COVID-19 Update: Information and resources can be found here.

Epidemics and Pandemics

The difference between a flu “bug” circulating throughout your office and a flu epidemic is that epidemics exceed what is expected.

A pandemic is a global outbreak of a disease that occurs when a new virus appears in the human population, causes serious illness, and then spreads easily from person to person throughout the world. The H1N1 virus reached pandemic status in the winter of 2009-2010 and led the CDC to change flu vaccines the following season.

Bug vs. Epidemic vs. Pandemic graphic

The best thing you can do to prepare for an epidemic or pandemic is to stay alert and informed. You can also visit the Centers for Disease Control website. Your local county health department is a great source of information on health issues impacting your community as well as where you can find vaccines.

Preparing for an Epidemic

  • Make sure your emergency supply kit is ready.
  • Educate yourself about types of epidemics and how they may affect you.
  • Follow directions from officials about sheltering-in-place or evacuating.
  • Practice healthy habits: wash your hands, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home from work or school when sick. 

North Texas Health Departments

24-Hour Fever-Free Rule

A child should be fever-free without the assistance of medication such as Tylenol or Motrin for 24 hours before returning to school. A child's temperature is lowest in the morning, so a low temperature on awakening is not a true indicator, especially if you gave the child medication the night before. By following this rule, you can help protect hundreds of other families right in your own community.