Get ready for flu season with Canadian Red Cross prevention tips

Topics: First Aid and CPR
November 14, 2013

Get ready for flu season with Canadian Red Cross prevention tips

A commonplace emergency
Every year, the influenza virus sweeps through Canada, and the lucky ones just end up with a day of rest in bed. The flu may be relatively common, but that doesn't mean it's not a serious health risk. With complications, the flu can be deadly. And having influenza places you at risk for other infections, such as pneumonia.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, new strains of influenza sweep through Canada each year - usually during flu season, which is typically gauged to be between November and April. The flu may start with a headache, but it leads to chills, coughing, loss of appetite, aches, fatigue, sore throat and congestion. Sometimes, nausea and vomiting may follow. The most common symptom is fever.

The Public Health Agency reported that most people will recover from the flu in seven to 10 days. However, adults over the age of 65 and children with chronic health conditions are at greater risk for complications. It's estimated that between 2,000 and 8,000 Canadians may die of influenza each year, depending on that season's severity.

Fighting back with prevention
The best way to fight the flu is to avoid it altogether. This means following basic precautionary measures, like washing your hands often with soap and warm water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can also be useful, especially if you work in environments prone to germs or around those who may be ill. Disinfecting commonly touched surfaces in the home and office can help: these include light switches, doorknobs, faucet handles, keyboards, phones or even desks.

Whether or not you feel sick, ensure that you always cover your mouth when you cough and cover your nose when you sneeze. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth when possible, as germs enter the body through these places. Most importantly, if you do come down with the flu, stay at home to keep from infecting anyone at work. You may want to get a flu shot, too.

You can also pick up a family preparedness kit from the Canadian Red Cross. Not unlike a first aid kit for flu season, this is a handy thing to have around the house. You can even make your own.

Want to help fight back against the flu this winter? Donate to the Canadian Red Cross, one of the largest charity organizations in Canada, today and help spread the word about influenza.