- The Flu is caused by a virus, usually Influenza type A or B. Each type has different strains (kind of like different types of apples; still an apple!).
- Last year in Alberta, 1600 people were hospitalized and 64 died because of influenza.
- As of this week, reported number of cases is above seasonal averages; FLU SEASON IS HERE!
- Symptoms include sudden appearance of high fever (>39C), cough, and muscle aches. You can also have headaches, chills, sore throat, decreased appetite, fatigue, or runny nose. Kids can also have stomachaches, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.
- Flu symptoms usually appear 1-4 days after being exposed and last 7-10 days.
Prevention is your only protection:
- Influenza Vaccine: Fluzone, contains INACTIVE parts of 2 strains each of type A and B and is free for anyone >6 months of age and pregnancy women in Alberta. When your body is exposed via the flu shot, your body’s natural immune system kicks in and makes antibodies that will fight those strains. WHEN you are exposed to the flu, your body already knows how to fight it. This means you may have no symptoms, or much milder symptoms than if your immune system wasn’t ready.
- Stop the Spread: WASH your hands, cough/sneeze into your elbow, wipe frequently used surfaces with antibacterial cleaner daily, try not to touch your face/nose/mouth then other surfaces.
- Take Care of Yourself: Eat healthy, exercise, get the sleep you need to be sure your body is strong!
- What about FluMist? It is a nasal spray vaccine for children <2 yrs of age that works as well as Fluzone. Due to increased costs and handling, it isn’t covered by Alberta Health. Talk to your pharmacist or provider regarding fees.
Where to get the flu shot?:
Great links for more information:
- Protect your family from the flu, Canadian Paediatric Society
- Everything you need to know about the flu shot, CBCkids.ca