As flu season approaches we thought we would share some useful flu-related information...
Influenza - commonly called the flu - is a viral infection of the nose, throat and lungs. It spreads easily from person to person. Every year millions of Canadians catch the flu, usually in late fall to early spring. Some people are only mildly affected, while others get very sick.Flu symptoms usually start suddenly with some or all of the following:
- fever or feeling feverish
- a sore throat;
- muscle aches and fatigue;
- loss of appetite;
- runny or stuffy nose
Some people, especially children, may also have stomach upset and pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Not everyone with the flu will have a fever.
Most people recover from the flu in a week or 10 days. But others may develop serious complications, such as pneumonia, that can send them to hospital. The best way to protect yourself is by getting a flu shot every year.
The Flu Shot
The best way to protect yourself from influenza (the flu) is to get a flu vaccine every year. The flu vaccine is safe and effective. It is recommended that everyone older than 6 months should get a flu vaccine. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of complications.
Getting a flu vaccine:
- protects you if you are exposed to the virus
- stops you from getting very sick
- prevents you from passing on the virus to others.
However, it is important that you get a new flu vaccine every year. There are two reasons for this:
- The effects of the flu vaccine can wear off, so you need a booster every flu season.
- The flu virus usually changes from year to year, so the vaccine must be updated to protect people fully.
Take Care of Yourself
Here are some other ways to stay healthy and prevent the spread of the flu.
- Clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.
- Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm, not into your hand.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands.
- Clean and disinfect things and surfaces that a lot of people touch, like doorknobs and TV remotes.
- Keep your immune system strong: eat healthy foods and be physically active.
Finally, if you do get sick, stay home until your symptoms are gone! You will get well faster, and you will not give the flu to anyone else.
For more information on seasonal flu visit the Government of Canada’s Health Theme Flu (influenza) portal.