Tips for navigating your way through flu season

With the beginning of flu season near, many of us are already practicing behaviours that will help prevent us from getting sick. If you’re washing your hands, avoiding touching your face and wearing a mask, you might start to wonder: why worry about the flu this year?

But the truth is that it is more important than ever to be proactive about the flu this year to help keep emergency rooms free and our immune systems strong.

“As many of us learned at the beginning of allergy season, it’s very uncomfortable to be the one sneezing or coughing in public in this current climate,” adds Victor Wong, pharmacist at Shoppers Drug Mart.

The flu can come out of nowhere and hit hard, bringing with it high fever, coughing, muscle aches, headaches, chills and fatigue lasting anywhere between a few days and a few weeks. Fortunately, by following a few simple rules of illness etiquette we can easily stem the flu virus’ spread and avoid putting other families at risk.

  1. Stay home when feeling unwell. “While many of us may have sent our kids to school or daycare sick, or even gone to work when we were feeling under the weather, that is no longer an option,” says Wong. “The flu spreads easily and can have especially serious repercussions in families with young or older family members, so be courteous and keep you and your germs at home.”
  2. Teach kids the basics. Using tissues for runny noses, coughing into sleeves and hand washing are all things children can easily do to halt the spread of germs. Because the flu is contracted through mucous membranes, reminding kids to keep their fingers away from their mouths, noses and eyes can also be helpful. “Make it fun and you’ll make it a routine,” suggests Wong. “Teaching vampire coughs or giving your kids a 20-second hand-washing song or countdown are great ways to subtly share good hygiene practices.”
  3. Get vaccinated. “Vaccination is part of a comprehensive flu prevention plan and one of the best things you can do protect your family and others,” advises Wong. “Spending just a few minutes getting your flu shot at your local pharmacy could save you and your kids weeks of misery. It might even save someone else’s life.”

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