Cold & Flu

Did you know that millions of Canadians are affected by a flu virus each year? Be prepared this cold and flu season by reading more about prevention and managing symptoms for both children and adults.

Prevention: be fit

Remember that viruses cause the cold and flu. Preventing both cold and flu involves similar strategies:
 
Be fit: regular physical activity has significant health benefits and can help your body ward off illness during cold and flu season. For most adults, regular physical activity means 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise (e.g., riding a bicycle, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, swimming). This amount can be broken down into smaller sessions. Weight-bearing exercise can also help. Be sure to speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

Prevention: eat healthy

Eat healthy to keep your immune system strong: make sure you eat three well-balanced meals each day, following the suggestions in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.
 
Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly those high in antioxidants (containing vitamin C, E and beta-carotene) such as cantaloupe, almonds, peppers, tomatoes and strawberries.
 
Eat foods containing phytochemicals, found in plants. Try apples, legumes, red peppers, garlic and cabbage.
 
Worried about adequate nutrition from your diet? Try vitamin/mineral supplements. Ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for advice.
 

Prevention: germs

Don’t spread germs: regular hand-washing can help prevent the spread of germs. Applying hand sanitizer is also useful when you can’t wash your hands.
 
Some tips on hand-washing to ensure you’re doing a thorough job:
  • Use warm water and soap
  • Vigorously rub your hands together
  • Scrub all parts of your hands and wrists
  • Continue for at least 20 seconds before rinsing
  • Use a paper towel to turn off faucets after you’ve washed.
 
If you are sick with a cold or flu, practice the “sleeve sneeze” by sneezing downwards into your bent arm. The same technique should be used when you cough.

 
 

Prevention: flu shot

Get the seasonal flu shot: it is recommended for most healthy adults and children over the age of 6 months. The fall is the best time for it, although it still helps even if you wait until January. It takes about 2 weeks for the effects of this immunization to occur.
 
Walmart Pharmacy will have flu shot clinics in late fall in some provinces, so be sure to ask the Pharmacist at Walmart about your flu shot. It is the best way to protect you against the flu virus.
 
Make sure you discuss the flu shot with your doctor, as some people should not receive it, or should delay receiving it.

 
 

Flu vs. cold symptoms

Knowing which you have can help you manage your condition.
 
Flu:
  • Sneezing/nasal congestion: sometimes
  • Weakness or feeling tired: usually and can be severe, lasting up to three weeks
  • Fever or pain: usually a high fever of 102-104° F (39-40° C)
  • Sore throat: common
  • Cough: usually and may be severe
  • Possible complications: pneumonia
 
Cold:
  • Sneezing/nasal congestion: often
  • Weakness or feeling tired: sometimes, but generally mild
  • Fever or pain: rarely
  • Sore throat: common
  • Cough: sometimes, but usually mild to moderate
  • Possible complications: ear infection or sinus infection

 
 

Non-medicinal therapy

There are many ways, medicinal and non-medicinal, to manage the symptoms of cold and flu so that you can get some rest and be back to your normal self in the shortest possible time.
 
Some non-medicinal tips you might use:
  • Stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids, such as water, naturally sweetened fruit juice, hot tea with honey or try a tasty soup.
  • A warm- or cool-mist humidifier can help moisten the air and provide some relief for nasal congestion.
  • A salt-water gargle may help ease a sore throat. You can also eat a Popsicle® for relief of a sore throat.

 
 

Medicinal therapy

Some medicines may help ease your cold or flu symptoms:
  • Medicated nasal congestion products (tablets/capsules, drops/sprays, strips) or nasal strips. Medicated decongestants shouldn’t be used for more than 2-3 days. Children or those with a heart condition, diabetes or thyroid condition shouldn’t use them.
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever. Avoid ASA in those under age 19.
  • Throat lozenges, warm salt-water gargle or pain reliever. Children should be supervised; those under 6 should not use pain relievers.
  • Cough suppressant or expectorant. Not for children under age 12.

 
 

Cold & flu in children

Health Canada has provided safety tips on cold and flu products for children.
  • Children under age 6 should NOT use OTC cold/flu products, including:
    • Expectorants (these loosen mucus)
    • Antihistamines (for sneezing, runny nose, congestion)
    • Decongestants
    • Suppressant (for cough)
  • Children under 12 should only use such products with caution and under the direction of a health care professional.
  • Choose only products with dosing instructions for the child’s age group. Follow the instructions carefully.
  • Children should receive only one kind of cold/flu medicine at a time.

 
 

Important information

The Pharmacist at Walmart is a medication expert and is available to help you through cold and flu season. Walmart Pharmacy has a variety of products that can offer you relief from the worst of cold and flu symptoms.
Just ask!


This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.

 
Legal
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.

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