Flu season is starting: are you ready?

Every year, when the temperature drops and the leaves begin to change, the start of the influenza, or flu, season is not far behind. As we start digging through the closet for hats, gloves and scarves, it’s important to remember the necessary steps that will help protect ourselves and our loved ones from the flu.  

People of all ages can get influenza (the flu) and it’s important to keep in mind that by protecting yourself from the virus, you are also protecting other people in your life that may be at risk of a severe case of the flu.

The best way to protect against getting and spreading the flu is to get the annual influenza immunization (flu shot). The influenza virus is very contagious and spreads easily from person to person by coughing, sneezing, or by touching objects recently touched by someone with the illness and then touching your eyes or nose.

There are many ways to get your flu shot including the flu clinics offered by the Halton Region Health Department throughout the season. Flu shots are also available at physicians’ offices, workplaces, some pharmacies and at walk-in clinics.

2011 Flu Clinics

  • English 
  • French
  • Seniors’ Centre Locations

Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if you have a common cold or if you actually have symptoms of influenza. You can evaluate cold and influenza symptoms by using this chart. Typically the illness lasts for about a week, although the cough and tired feeling may continue longer. Most healthy people can recover from the flu but for certain people, infection can worsen a current medical condition such as heart or lung disease. It can also lead to pneumonia.

Personal protective measures are also an effective way to prevent catching or spreading the flu. These include:

  • Frequent hand washing with soap and warm water for a minimum of 15 seconds
  • Using an alcohol based hand sanitizer
  • Staying home when you’re sick. Resting is a key element to recovery
  • Coughing and sneezing into your sleeve  
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces such as door knobs, telephones, computers or remote controls

For more information on the flu, please dial 311 or call Halton Region at 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866 or TTY 905-827-9833 or visit www.halton.ca/flu.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”