Cold and flu season is upon us
Here you’ll find everything you need to know to protect yourself and your family, including:
- Help identifying the differences between cold and flu symptoms.
- Advice and tips about preventing the cold and flu and managing symptoms.
- The truth about some common flu myths.
Consider this your guide to health and wellness during the cold and flu season.
Tips to manage colds & flu
From your Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacist
To prevent the spread of colds and flu, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Better yet, turn away from other people and use the crook of your arm to cover up.
- Use hand sanitizer to help prevent the spread of germs. You should be applying it before and after every meal, after taking public transit and at regular intervals throughout the day.
- Speed up recovery from the flu by drinking plenty of liquids. It’s not about a precise number of glasses, but about keeping hydrated. So make sure that you are sipping something water, tea, juice consistently throughout the day. And remember: if you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Aim to control thirst before you notice it.
- Use a humidifier to increase moisture in the air and make breathing easier.
You’ve got questions about the flu. We’ve got answers for you
What is “the flu”?
The flu is an infection of the airways caused by the influenza virus. It’s easily passed from one person to another by coughing or sneezing.
Isn’t the flu just a bad cold?
No. The flu is a more serious infection than the cold. It is caused by a different virus, has different symptoms and can cause serious complications (such as pneumonia), and even death.
Recognizing flu symptoms vs. cold symptoms
I’ve been exposed to the virus. How long could it take for symptoms to appear?
From 1 to 4 days, but on average, about two days. If you have the flu, you are contagious from the day before you have symptoms and up to 10 days after the symptoms appear. This is why it’s so important to practice prevention all the time.
How can I prevent the flu?
Get an annual flu shot this year’s flu shot protects against both seasonal influenza and H1N1.
- Avoid touching your mouth, eyes or nose.
- Wash your hands frequently for no less than 10 seconds scrubbing between fingers, around wrists, up your forearms and under your nails is the best way to prevent the virus from spreading.
- Use an alcohol-based antibacterial hand sanitizer when soap and running water aren’t available.
What should I do if I know I have the flu?
Taking non-prescription medications can help with the pain and discomfort:
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen to treat fever, headaches and body aches.
- Throat lozenges to soothe a sore throat.
- Cough and cold medications to help a runny, stuffy nose and coughs.
Remember the non-medicinal habits that will help manage your symptoms:
- Drink lots of fluids to speed recovery. Water and juice are good choices, while soup and fruit also add liquid to your diet.
- Use a humidifier to help make breathing easier and loosen mucus.
- Use a saline solution to soothe irritated nasal tissue.
- Use a salt water gargle for a sore throat. Add one teaspoon of salt to one glass of water and gargle for 15 seconds.
Will my whole family be affected by the flu in the same way?
No. Some people are at higher risk of serious complications of influenza (like pneumonia) and may benefit from prescription antiviral medications. People 65 years of age or older, and those with long-standing illnesses (like diabetes, heart disease or lung disease) who develop flu-like symptoms should see their doctor.
Have more questions?
Your Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacist is always here to provide one-on-one counseling and advice on the best medication for you.