What is influenza?
Influenza is an virus called influenza virus. Most people know it as the flu. It is a very severe illness of the winter season. The flu is a very contagious infection of the nose, throat and lungs.
When you have the flu you will have a high fever, chills, a cough, headache, runny nose, sore throat and muscle pain. It may feel like your whole body aches. The flu can last for several days to weeks.
Every winter almost one quarter of Canadians are infected with the flu. Thousands become very seriously ill and thousands more die from complications due to the flu
The best protection against influenza is to get a flu shot every year. The best time to get a flu shot are the months of October and November.
Even though the flu vaccination will protect it may not prevent against the flu. There are other ways to help protect against getting the flu. One way is to avoid contact with infected persons. This is very difficult to do. There are many places where people are together for long periods of time. One example of this is the classroom.
You should never share glasses or forks and spoons. And cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
The biggest carrier of any infection is the human hands. They can put the virus on doorknobs, taps, toys and many other common objects. This is why hand washing is very, very important. Not just for the people that have the flu but for everyone else also.
When you get the flu it is important to rest at home. Tylenol helps to relieve the aches and pains. Children and teenagers should never take Aspirin because it is very dangerous to them. It can cause a condition called Reye Syndrome. Drinking a lot of juices and water will also help to bring down the fever.
It is almost impossible to stay away from everyone who may have come in contact or is infected with the flu virus. But if you do end up with the flu, you are almost guaranteed a couple of sick days home from school.
I wish everyone good luck and I hope you all stay healthy during this years flu season.