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It's Flu Season

MarilynBabineau 2015 

Flu Prevention Tips by Marilyn Babineau, Manager of Employee Health and Wellness

Flu season is the time of year when the flu virus is most common. Flu season usually begins when cold weather appears. In New Brunswick our flu season usually occurs January through March. 

What are the symptoms of the flu? 

The flu usually starts with a headache, chills and cough. This is quickly followed by fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches and fatigue, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes and sore throat. Young children often experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. For most, the flu symptoms last 7 to 10 days, however some people will develop complications such as pneumonia. Seasonal flu results in approximately 12,000 hospitalizations and on average 3,500 deaths in Canada each year.

Who is most at risk? 

Children and adults with chronic medical conditions, those greater than 65 years of age, residents of nursing homes along with healthy children and pregnant woman are those who are at the highest risk. 


How to avoid getting the flu 

Vaccination is the most effective protection everyone over 6 months should get the vaccine. The influenza vaccine is a safe and effective way to help you and your family stay healthy and prevent illness. We need to be vaccinated every year since each year the flu virus changes. This year's vaccine has four different flu strains based on research that is done to determine which type of flu virus will cause the most illness in the upcoming flu season. 

HandwashingIn addition to getting the flu vaccine, you can help stop the spread of the flu by:

  • Washing your hands regularly. The flu virus can spread by direct contact, such as sharing drinks, or through indirect contact, such as when an infected coworker sneezes on her hands and touches an object like the lunchroom microwave door. The influenza virus can live for up to eight hours on surfaces. During flu season, everyone should wash their hands frequently to reduce the risk of transmitting germs to others. Wash your hands often with soap and water.

  • When you sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue (not your hands), and be sure to throw the tissue away immediately. You can also cough into your sleeve if you do not have a tissue handy. Hand sanitizers can also help. Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth to keep germs away.

  • Staying home when you are ill.

  • Keeping common surface areas, such as doorknobs, light switches, and keyboards, clean and disinfected.

  • Eating healthy foods and staying physically active will keep your immune system strong.

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