How can you avoid infecting those around you with the flu?

The flu is a respiratory viral infection that we all could do without. Fortunately, there are ways to limit its spread.

A cold or the flu?

The flu virus affects thousands of people each year in Canada. While some people are more likely to suffer the consequences of this infection, anyone can get the virus―and spread it! So it is important to remember what to do to limit its spread.

We frequently hear people say that they have the flu, but is it really the case? Many people confuse the symptoms of a cold with those of the flu; yet, these two conditions differ in several ways. If you:

  • are congested
  • have a runny nose
  • are sneezing
  • have a sore throat
  • etc.

…you most likely have 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 also leads to other sometimes more serious symptoms that can prevent you from functioning normally. These symptoms include:

  • chills
  • headaches
  • muscle aches and pains
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • etc.

Sometimes serious, complications caused by the flu can lead to hospitalization and in extreme cases, death. Certain people are more vulnerable to complications of the flu, such as pneumonia. For example, this is the case for young children, the elderly and for people with a weakened immune system.

How can you protect yourself?

Influenza is an extremely contagious virus, and is easily transmitted from one person to another by tiny invisible droplets in the air produced by coughing or sneezing. The best way to protect yourself against the flu is to avoid contamination. Fortunately, there are things you can do on a daily basis to greatly reduce the spread of the flu virus:

  • Wash your hands often. This may seem repetitious, but frequent and vigorous handwashing remains the best way to prevent the spread of viruses like the flu. Encourage people around you to wash their hands and teach your children how to do so properly. If there is no soap available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% of alcohol.
  • Avoid contact with others. If you think you may have the flu, keep your distance. Avoid kisses, hugs and proximity with others. Inform the people around you that you’re not feeling well. If you are sick, stay home wrapped in a blanket! In addition to limiting the spread of the virus, resting will help you fight the infection more effectively.
  • Remember that the nose, eyes and mouth are the ports of entry for viruses into the body. This is why it is important to avoid touching these areas unnecessarily.
  • Wear a mask or face covering when you are in a public place or travelling on public transit.
  • Keep at least a two-metre distance from other people if you cannot avoid contact.
  • Be careful about sharing objects such as a glass, utensils or lip balms, as they may be contaminated. If a child has the virus, pay special attention to toys, especially if they are in contact with other children, such as at a daycare.
  • Be extra careful with secretions. Cough and sneeze into a disposable tissue or in the crook of your arm if you are not wearing a face covering or mask.

Keep in mind that adopting a healthy lifestyle can contribute to preventing contamination by the flu virus and limit its consequences. Eating well, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, regular physical exercise and avoiding smoking, all contribute to your general health and immune system.

Ask your pharmacist for advice on how to stay healthy throughout the winter and how to protect yourself from common infections.

Vaccination―an ally?

The most effective way to protect against the flu virus is vaccination. New vaccines are available each year and they do not contain any live viruses.

Considered effective and safe, vaccines can be considered by everyone, but public health authorities particularly recommend them to certain populations of individuals at higher risk. Your pharmacist can provide additional information, and explain the benefits of the flu shot, so you can make an informed decision for yourself and for your family.

Ask if the vaccine can be administered to you at the pharmacy. Do not hesitate to ask the pharmacy team for more information about this service. You can also make an appointment now, thanks to our online appointment service.

Make an appointment

Flu season is upon us. Take advantage of flu vaccination clinics to ensure the best protection possible.

It is up to you to take the necessary measures to avoid catching the flu, and above all, if you have it, to prevent spreading it to the people around you… especially to those you love!

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How can you avoid infecting those around you with the flu?

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.
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