Flu Prevention Tips

With an increased and new flu viruses reported this year, pharmacists are advising patients to take preventative measures to avoid getting sick.


All London Drugs pharmacies are still offering this year’s flu vaccine but in addition to getting a flu shot, Pharmacists offer the following advice to help you reduce your chances of getting sick.

Wash your hands:

Frequent handwashing is first and foremost in cold and flu prevention. The viruses that cause winter ills can be picked up everywhere and washing your hands goes a long way. It is especially important before eating or touching your face, after coughing or sneezing, when caring for the sick, before, during & after you prepare food, after toilet use and after handling animals or animal waste. Proper handwashing is more than just running water over your hands in the sink. To ensure they are thoroughly rid of harmful germs:

  • Wash with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • Wash the front of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails
  • Don’t forget your wrists! Remove any jewelry or watches if necessary
  • Use a paper towel to dry your hands as well as to turn off the tap so you don’t re-contaminate your hands
  • If using a public bathroom, use that same paper towel to open the door when exiting
  • If no soap and water readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Keep your hands away from your face:

Touching your face when your hands have picked up a virus will put that virus in touch with the mucous membranes of your mouth, nose or eyes—a surefire way to become sick fast.

Avoid handshakes:

Although sometimes unavoidable, shaking hands and then rubbing your nose or eyes, handling a glass, or eating finger-food is an effective way to catch something. If etiquette demands you greet someone this way, excuse yourself at the earliest opportunity to wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer.

Avoid sharing common household items:

Items such as cups, utensils, towels, bedding, dishes or other items with other people increase the risk of catching or spreading a cold or virus.

Beware of keypads:

They are everywhere— at the ATM, a restaurant, the elevator, and virtually every retail establishment. Public computers found in schools and libraries are also a hazard during cold and flu outbreaks. Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that is transmitted by airborne droplets that can survive up to 48 hours outside the body on other surfaces. So, once again, sanitize your hands as frequently as possible and avoid touching your face after using a public keypad.

Use paper towel:

Viruses can remain alive for several hours on fabric so when someone in your home or office is sick, replace hand towels with disposable paper towel. If you don’t like the idea of paper towels, make sure everyone has, and uses, their own cloth towel. When using public washrooms, use a paper towel to cover the door handle when you exit.

Common symptoms of the flu include:

A sudden, high fever (38 to 40 degrees C); headache, extreme fatigue, difficulty breathing, chills and sweating; dry cough; loss of appetite; muscle aches and pains; runny and stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat.

Here is some advice for anyone already experiencing these symptoms:

Talk to your Pharmacist to get the right medication: Pharmacists are available to provide advice about over-the-counter medications to manage symptoms. They can recommend the best medications for each person in the family to suite their individual symptoms. Other medicine cabinet essentials, including zinc lozenges and vitamin C tablets should be on-hand as well. Zinc lozenges will not only soothe the throat but combat viruses like the flu, and vitamin C taken daily will also help to decrease the duration and severity of a cold once it hits. A thermometer should be at home too, to monitor fevers.

Heed sneeze etiquette: To prevent others from becoming infected. If you need to sneeze in a public place, and you don’t have a tissue to sneeze into, turn your head into your elbow. This will ensure virus-laden water droplets won’t spread far and wide.

Avoid contact with others: If you start feeling sick or feverish, it’s best to stay home until you feel well enough to resume your daily routine. This ensures that you don’t get others around you sick, thus preventing the spread of your cold or flu.

Relax and sleep: Stress suppresses the immune system and makes you more likely to catch whatever is going around. So try to relax and take some peaceful time for yourself. Since the immune system repairs itself during sleep, be sure to get extra shut-eye during cold and flu season.

Stay Home. Rest and relaxation help you recover faster. When displaying symptoms of a virus, stay home and rest. This will not only help speed up your recovery, it also will protect those around you from exposure to the virus.

Eat well: Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain phytonutrients that help you fight viruses by building up your immune response. Proteins too are needed to galvanize the immune system, so make sure you consume low-fat healthy protein with every meal. Drink plenty of fluids and take vitamin C supplements.

The Coronavirus

News headlines are filled with stories relating to the coronavirus. This new virus has started to spread including here to Canada, and many people have questions. While the above does serve as a good guide for general flu like symptoms, if you have recently been to, or have been in contact, with anyone visiting China, you should be extra cautious if displaying the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pneumonia in both lungs

If you exhibit any of the above, please remember the following:

  • Stay home except to get medical care. Call ahead before visiting your doctor
  • Stay in a different room from other people in your home and use a separate bathroom
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue OR cough or sneeze into your sleeve.  Throw away used tissues immediately in a trash bin.  Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

You can find more detailed patient information on the coronavirus at London Drugs pharmacies. Remember the best offence is a good defense. To stay healthy is to eat well, take your vitamins, and get a good night’s sleep, while practicing the hygiene tips above. Check out everything you’ll need for cold and flu prevention here. Together we can greatly reduce the risk of spreading viruses.

 

 

Nervous About Needles? New ‘Ouchless’ Flu Shot May Ease Your Fears

With news that the flu vaccine won’t be available in nasal spray form for Canadians this year, pharmacists hope that doesn’t deter people – especially children – from rolling up their sleeves to receive a flu shot.

To help reduce needle anxiety, starting this month London Drugs is pleased to offer a free application of Zensa Numbing Cream, prior to administering the flu shot. Zensa is a Health Canada approved topical anaesthetic that is safe for use on children ages 2 and up, and will desensitize the skin in as little as ten minutes for a pain-free flu shot experience.

The goal of the initiative is to increase immunization rates by offering an ‘ouchless’ flu shot experience for those who may be fearful of needles.

“We want to make sure there are no hindrances to people getting protection from the flu virus and Zensa should help; especially when it comes to individuals who may be nervous about getting the shot,” says Chris Chiew, General Manager of Pharmacy at London Drugs.

In BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan, children ages five years and older can receive their flu shot at a pharmacy from a Certified Injection Pharmacist. In Manitoba, the flu shot can be administered to children seven years and older at the pharmacy.

Ready to get your flu shot at London Drugs? Learn more here.

London Drugs Survey: Most Western Canadians Planning to Get the Flu Shot This Season

Western Canadians largely believe in the benefits of getting flu shots, with the majority of residents planning to get theirs this flu season.

Three-in-five (59%) Canadians in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba say they are likely to get the flu shot for the 2018/2019 season, including nearly all of those (98%) who received last year’s vaccine—a number that is consistent across all of the provinces. While this number seems promising, there is still a large proportion (37%) who aren’t planning on getting this year’s vaccine.

Common misconceptions prevent many from getting the flu shot

While seven-in-ten Western Canadians (71%) report having gotten the flu shot in the past, the most common reason provided among those unlikely to get immunized this year, is the belief that the vaccine is ineffective or only works for previous strains of the virus (38%, a number that that climbs to 45% in Saskatchewan).

“This is an unfortunate and potentially deadly belief. The vaccine is always updated to protect against the viruses that health experts believe will be circulating during the upcoming season and protects against multiple strains. By getting the flu shot, you not only protect yourself, but you protect others who could have life-threatening complications from catching the flu,” says Gianni Del Negro, a Pharmacist at London Drugs.

This year’s seasonal flu vaccine protects against multiple strains of both influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2) and influenza B.

More than a third of Western Canadians also believe that healthy people don’t need the flu vaccination (37%).

“It’s a myth that if you are a healthy person then you don’t need a flu shot. Even if you are in good health, it’s important to get immunized to prevent the spread of illness to high risk individuals such as newborns, young children, pregnant women, and adults with chronic medical conditions,” says Del Negro.

Almost one in four (36%) believe you can catch the virus from the flu shot. Those in Saskatchewan are more likely to agree that you can contract the flu from the vaccination (47%) than those in Manitoba (38%), Alberta (33%) and British Columbia (26%), and that you can catch the virus from it (36%).

Seven-in-ten (70%) also agree that the vaccination can have negative side effects. British Columbians are significantly less likely to believe this (60%) than their Western counterparts: Saskatchewan (68%), Manitoba (71%) and Alberta (71%).

“It is impossible to contract the illness from the vaccine itself because they are made with viruses that have been inactivated and are therefore not infectious. Most people don’t have reactions to the flu vaccine; those who do may have minor soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site,” says Del Negro.

Most agree that getting the flu shot is important to protect those most vulnerable

Despite these misconceptions, at least three-in-four Western Canadians agree that it is important to get the flu vaccination every year in order to help protect those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness (76%) and feel that getting the flu vaccination each year is a responsible way to take care of both your own health and the health of others around you (75%).

However, many Western Canadians are unaware of how devastating the influenza virus can be. Only half (49%) knew that the flu causes approximately 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year.

Knowledge and awareness about flu shots is high

Overall, Western Canadians are highly aware of several facts related to flu vaccinations. Almost nine-in-ten know that flu vaccinations are available free of charge for many Canadians (89%), are available at most pharmacies (88%), and that Health Canada recommends Canadians protect themselves from the flu by being vaccinated each year in the fall (also 88%). More than three-in-four are also aware that pharmacists can administer the flu vaccine (85%) and that the vaccine helps prevent hospitalizations and saves lives (78%).

Flu shots are widely available, by appointment or walk-in, across Canada. Western Canadians who are likely to get vaccinated this season are largely planning to get theirs at a pharmacy (41%), public flu clinic (16%), or doctor’s office (13%).

“Simply by getting a flu shot at London Drugs you can make a global impact, providing life-saving vaccinations to children worldwide, while taking care of your own health needs and potentially saving the lives of people in your own community as well,” says Del Negro.

For every flu shot administered at London Drugs pharmacies this year, a lifesaving vaccine will be donated to UNICEF Canada to immunize children in another country. The vaccination donation campaign is in partnership with I Boost Immunity (IBI), an online immunization advocacy network.

Flu shots are conveniently available seven days a week by appointment or on a walk-in basis at any London Drugs location. To learn more about getting the flu shot at London Drugs, visit: LondonDrugs.com/flu

 

ABOUT THE SURVEY

Results are based on an online study conducted by Insights West from September 14th to 26th, 2018 among a representative sample of 2,144 British Columbia adults.  The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 2.12 percentage points. Discrepancies between totals are due to rounding.

 

You get, you give: Get your flu shot and help boost immunity around the world

I Boost Immunity and London Drugs partner to help protect the world’s most vulnerable children in support of UNICEF Canada

With influenza season fast approaching, London Drugs and I Boost Immunity (IBI) are once again reminding everyone that one of the best reasons to get vaccinated against influenza is to protect yourself, as well as those around you who are most at risk. And since vaccination benefits all of us, for every flu shot administered at any one of 81 London Drugs pharmacies, a second lifesaving vaccine will be donated to UNICEF Canada through I Boost Immunity to immunize a child in another country.

Since 2016, I Boost Immunity has donated over 750,000 vaccines for children through UNICEF by rewarding visitors to its website with vaccines for doing online quizzes about vaccine health.

“Our goal is to increase awareness about the importance of getting vaccinated against diseases like influenza to improve immunization rates both here in Canada and across the globe,” says Shannon Turner, Executive Director of the Public Health Association of BC. “Teaming up with London Drugs provides a wonderful example of global citizenship in action. The simple act of getting your flu shot has a multiplier effect by also helping vaccinate children around the world at the same time.”

Getting vaccinated against influenza is crucial for individuals at high-risk for developing flu-related complications such as newborns, young children, pregnant women, and adults with chronic medical conditions.

“Many people mistakenly believe there’s no need to get a flu shot because they are healthy,” says Gianni Del Negro, Pharmacist at London Drugs. “But good health is not an excuse to skip the vaccine, especially if you may be in close contact with people may be vulnerable to influenza. Not only that, but anyone who receives the flu shot at our pharmacies will be making a global impact, providing life-saving vaccinations to children worldwide, while taking care of their own health needs and potentially saving the lives of people in their own community as well,” says Del Negro.

Take an influenza quiz and to earn vaccines for UNICEF at www.boostimmunity.com.

To learn more about getting the flu shot at London Drugs, visit: http://www.LondonDrugs.com/flu.

3 Ways Getting the Flu Shot Can Save Lives

Since diseases cross local and national boundaries, vaccinating anyone, anywhere in the world, benefits us all. Simply by getting a flu shot, you can make a global impact, while taking care of your own health needs and potentially saving the lives of your loved ones and people in your own community.

Here’s how getting your flu shot at London Drugs can save lives.

1. Flu shots prevent the spread of potentially fatal illnesses to high-risk patients

To an otherwise healthy person, the flu may be nothing more than five days of feeling miserable, but it’s a genuine threat to the lives of high-risk patients. One of the best reasons to get the flu shot is not just to protect yourself, but to protect those who are most vulnerable such as newborns, young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there were 302 influenza-associated deaths and 5,176 hospitalizations last year. The more people who are vaccinated, the less chance of exposure to the disease and the fewer deaths and hospitalizations that occur.

2. Flu shots reduce the risk of life-threatening flu-related complications

Getting sick with the flu can put you at risk of getting other infections such as viral or bacterial pneumonia and flu-related complications such as asthma attacks. Getting the flu vaccine only takes a few seconds, yet it can have a big impact by protecting against these life-threatening and serious complications, especially for those who have compromised immune systems.

3. Flu shots provide lifesaving vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable children

For every flu shot administered at London Drugs this year, a lifesaving vaccine will be donated to UNICEF Canada to immunize children in other countries. Simply by getting this year’s flu vaccine at London Drugs, you can play active role in helping to save tens of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable children from deadly, vaccine-preventable diseases.

The vaccination donation campaign is in partnership with I Boost Immunity (IBI), an online immunization advocacy and learning platform supported by the Province of British Columbia and administered by the Public Health Association of BC. Since 2016, I Boost Immunity has donated over 730,000 vaccines for children through UNICEF through various campaigns.

Flu shots are conveniently available seven days a week by appointment or on a walk-in basis at any London Drugs location. Learn more about getting the flu shot at London Drugs.

London Drugs host game-day flu shot clinic with BC Lions

We are teaming up with the BC Lions to offer flu shots at their upcoming home game this Saturday, October 6th, 2018. Pharmacists will be on site in the Terry Fox Plaza at BC Place between 2pm and 4pm, providing flu shots by-donation to those 5 years of age and older, with or without a game ticket. London Drugs will be matching all donations dollar-for-dollar, with proceeds supporting the BC Lions’ Courage for Kids program.

As an added bonus, for every flu shot administered on game-day, or at any London Drugs location from now until the end of flu season, a life-saving vaccine will be donated to UNICEF Canada to immunize children in another country. The vaccination donation campaign is in partnership with I Boost Immunity (IBI), an online immunization advocacy network.

There has never been a better time to get your flu shot. Not will you be protecting yourself and high risk individuals in the local community, but you will also be supporting two very important children’s charities. Win-win!

Flu shots are also conveniently available seven days a week by appointment or on a walk-in basis at any London Drugs location. To learn more about getting the flu shot at London Drugs, visit: LondonDrugs.com/flu.

How to Know When You’re Too Sick to Work

 

how to know if too sick to work

If you’re like many Canadians, you or someone you know felt icky, yucky, or downright gross over the holidays. An early start to cold and flu season caught us off guard, allowing illness to spread at parties and festive gatherings.

On a positive note, the holidays are ideal for getting needed rest. But, if you become sick during the traditional danger zone from January to March, deciding what to do can be much more difficult.

So, should you tough it out at work or stay home?

The answer depends on many personal variables, of course. But here are a few things to keep in mind that might help you decide (don’t forget: a lot of sick days can be avoided if you simply get the annual flu shot).

When To Go In:

If you have a mild sniffle or slight cough, it’s usually okay to head to work. Just be sure to let your coworkers know you aren’t feeling 100%. That way, they won’t be surprised if you refuse a handshake, avoid a social function, or choose to eat alone.

While at work, wash your hands often, disinfect them regularly, and use disinfectant wipes several times per day to clean your workstation. You don’t want to risk being known as ‘patient zero’ at the office this year. And be sure you have some tissues on hand, too. Ah-choo!

When To Stay Home:

If you feel worse than somewhat under the weather, it’s a good idea to stay home for at least a day if you can. This includes if you’ve suffered from moderate symptoms persisting for more than a few days. There are also a few red flag symptoms to watch out for.

If you have any of these symptoms, you’re better off staying home if you can:

1. Fever: Running a fever of over 37.5°C (100°F) is the number one sign you should stay home from work. It’s likely you have the flu and the next 36-48 hours will be pretty tough. You can get ahead of the game by jumping into bed straight away. But see a doctor if your fever rises over 39.5°C (103°F), persists for over 24 hours, or is accompanied by severe sweating or chills.

You should also remain home from work at least one extra full day after your fever breaks. Feeling rejuvenated? This can be a great opportunity to work from home.

2. Sore Throat: Ahead of other traditional cold symptoms, a sore throat is a red flag that you should consider staying home. To start, if your job involves speaking (and most do), this will be uncomfortable and could prolong your symptoms. More importantly, a sore throat is a potential symptom of laryngitis, mononucleosis, strep throat, or tonsillitis.

Take the day off to monitor and treat your symptoms. If your throat feels no better by the afternoon, and soothing teas or cough drops don’t seem to help, consider heading to a nearby clinic.

3. Coloured Mucus: To be completely clear (no pun intended), if you’re coughing up considerable amounts of phlegm, no matter the colour, you should consider staying at home if you can. In addition to several other very good reasons, nobody wants to hear all that ruckus at work.

That said, keep a close eye on the colour. If your mucus is distinctly green or yellow, it could be a sign of infection. At the very least, it shows your body is fighting off something nasty.

Final Thoughts…

  1. The old tale that you aren’t contagious when your symptoms are at their worst is pure malarkey. But the surprise for some is that you’re actually contagious with either cold or flu for up to a week after symptoms disappear.
  2. If your child is sick, especially if they show a red flag symptom, consider keeping them home from school. If they’re very young and you can’t find someone to be home with them, consider taking the day off work, if possible. Their teachers, classmates, and your fellow parents will thank you.

***

Want more advice on when to go to work and when to stay home?

Check out this LD Expert video of Pharmacist Gianni Del Negro on Global News with Sonia Sunger.

Here are a few of the helpful cold and flu-related health products discussed in the video, available at London Drugs in-store and online:

Note: Please consult your pharmacist before taking any cold or flu treatments.


Antiviral Mask:
 If you’ve never tried one of these before, you might feel slightly self-conscious wearing what appears like a surgeon’s scrubs from the neck up. But you’ll be glad if it helps you avoid catching or spreading a cold this year. These masks are especially great to wear in large crowds or shared public spaces, such as transit, stores, or airports.

LD Expert says: “If you are concerned about getting sick or you want to prevent someone else from getting sick, you can put a mask on to prevent those droplets from going into the air.”


Saline Nasal Rinse:
Again, some might feel unsure about using one of these products for the first time. “The water goes where!?,” they ‘ll say. But many of those who have tried a neti pot for themselves absolutely swear by the results. It involves rinsing out your nasal cavity with what is essentially warm, salty water and it can make all the difference when you’re stuffed up.

LD Expert Says: “If you’re really congested, it’s hard to breathe and you’re not going to get a good night’s sleep. Using a saline product like a neti pot helps relieve some of that congestion and makes it easier for you to breathe and function.”

Cough, Cold, and Flu Relief: There are a wide variety of off-the-shelf treatments for cold and flu symptoms. They feature numerous active ingredients and can be taken in many different ways, including everything from pills to fruit chews. But know that none offer a true cure or a proper substitute for needed bed rest. Still, they can make you feel a bit better in the meantime.

LD Expert Says: “The old stand-bys in terms of helping with cough, nasal congestion, those sorts of symptoms. Keep in mind it’s really important that you do talk to your pharmacist about these products before you use them.”

 

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