Fast Flu Facts

Did you know that every year, the flu affects millions of Canadians? Since flu season usually starts in the fall, now is the time to learn some facts about the flu, how to prevent it, and what to do if you get it.

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Fact: The flu is more than just a bad cold

The flu and a cold are both lung infections, and they’re both caused by viruses. They both cause symptoms, like a runny, stuffy nose or a sore throat. But that’s where the similarities end.

The flu is caused by a different virus than the ones which cause the common cold. The flu’s symptoms are normally much more severe.

If you’ve got a high fever (over 102°F or 39°C), body aches and pains, a headache, a severe cough, or extreme fatigue in addition to your stuffy nose … chances are, you may have the flu.


Fact: The flu is a serious illness

As you might expect from its symptoms, the flu is serious. That’s why it’s important to try to avoid it, and to take good care of yourself if you get it.

Most people will recover from the flu in a week to ten days. But the illness can cause complications, and in some people it can even be deadly. These complications include:

  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Worsening of other health conditions

Certain groups (children under age 5, seniors, those with other medical conditions like heart disease, asthma or diabetes) are at greater risk of flu complications. But even healthy young adults can get very sick with the flu.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should see a health care provider right away:
  • Shortness of breath, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Bluish or grey skin colour
  • Bloody or coloured mucus/spit
  • Sudden dizziness or confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • High fever lasting more than three days
  • Low blood pressure

Fact: You can spread the flu to others

The flu is a very contagious disease, since the virus can pass through the air when you cough or sneeze. The virus also stays on your skin, and can live for days on household surfaces. So if you get the flu, there’s always a risk you could pass it on to people around you.

It’s important to do what you can to prevent others from catching the flu from you:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds:
    • before and after eating
    • after using the washroom
    • after coughing and sneezing
    • after touching common surfaces
  • If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Cough or sneeze into your arm/sleeve, not your hand. If you use a tissue, dispose of it quickly
  • Regularly clean and disinfect common surface areas in your house, including doorknobs, countertops, telephones and keyboards
  • Stay home from work or school until your symptoms improve
But the best way to protect yourself and others is to not get the flu in the first place... ask the Pharmacist at Walmart about getting your annual flu shot.

Fact: A flu shot helps protect you and your family

Studies have shown that getting an influenza vaccine (the flu shot) is a safe and effective way to avoid getting the flu. Getting an annual flu shot:

  • Prevents illness in 80% of healthy adults
  • Prevents illness with fever in 54-63% of children
  • Prevents hospitalization, pneumonia and deaths in seniors

Some people who get the flu shot can still get the flu … but if they do, it’s usually a milder case than it would have been without the flu shot. The shot itself is perfectly safe … the vaccine doesn’t contain an active virus, so you can’t catch the flu from it.

It’s important to get the flu shot every year. Each year brings new strains of the flu virus. So you need to renew your protection every year against these new strains.

The flu shot is available at many Walmart Pharmacies. It’s quick and easy, and the best protection available against the flu. Just ask!

Fact: You can treat flu symptoms

Despite all your precautions, you may still get the flu this season.

If you have the flu, it’s important to:

  • Get lots of rest. A healthy immune system will help you fight off the flu faster, and proper sleep is always important to staying healthy.
  • Drink plenty of fluids – water, clear broths or sports beverages.

There are many products available at the Walmart Pharmacy to treat flu symptoms like fever, stuffy nose, sore throat or cough. Whatever you choose, keep in mind:

  • ALWAYS follow the instructions on the label. They’ll tell you how much to take, and when to take it. Never take more than the label recommends.
  • Check the expiry date of all medications.
  • If you’re using more than one product, make sure they’re OK to take together. If in doubt, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart.
  • If you have any medical conditions, always check with the Pharmacist at Walmart to make sure these medications are safe for you.
  • Store all medications safely, out of the reach of children.
Talk to the Pharmacist at Walmart about treatments for flu symptoms that are right for you and your family.

Important information

The Pharmacist at Walmart is always available to talk to you about the flu shot and how to prevent and treat the flu. If you want to know how to protect your family from the flu... 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.

The pharmacist at Walmart does not endorse or recommend any sponsor or their products or services.
Any representation, performance claim, warranty or guarantee in any materials herein is the sole responsibility of the sponsor that has prepared such materials and is not independently verified by Walmart.
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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