Get the facts - not the flu - First Nations


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Health Canada
ISBN: 978-1-100-19615-2 (PDF Version)
Cat. No.: H34-241/1-2011E (PDF Version)
HC Pub.: 110191 (PDF Version)

Protect yourself, your family and your community

Seasonal influenza (flu) is a common infection of the airways and lungs that can spread easily among people. When someone with the flu sneezes or coughs, the virus can travel through the air and others can breathe it in. The virus can also land on surfaces such as doorknobs, toys and phones. If a person touches something with the flu virus on it and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth, they can get the flu. In Canada, flu season usually runs from November to April.

Recognize the symptoms

Most common

  • Cough and fever that comes on quickly (not everyone will have a fever)


  • Being tired
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Not being hungry
  • Runny nose


  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The flu is not a cold. A cold is a mild infection of the nose and throat. A cold might linger but the symptoms will remain mild. Symptoms of the cold include runny nose, sneezing, cough and sore throat. With a cold you do not usually get a headache, fever, muscle aches or nausea.

Contact your local health care provider right away if you have:

  • Shortness of breath, rapid breathing or difficultly breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Sudden dizziness or confusion
  • Severe or continued vomiting
  • High fever lasting more than 3 days

Contact your local health care provider if you are caring for a child that has the flu and;

  • Is not drinking or eating enough
  • Is not waking up or interacting with others
  • Is irritable; not wanting to play or be held

Most people will recover form the flu within a week but others, such as pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions are more at risk for severe complications. If symptoms don't get better, see your healthcare provider.

Stopping the flu virus - you can make a difference in your community

How you can prevent the spread of the flu:

  • Get a flu shot, if you can.
  • Cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hand.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if hand washing is not possible, use hand sanitizer.
  • Keep objects that many people touch clean, like doorknobs and TV remotes.
  • If you are sick, stay at home and try to limit contact with others.
  • To maintain a strong body, mind and spirit, eat well and be active every day.
  • Be a role model for kids and teach them how they can stop the spread of the flu.

The flu virus usually changes from year-to-year, which is why there is a new vaccine each year to protect people. It is important to get the new flu shot every year.

For more information and resources

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