As winter continues, it seems the topic on everyone’s mind is the Flu Virus. It is not uncommon to hear stories at your workplace, children’s school, or other organization concerning cases of people staying home because of flu symptoms. This week on the Village Blog, we go over some of the basic ways to protect yourself from the flu and prevent the spreading of germs during the Flu Viruses busiest season.
What is the flu?
The flu is an infection in your nose, throat and lungs that is caused by the Influenza A or B virus. The flu can spread very easily from one person to another, even before you know that you are sick you could be spreading it to others. The flu is spread through actions like talking, sneezing, and coughing which release infected droplets into the air. These droplets can land anywhere. If you touch surfaces that have contaminated droplets you can become sick.
Flu vs. Cold (Public Health Agency of Canada)
Who is at higher risk of flu related complications?
Visit our blog from October 2019 for a brief overview of who should get the flu shot to learn who is at higher risk: http://gracevillage.ca/blog/who-should-get-the-flu-shot
Prevent the Flu
- Get the flu shot
*The flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu. The shot will protect you if you are exposed to the virus and it will protect those around you by making you less likely to spread the virus.
- WASH YOUR HANDS!
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces at least once a day (Handles, light switches, keyboards, railings, cellphones, etc.)
While those are the best approaches to preventing the flu, here are a few other suggestions to help boost your immune system:
- Get plenty of sleep
- Be physically active
- Manage your stress
- Drink lots of water
- Eat a nutritious diet
- Quit smoking
The Bottom Line
During a flu season where the virus is quickly spreading through different environments, even the most diligent person will likely be exposed to the virus at some point. If you have done your best to protect yourself through the flu shot and maintaining healthy habits, your immune system should do the rest.
If you do get sick, please stay home and avoid contact with others. It is recommended you stay home for at least 24 hours after you are fever free without medication. You do not necessarily need to go to the emergency room if you are ill, and it is recommended that you stay home to prevent the spread and the strain on hospital resources.
You should however seek medical attention if you have any of these emergency warning signs (Information from Center of Disease Control):
- Trouble breathing
- Bluish lips or face
- Ribs pulling in with each breath
- Chest pain
- Severe muscle pain
- Not alert or interacting when awake
- Fever above 104 degrees (Or ANY fever in a child less than 12 weeks old)
- Worsening of chronic health conditions
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent pain in chest or abdomen
- Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to wake up fully
- Severe Dehydration (not urinating)
- Severe muscle pain
- Severe weakness
- Worsening of chronic medical conditions
- Symptoms lasting more than 5 to 7 days
IF YOU ARE UNSURE WHETHER YOU SHOULD SEEK MEDICAL HELP, PLEASE CALL INFO-SANTE 811
For more information on preventing the spread of illness, visit