The influenza season is fast approaching.  The Stettler District Ambulance Association would like to support efforts and education initiatives to spread the word about annual influenza immunizations.

 

 

 

 

What is influenza?

 

Influenza is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs (respiratory tract) that is caused by a virus. Influenza can happen any time of year, but most cases happen in the winter months.

 

How is influenza spread?

 

Influenza is spread through the air. The virus gets in the air when someone with the disease coughs, sneezes, or even talks. People who breathe in the virus can get sick. It can also be spread by touching objects that have been coughed or sneezed on by someone with the virus.

 

How serious is influenza?

 

Most people who get sick with influenza get better. But, influenza causes about 12,000 people to get admitted to the hospital and about 3,500 deaths in Canada each year.

 

Complications of influenza can include pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, and dehydration. Influenza can also make chronic medical problems (e.g., congestive heart failure, asthma, diabetes) worse.

 

There is a higher risk of getting complications from influenza for:

 

  • babies

  • pregnant women

  • people 65 and older

  • children 6 months up to 5 years

  • people with chronic health problems

     

    What are the symptoms of influenza?

    The symptoms of influenza are:

 

  • fever (temperature of 38.5oC or 101.3oF or higher) that starts suddenly

  • cough

  • headache

  • muscle aches

  • loss of appetite

  • feeling tired

     

    How can influenza be prevented?

 

  • Get the influenza vaccine. Influenza vaccine is a very effective way to protect people from getting sick with influenza. You need to get immunized every year because the influenza viruses change. A new vaccine is made each year to protect against the viruses most likely to cause illness in that year. The best time to get immunized is in October or November, but you can get immunized any time during influenza season.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water or clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that has alcohol in it. For more information, see: Handwashing

  • Cover your mouth and nose with your arm or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

  • Stay home and rest when you are sick.

    Is the influenza vaccine safe?

    Yes. In Canada, vaccines undergo laboratory and field-testing. They must pass a strict licensing procedure with the federal government before they can be used. Once a vaccine has been approved for use, every lot is tested for safety and quality. You can’t get influenza disease from the influenza vaccine.

    Who should get the influenza vaccine?

    All Albertans 6 months and older should get the influenza vaccine. It’s very important for people who have a higher risk for complications from influenza. It’s also important to immunize anyone who might spread influenza to people at high risk of influenza-related complications like healthcare providers and other caregivers.

     

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    Get Immunized:

 

Good health isn't contagious. Influenza is. Chances are, you don't want influenza anymore than your loved ones do.

 

Getting your influenza immunization every season is the single most effective way to protect yourself from influenza.

 

All Albertans six months of age & older should be immunized each season.

 

Protect yourself. Protect others. Get immunized. Why Chance It?

 

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Cover Your Cough:

 

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing.

 

If you don’t have a tissue, always cough or sneeze into your arm, not into your hands.

 

Throw away tissues after wiping your nose or covering a cough, and wash your hands.

 

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Clean Your Hands:

 

Using soap and warm water, wash your hands thoroughly and often, including after coughing, sneezing, using tissues or the washroom, and before eating or preparing foods.

 

Alcohol-based hand rub or sanitizer can also be helpful if hands are not visibly soiled.

 

Make a point of keeping hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth.

 

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Stay Home When Sick:

 

If you have symptoms of illness, including fever, cough, headache and extreme tiredness, stay home from work, school, daycare, or any social function.

 

Please also refrain from visiting family, friends or loved ones in hospitals, care facilities or seniors lodges, until you have fully recovered from any illness