Photo Credit: Matthew Tkocz
With the change of seasons comes a renewed focus on the flu and the ways we can protect ourselves against infection.
Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection. Up to ten per cent of the Canadian population is affected by the flu each year. Those that are generally healthy will experience symptoms to varying degrees and recover fully in a week to ten days. But for young children, the elderly or those with a chronic illness, the flu can be life-threatening. Preventing infection in the first place is key.
The flu can cause serious health risks, and sometimes even death due to complications. A person with the flu is also at risk of other infections like pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. According to Health Canada, flu season usually runs from November to April, and an estimated five to 10 per cent of Canadians get the flu each year.
There are many variations of the viruses that cause the flu, and they also change over time. Based on viral strains or families, vaccines can be developed for use against infection. As these strains change somewhat each year, the vaccine is updated annually.
Viruses are spread through direct contact (within one to two metres, airborne transmission) or indirect contact (surfaces). Signs and symptoms of the seasonal flu vary from one person to another but usually include a combination of:
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can also occur. Most cases of the flu tend to be mild. However, if you do not start to feel better after a few days or if your symptoms get worse, please consult your health care provider.
Proper hand-washing technique:
If someone in your family gets sick:
|Cough||Common and can be severe||Mild to moderate hacking cough|
|Fever||Can be sudden and high and last for days||Rare|
|Sore throat||If it occurs, can be very painful||Can be scratchy and painful|
|General aches and pains||Common and affects the whole body||Can occur and are mild|
|Nasal discharge||Can occur and is usually clear||Usually occurs along with nasal congestion|
|Headache||Can occur and be severe||Rare, but may present if you are congested|
|Duration||On average 10 days||On average five to seven days but can last two weeks|
|Other common symptoms||Tiredness, weakness, chills||Sneezing|
For more first aid tips, first aid training, first aid courses or first aid supplies visit us at: Pacificfirstaid.ca
Sourced from: Canadian Red Cross @redcrosscanada