The flu, again

By Glauce Fleury

Influenza activity is approaching seasonal levels with many regions in Canada reporting increasing influenza activity, says the most recent FluWatch report (week 46). I know it. Winter hasn’t even started, but I’ve already contributed to the stats.

Now with the flu, I’ve been extremely cautious about my health. As you might know from reading this blog, I had pneumonia last January. Pneumonia is one of several complications that can be caused by the flu.

It’s hard to pinpoint the moment we get the flu, but my fever, sore throat and chills came right after an evening class. Indoors, a cold room (maybe the heater was off); outdoors, rain and wind.

I started taking vitamins and my homeopathic medicines. But three days later, due to a business activity, I had to take short walks between different venues under a rainy and windy weather. It was more than enough.

On the next day, I added to my symptoms sneeze, cough, muscle pain, headache and runny nose. I felt exhausted, but still went to work. On the skytrain, people sneezing and blowing their noses reminded me that the flu season has arrived.

According to Health Canada, the best ways to protect ourselves and those around us from the flu are below:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm, not into your hands.
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes with your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that people touch, such as:
    • doorknobs,
    • phones, and
    • television remotes.
  • Eat healthy foods and do physical activities to keep your immune system strong.
  • Get plenty of rest or sleep.

In case you’re already sick, the best bet is to stay home and avoid contact with others so you don’t spread the virus. Get some rest and fluids (like hot teas and soups). Over-the-counter flu medicines can help. But if you think you have something more serious or if the sick person is a child, go to a doctor.

If you generally take the flu shot, go for it. I’ve had severe reactions to any shots, so I don’t take them when it’s not mandatory (for example, an epidemic of meningitis or yellow fever). Besides, flu shots never prevented me from having the flu. Weird, but true.

If you’re interested in knowing how the numbers are going in Canada, you can follow FluWatch. This national surveillance system monitors the spread of flu and publishes weekly reports.

Photo credit: © Ernesto under Creative Commons via Flickr.



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