The basic steps for preventing the spread of cold germs are:
Prevention tips for H1N1 and seasonal flu are similar. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends the following steps to help prevent becoming sick with the flu:
Get an annual flu shot: Make sure your family members get a flu shot too.
Wash your hands frequently: Twenty seconds of handwashing with warm water and soap helps remove bacteria and viruses. Remember to wash before and after eating, after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, and after touching surfaces that may have been contaminated by other people.
Cover up when you cough or sneeze: Use a tissue, or raise your arm up to your face to cough or sneeze into your sleeve. If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands immediately.
Keep shared surface areas clean: Doorknobs, light switches, telephones, keyboards and other surfaces can become contaminated with all kinds of bacteria and viruses. Regular cleaning and disinfecting of these surfaces can help.
If you get sick, stay home! If you go out when you're sick, you may spread your illness to co-workers, classmates, neighbours or others. It may take you longer to get better if you are not well rested. Wait until you no longer have a fever and your cough is improving.
Encourage others to follow these simple steps. If you have children, be a good role model. Teach them to count to 20 while washing their hands and show them how to cover up when they cough or sneeze.
Since the disease can be spread via hands and surfaces, proper hygiene is critical to reducing the risk of contracting the flu. And if there is an outbreak in your area, follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.Back to Top
Getting vaccinated is the best protection against contracting the flu.
Read more in the Flu Vaccine Primer..
While seasonal flu and H1N1 can now be given as one shot to a healthy person, the Public Health Agency of Canada has recommended that the following groups and populations would benefit most from H1N1 immunization:
People under 65 with chronic health conditions
People living in remote and isolated settings or communities
Health care workers involved in pandemic response or the delivery of essential health care services
Household contacts and care providers of persons at high risk who cannot be immunized or may not respond to vaccines
Populations otherwise identified as high risk
Others who would benefit from immunization include:
Children 5 to 18 years of age
Poultry and swine workers
Adults 19 to 64 years of age
Adults 65 and older
The groups in each of the two categories are not listed in priority sequence. Provinces and territories are expected to use the guidance for planning purposes and interpret it based on local circumstances and realities.
For 2010, NACI has identified the following groups for special consideration to receive influenza vaccine. These groups have been identified because they experienced higher rates of pH1N1-related hospitalization and more
severe outcomes during the 2009 pandemic:
Your healthcare provider can help you determine whether you and/or others in your family should get the H1N1 vaccine. If you are in an at-risk group for complications from seasonal flu, you are alsoat risk for complications from H1N1 and should get vaccinated.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) imposes strict regulations on the import of animals and animal products from countries where avian flu is known to occur.
You can't get avian flu from eating properly-handled poultry and eggs. Consumers should follow the long standing advice from health authorities including Health Canada that poultry and eggs should be thoroughly cooked to limit the risk of infection, not only from avian influenza but from other foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella. You should:
Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw poultry and eggs.
Clean cutting boards and other utensils with soap and hot water to keep raw poultry from contaminating other foods, and disinfect frequently.
Ensure that poultry is thoroughly cooked (juice runs clear and no visible pink meat). Internal temperatures for whole chicken should reach 185Â° F / 85Â°C, for chicken parts should reach 165Â°F / 74Â°C.
Cook eggs until the yolks are no longer runny.
(Visit Health Canadaâ€™s â€œSafe Food Handling in the Home" page at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/kitchen-cuisine/interact/home-maison-eng.phpfor recommendations.)
Is there an Avian Flu/H5N1 Vaccine?
A vaccine for H5N1 vaccine is under development.
Learn more about avian flu/H5N1 at http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/influenza/index-eng.phpBack to Top
Here are some key tips for protecting your children from cold and flu germs.
Give Kids the Flu Vaccine. Start flu season off by helping kids avoid getting the flu. Contact your paediatrician for more information.
Cover Noses and Mouths. Show children how to do the "elbow" cough and sneeze (using their elbows to cover their mouths instead of their hands). Or, show them how to cover their mouths and noses with a tissue, and then immediately throw it away.
Drink Fluids. Water flushes toxins from your system, so be sure to keep kids hydrated.
Wash Those Hands. Teach your children about the importance of handwashing before every meal, after using the bathroom and after playing outside.
Regularly Disinfect Surfaces. Minimize the likelihood of spreading illnesses through contaminated surfaces by disinfecting commonly touched surfaces at the beginning and end of the day with LYSOL®.
Well-Balanced Diet. Give kids plenty of high protein foods, fruits, vegetables and vitamins to give their bodies the defences they need.Back to Top
Seek medical treatment right away if your child:
If you are caring for someone with the flu, check out the Public Health Agency of Canada at www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/alert-alerte/h1n1/guidance-orientation-05-03-eng.phpBack to Top