How to Fight the flu

You can play an active role in staying healthy and preventing the spread of the seasonal flu if you:

  1. Get your flu shot
    • You can protect yourself and others by getting an annual flu shot.
  2. Wash your hands frequently
    • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
    • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer.
    • Wash your hands:
      • before and after eating
      • after you have been in a public place
      • after using the washroom
      • after coughing and sneezing
      • after touching common surfaces
  3. Cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hand
    • If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands.
  4. Keep your hands away from your face
    • In most cases, the flu virus enters the body through the eyes, nose or mouth.
  5. Keep common surface areas clean and disinfected
    • Doorknobs, light switches, telephones, keyboards and other surfaces can become contaminated with all kinds of bacteria and viruses which can live on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours.
    • Regularly cleaning and disinfecting these surfaces with normal household disinfectants can help prevent the spread of viruses.
  6. If you get sick, stay home
    • If you think you have the flu and are otherwise healthy, you should stay home from school or work until you are feeling well and able to fully participate in regular activities. If your symptoms get worse, call your health care provider.
  7. Stay healthy
    • Eat healthy foods and be physically active to keep your immune system strong.

Did you know?

You can be a role model for kids:

  • Teach children to count to 20 when they wash their hands
  • Show children how to cough or sneeze into their sleeve or elbow – not their hand

Who should get the flu shot?

Although the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that everyone older than six months get the flu shot, it is especially important for people who are at higher risk of complications from influenza.

Did you know?

The flu shot can prevent flu illness in up to 70-90% of healthy children and adults.

It is also important for the people who take care of others to have the flu shot, to prevent spreading the flu to those they care for. This includes:

  • Health care and other care providers who could transmit the flu to those at high risk of complications.
  • Adults and children who live with a person at high risk of complications from influenza (even if the person at high risk has been immunized). This is particularly important for:
    • People who live in a household with infants younger than 6 months of age as these infants are at high risk of complications from influenza but cannot receive the flu shot.
    • Pregnant women and other members of a household expecting a newborn during the flu season.
  • Those providing regular child care to children under 59 months of age, whether in or out of the home.
  • Those who provide services within closed or relatively closed environments to people who may be at high risk for complications of influenza (e.g. crew on a ship).

The flu shot is also recommended for:

  • People who provide essential community services.
  • People in direct contact with poultry infected with avian influenza during culling operations.

Refer to the recommendation for 2013-2014External Link for more information.

Each year, a new flu vaccine must be prepared that will be effective against the flu virus strain circulating the globe. Find out how the flu shot makes its way from the lab to the doctor's officeExternal Link.