more serious phases of the disease will occur several days after the disease has been contracted.
- It is important that you only seek medical attention when you are certain you are ill. It is likely that the medical care system will be overwhelmed and the “worried well” will exacerbate that problem if they seek care when they do not need it. Your local medical experts will inform you of the symptoms that indicate you may be ill. Many symptoms do overlap, so ensure you don’t seek care until you need it.