Did you know... that millions of Canadians will come down with the flu this year? Read on to learn more about the flu, its symptoms, how to help prevent it, and when you should see your doctor about it.

What is the flu?

The flu (or “influenza”) is a virus that circulates in the winter months. It is a common and contagious infection that is transmitted through air-borne droplets of infected fluid, or from coming into contact with the virus on a surface and then touching your face.
Most people will recover from a flu infection within a week, but the symptoms can be uncomfortable.

Flu symptoms

Flu symptoms vary from person to person, but may include:
  • Sudden onset of headache, chills, cough, fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches and fatigue
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (especially in children)


Who should get the flu shot?

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that all healthy people above the age of 6 months old receive the seasonal flu vaccine.

Some groups are specifically encouraged to get the flu shot:

  1. Adults or children who are very overweight, or who have heart disease, lung disorders, diabetes, cancer or conditions that affect the immune system, kidney disease, blood disorders, or conditions that affect the airways or swallowing
  2. Healthy children 6-23 months old
  3. Healthy pregnant women
  4. Aboriginals
  5. Residents of nursing or chronic care homes
  6. People over 65
  7. Health care providers



Who should NOT get a shot?

Although the flu shot is recommended for most healthy Canadians over age 6 months, there are some people who should avoid or delay it:
  • Persons who had an allergic reaction to a previous flu vaccine or to any of the vaccine ingredients, or developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks
  • Most people with allergy to eggs may get the shot. You should first speak with your doctor about the severity of your egg allergy (some allergy testing may be required)
  • If you are fighting an infection with a fever, you may be told to hold off on getting the flu vaccine until you are better


Flu DOs and DON’Ts

  • Get the flu vaccine
  • Strengthen your immune system by eating well
  • Get regular exercise
  • Avoid crowds indoors
  • Practice good hygiene (frequent hand-washing/hand sanitizing, sneezing into your sleeve)

  • Touch your face with your hands
  • Share towels, utensils or drinking cups
  • Go to work/school until you feel better and symptoms have cleared
  • Take antibiotics (the flu is a virus and won’t respond)
  • Sneeze into the air

Should I see my doctor?

If you note any of these “red flag” symptoms, you should see a doctor right away:
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, rapid breathing
  • Bluish or grey skin colour
  • Bloody or coloured mucus/spit
  • Low blood pressure
  • High fever (i.e., above 38.5 °C) that lasts more than three days
  • Sudden dizziness or confusion
  • Severe vomiting or vomiting that persists


Children and flu

If you see any of these “red flag” symptoms in your child, you should take your child to the doctor:
  • Not waking up or interacting
  • Acting irritable (not wanting to be held or not wanting to play)
  • Not drinking enough liquids or not eating

Important information

Be prepared for flu season. Talk to your Walmart Pharmacist.

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.

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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