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THE FLU: Four things you should know

Getting a flu shot remains your best bet if you want to avoid getting 'the bug' this winter season. Find out how you can protect yourself and your loved ones with these fast facts. 

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

 

For more information, visit: www.ontario.ca/page/flu-facts


Q: I’ve got the flu, now what?

A: Most people will not require medical care or treatment. Stay home, stay hydrated, rest and avoid contact with others for at least 24 hours after your fever resolves.
Wash your hands well and often with soap and seek medical attention if symptoms of high fever persist or you experience respiratory distress (fast heart rate, difficulty breathing), severe or persistent vomiting, confusion or dizziness. Most people recover on their own and antiviral medication is only required in special situations.

Dr. Sergio Borgia is Osler’s Medical Director and Corporate Division Head of the Infectious Diseases and Infection Prevention and Control Program.

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