Stock up on face masks. Before I left the U.S. (and my computer) last month, I put up a poll question asking you to guess when a flu pandemic might strike. Now without further ado, the unscientific results: 7 out of 15 loyal respondents believe that a pandemic flu will hit in the next five years. Five voters thought it would strike in five to ten years and three opted for 10 to 50 years. No one believed flu pandemics are a thing of history.