Protect yourself and others against illness.
The most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands!
Handwashing is the single most important measure to reduce the risks of transmitting infection from one person to another.
Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand rub or antiseptic hand wash to help remove bacteria and viruses. Dry hands thoroughly. Use the disposable towel to open the door then dispose of it in the waste.
Always wash and dry hands after going to the bathroom, coughing, sneezing or handling used tissues, or after touching objects, materials or hard surfaces that may have been contaminated by someone else with infectious illness.
Hand-to-face contact, such as during eating, grooming, or smoking, presents significant risks because of the potential for transmission of influenza from surfaces contaminated with wet respiratory droplets. Always wash hands before and after eating, grooming, smoking, or any other activity that involves hand-to-face contact.
Shared surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, telephones, keyboards and other hard surfaces can also become contaminated with all kinds of bacteria and viruses. Regular cleaning and disinfecting of these surfaces can help.
Cough and sneeze etiquette
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Cough or sneeze into your elbow, or use a tissue then dispose of used tissue in the waste.
- Always wash hands after coughing and sneezing, or disposing of tissues.
- Generally keep your hands away from your mouth, nose and eyes.
- Until influenza-like symptoms have disappeared, avoid contact with individuals at risk, for example, small children, or those with underlying or chronic illnesses such as immune suppression or lung disease.
- Avoid contact with people who have influenza-like symptoms.
- Ask people to use a tissue and cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and to wash their hands afterwards.
Play an active role in staying healthy and preventing the spread of influenza - follow the tips above and
- Get an annual flu shot, and encourage your family to do so too.
- If you do get sick, stay home! If you go out, you may spread your illness to co-workers, classmates, neighbors, or others. Wait until you no longer have a fever and your cough is improving.
Distinguishing influenza from the common cold
|Symptom||Seasonal Influenza||Common Cold|
|Fever||Usual high fever (102°F/39°C - 104°F/40°C) sudden onset, lasts 3-4 days||Rare|
|Headache||Usual, can be severe||Rare|
|Aches and pains||Usual, can be severe||Sometimes, mild|
|Debilitating fatigue||Usual, can be severe||Rare|
|Fatigue and weakness||Usual, severe, may last 2-3 weeks||Sometimes, but mild|
|Runny, stuffy nose||Common||Common|
|Chest discomfort||Usual, can be severe||Usual, can become severe|
|Complications||Can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure; can worsen a current chronic condition; can be life threatening||Can lead to sinus congestion or ear-ache|
|Fatalities||Well recognized||Not reported|
|Prevention||Annual influenza vaccine; frequent hand-washing; cover your cough||Frequent hand washing; cover your cough|
Sources: Public Health Agency of Canada and Canadian Medical Association