January 18th, 2016

LD Picks: What You Need to Know About Colds and Flu

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not too late to get your flu shot – there’s still time to benefit from the vaccine and help prevent the spread of the flu. Here is some super-important information about the flu that you need to know.

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How to Know If It’s the Flu

cold-flu

First are two important facts: 1) Flu symptoms can appear 1–4 days after becoming infected. 2) You can infect others for 5–7 days after onset of symptoms.

Symptoms include

  • Fever of 38 C or higher that starts suddenly
  • A dry cough that can last for weeks
  • Headache
  • An aching body, especially in the lower back and legs
  • Feeling very weak and tired

Other symptoms can include

  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Some people may have nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

[More at Alberta Health]

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Vital Info on the Flu Shot

flu-shotWho is most at risk? The following people are considered to be high risk—meaning they are more likely than the population at large to catch flu and/or develop complications from it:

  1. Adults or children with chronic heart, lung or kidney disorders, or cystic fibrosis
  2. Adults or children with asthma, diabetes, severe chronic anemia, cancer or another long-term illness, or who have received an organ transplant
  3. Adults aged 65 and over or people of any age living in a long-term care facility
  4. Health care providers and other people who are in contact with high-risk individuals (to protect those at risk as well as themselves)
  5. Pregnant women and aboriginal people

When should you get your flu shot? It is best to be vaccinated as soon as possible after influenza vaccine becomes available—usually in October. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating in the community, it’s not too late to be vaccinated.

What should you expect after the flu shot? Occasionally, the spot where you were vaccinated might feel sore. You may also feel achy or have a mild fever, but all of these symptoms should quickly pass.

Does a flu shot guarantee protection from the flu? Although the influenza vaccine will protect most people against the current year’s flu viruses, some people still become sick with the flu. This may be because they are exposed to the virus just before they get the flu shot, or during the period following the shot before the protection becomes effective. A person might also be exposed to a flu strain that is not covered by the current year’s vaccine.

[More at Healthy You Blog]

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The 4 Best Ways to Prevent Colds & Flu (Other Than the Shot)

washing-hands

The very best way to prevent colds and flu is to wash your hands often and teach your children to do the same. You should wash your hands before and after shopping trips, before eating and preparing food, and after blowing your nose. Some other tips:

  1. Remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching elevator buttons, keypads, public phones, doorknobs and stair rails.
  2. Avoid handshakes whenever possible, and go wash your hands afterwards if you do greet someone this way. (Meet-and-greet events, cocktail parties and similar gatherings where food is offered are prime environments for viruses to spread.)
  3. If someone coughs or sneezes near you, move quickly away and/or cover your nose and mouth. If you have a cough or cold, be sure to use a tissue or sneeze into the crook of your arm.
  4. Be sure to attend to the basics of good health and a strong immune system: get a minimum seven hours of sleep nightly, be physically active every day, and eat lots of healthy fruits and vegetables, low-fat protein and whole grains.

[More at Urban Lifestyle Blog]

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7 Common Myths About the Flu

Each flu season, an abundance of myths about the flu begin to circulate through conversations, articles, and social media. We’re here to clarify the myths and the truths. Here are 7 common myths, debunked.

  1. Myth: I’m young and healthy, so I don’t need the flu shot. Truth: Your flu shot helps prevent the flu from spreading, which protects children and the elderly.
  2. Myth: Flu is not a serious disease. If I catch it, I will soon get over it. Truth: The flu can be serious. Your flu shot helps protect children and seniors who may have a harder time fighting off the flu.
  3. Myth: The flu shot gives you flu and should therefore be avoided. Truth: Injectable flu vaccines do not contain any live virus & can’t cause the flu.
  4. Myth: Having a flu shot can result in severe reactions or side effects. Truth: Most people who get the flu shot only experience redness, soreness or minor swelling where the vaccination was given. Some people, particularly when having their first flu shot, may develop a headache, muscle aches or tiredness.
  5. Myth: Vaccines contain dangerous ingredients like thimerosal. Truth:Health Canada advises that thimerosal, which is only present in influenza vaccine, contains ethyl mercury in an amount well below established limits of safety. Ethyl mercury is eliminated from the body rapidly and does not accumulate, even in premature infants.
  6. Myth: I am pregnant, so I shouldn’t get a flu shot. The flu shot is safe during pregnancy & helps prevent flu-related complications.
  7. Myth: I wrap up warm and hardly ever go out in the cold so I don’t need vaccine to protect me. Truth: Wearing that winter toque and snuggly jacket won’t protect you in the same way as the influenza vaccine will.

[More at Healthy You Blog]

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How to Protect Yourself this Flu Season

LD_FluClinic_2015

Our Certified Injection Pharmacists can help protect you from the seasonal flu. Ask if you qualify for a publicly-funded flu shot (at no cost to you). If not, a fee applies. Call your local London Drugs Pharmacy to see if you can get your injection today.

[More at LondonDrugs.com]

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