Don’t give the cold or flu this Winter

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How to protect your loved ones from the cold and flu this winter

Nobody likes to be sick during the winter season. But in some parts of Canada, flu season is projected to peak right now – and as families get together and spend more time indoors and closer to each other during the winter season, there’s a greater risk that the viruses which cause the common cold will spread too.

Here are some helpful tips from Shoppers Drug Mart Associate-owner Victor Wong to help you get through cold and flu season without catching the bug.

What is the difference between the cold and the flu?

Cold symptoms can be a sore throat, runny nose, congestion and cough.

Flu symptoms are more severe and can include sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion and cough. Unlike the common cold, the flu can develop into a more serious condition such as pneumonia.

When is the flu contagious?

You don’t have to be sick to be contagious. In fact, people may be contagious for a few days BEFORE they know they develop flu symptoms and for as much as 5-7 days AFTER their symptoms have gone.

How do I protect my loved one from the cold and flu this winter?

Getting exercise, eating healthily and getting a good night’s sleep helps to boost your immunity.

Try to avoid those who have a cold or flu – and if you get sick, stay home so you don’t spread the illness to others. Cold and flu viruses enter your body through the nose, eyes, or mouth – so cover your mouth when you sneeze and stay away from people who sneeze or cough openly. Always wash your hands or have hand sanitizer with you.

Your best protection against the flu is the flu shot – which is available at Shoppers Drug Mart locations in all provinces except Saskatchewan and Quebec. No appointment is necessary; just remember to bring your provincial health card.

Is it too late to get the flu shot if I haven’t already?

Absolutely not! The flu season continues right through March before tailing off, but the benefits of the flu shot last six months, or the length of the flu season, so the sooner you get your flu shot, the better. It takes two weeks for the flu shot to provide you with protection, so if you want to protect your loved ones over the winter season, make sure you get the flu shot.

What are some of the most common myths about the flu shot?

Here are two big myths that I hear a lot. The first is, the flu vaccine can give you the flu. The facts are that injected flu vaccines only contain dead virus and dead virus can’t infect you.

The second myth I hear is, I got the flu shot last year, so I don’t need to get it this year. Active strains of the influenza virus vary from year to year, which is why a new flu vaccine is released each year, so you should get the flu shot each year even if you received it the previous year.

I hope you’ve learned something new from these tips and that they help you to enjoy a healthy and happy New Year. Don’t forget that if you have any questions about cold and flu, you can ask your local Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist to give you personalized care and peace of mind.

To find the nearest Shoppers Drug Mart with flu shots in stock, use our Flu Shot Finder: