An influenza pandemic can overwhelm the capacities of hospitals, clinics, nursing facilities, and emergency services. The likelihood is that most of the individuals who are stricken will be cared for at home, and there is strong evidence that in-home caregivers bear a disproportionate risk of becoming infected. We reviewed the scientific literature after 2000 to identify steps that in-home caregivers can take to reduce the chances that they and other household members will become infected in the home. Personal hygiene, common masks, and technologies including air filters and UV light each offer incremental benefits, and in combination are expected to reduce a portion of the risk that household members face when caring for a member who has become infected. In pandemics and even seasonal epidemics, seemingly small steps can literally mean the difference between life and death, especially for in-home caregivers.
(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2011;5:266–271)