Osler’s Dr. Sergio Borgia, Medical Director and Corporate Division Head of the Infectious Diseases and Infection Prevention and Control Program answers some common questions about the flu.
Q: What is the flu and why does it have its own season?
A: Interestingly, the flu circulates all year long, but peaks in the winter months around the world for reasons not well understood.
Influenza, commonly referred to as “the flu” is a respiratory illness, with or showing signs of a fever, caused by the Influenza virus.
Q: How does the flu spread?
A: The Influenza virus spreads through sneezing and coughing; when infected and uninfected people are in close proximity - usually within several feet of each other. The risk of transmission varies with the proximity and length of time exposed.
Q: How can I protect myself – and others – from getting the flu?
A: You can do the following:
- Get your flu shot
- Wash hands well and often
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Use a tissue, not a cloth, and cough into the crook of your arm