The word pandemic strikes fear into the hearts of most of us. We hear this word an immediately think of a deadly virus that spreads like wildfire, killing off populations of people mercilessly. Unfortunately, this analogy is true to some degree. A pandemic is basically an alteration in an existing virus that has caused a mutation or subtype of the viral species to occur. This can lead to epidemics because they are spread easily among the populace. For more information on pandemics and what you can do to avoid them visit: PA Pandemic Preparedness
The CDC is not recommending surgical face masks to date for residents of the United States, however the same measures that have been recommended for the avian flu, such as avian flu masks are recommended for the swine flu as well. The N95 face mask is currently the best low cost effective surgical face mask available.