Influenza is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs (respiratory tract) that is caused by a virus. It can happen any during the year, but most cases happen in the winter months. Influenza is spread through the air when someone with the disease coughs, sneezes, or even talks. People who breathe in the virus can get sick. It can also be spread by touching objects that have been coughed or sneezed on by someone with the virus. Most people who get sick with influenza get better. However, influenza causes about 12,000 people to be admitted to the hospital and about 3,500 deaths in Canada each year. There is a higher risk of getting complications from influenza for children 6 to 59 months of age, pregnant women, people 65 years or older, and people with chronic health problems. Complications of influenza can include pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, and dehydration. The symptoms of influenza are fever of 38.5°C (101.3°F) or higher that starts suddenly, cough, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and feeling tired. People are contagious with influenza the day before they have symptoms and for 5 days after symptoms start.
How can influenza be prevented?
- Get the influenza vaccine. Influenza vaccine is a very effective way of protecting people from getting sick with influenza. You need to get immunized every year because the influenza viruses change. The best time to get immunized is October or November.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that has alcohol in it.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your arm or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Stay home and rest when you are sick.
TWO Pharmacy flu clinics commence Monday, October 15. You may book a no wait appointment now on www.twopharmacy.ca or calling 403-932-2500. Walk-ins are also welcome as we will have 7 pharmacists available the first week of vaccinations. TWO is also running evening and weekend clinics from October 15-21. For seniors wanting the high dose Fluzone, it is available right now on a user pay basis.