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The flu virus affects nearly one out of four people per year in Canada. Even if certain people are more likely to suffer from the effects of the infection than others, anyone can catch the virus. Therefore, it is important to remember what to do to prevent spreading it.
We frequently hear people say that they have the flu, but is it really the case? Several people confuse the symptoms of a cold with those of the flu, yet, these two conditions are different in several respects. If you:
…you are most likely suffering from a cold and not the flu. A cold lasts about 7 to 10 days.
The flu, which is caused by a specific virus called influenza, not only attacks the respiratory tract, but causes other symptoms that can sometimes be serious and that stop you from functioning normally. These symptoms include:
The complications caused by the flu can sometimes be serious, leading to hospitalization and in extreme cases, death. Certain people are more vulnerable to complications of the flu, such as to pneumonia. For example, this is the case for young children, the elderly and for people with a weakened immune system.
The influenza virus is highly contagious. It is easily transmitted from one person to another by tiny invisible droplets present in the air when we cough. The best way to protect ourselves from the flu is to avoid contamination. Fortunately, there are things we can do on a daily basis to greatly reduce spreading the flu virus.
Keep in mind that adopting a healthy lifestyle can contribute to preventing contamination by the flu virus and limit its consequences. Eating well, drinking a lot of water, getting enough sleep, doing physical exercise and avoiding smoking, all contribute to your general health and immune system. Talk to your pharmacist about what you can do to stay healthy during the winter and to protect you against the most common infections.
The best way to protect yourself from the flu virus is to get a flu shot. A new vaccine is available every year and it does not contain any live viruses.
Regarded as effective and safe, the flu shot can be considered by everyone, but authorities recommend it especially for specific groups of individuals who are more at risk. Your pharmacist can give you more information on the matter, as well as the benefits of the flu shot so you can make an informed decision about it for yourself and for your family. Your pharmacist can also suggest an immunization clinic.
It is up to you to take the necessary measures to avoid catching the flu, and especially, to prevent spreading it to the people around you if you have it… especially to your loved ones!
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