Influenza (Flu) Information
The flu (influenza) is a contagious virus that anyone can get. But there are several things you can do to avoid catching it, or spreading it to others.
If you think that you might have the flu you should stay home and self-isolate. If you think you have COVID-19, you can get tested. Contact your community nursing station or assessment centre.
If you have the flu
Be sure to:
- Stay at home and get plenty of rest
- drink lots of fluids
- speak to your doctor, nurse practitioner or pharmacist about over-the-counter medications that can help you feel better (such as basic pain or fever relievers), but do not give acetylsalicylic acid (ASA or Aspirin®) to anyone under 18 years old
- treat muscle pain using a hot water bottle or heating pad – apply heat for short periods of time
- take a warm bath
- gargle with a glass of warm salt water or suck on hard candy or lozenges
- use spray or saline drops for a stuffy nose
- avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco
Call your doctor or nurse practitioner if:
- you don’t start to feel better after a few days
- your symptoms get worse
- you are in a high-risk group and develop flu symptoms
This year’s flu season is taking place at the same time as COVID-19. Don’t take any unnecessary risks with your health. Get the flu shot and get it early.
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months old and older. It is:
- Safe (including for kids and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding)
- available from your doctor or nurse practitioner, and at participating pharmacies and through the Northwestern Health Unit as well as other public health units.
- proven to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to the flu
- different each year because the virus changes frequently – so you need to get it every fall
Flu season typically runs from early fall to the late spring.
You should get the flu vaccine as soon as possible because it can take two weeks to take effect.
As with COVID-19, the following practices should continue
Wash your hands often
- Even after getting the FLU shot, washing with soap and water for at least 15 seconds helps keep the virus from spreading
- If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer (gel or wipes) with at least 70% alcohol
Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Use a tissue and throw it out rather than putting it in your pocket, on a desk or table
- If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your upper sleeve
Don’t touch your face
- The flu virus spreads when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk and droplets enter your body through your eyes, nose or mouth Stay at home when you’re sick
- Viruses spread more easily in group settings, such as businesses, schools and nursing homes
Clean (and disinfect) surfaces and shared items
- Viruses can live for 24 to 48 hours on hard surfaces such as countertops, door handles, computer keyboards and phones