Safety Tips For Cold & Flu Season
As the colours change and we head into fall, we also unfortunately enter into the cold & flu season. Due to COVID-19 this year, it’s even more important that we do as much as possible to protect ourselves and those close to us from illness. The flu is highly contagious and leads to thousands of hospitalizations each year – including thousands of deaths within Canada alone. Education is key of course, and we’re here to provide some insight about the cold and flu season to help keep you healthy all winter long.
What’s the difference between a cold and the flu?
Both the common cold and the flu are respiratory illnesses and can present similar symptoms, but are caused by different viruses. The flu is considered more dangerous than the common cold, as it can lead to more health issues, especially for children, seniors, and those with a pre-existing condition.
When does the cold and flu season actually start, and why does it happen in the first place?
Flu season in Canada generally begins in October and can last as late as April or May. This is because the viruses live longer in cooler, less humid environments and we all begin spending more time indoors. As the days are shorter and we spend more time inside, our lack of daily sun leads to low levels of Vitamin D, and we interact more closely with people in a closed environment.
How do germs spread?
Viruses can be spread through direct contact (ie.handshake), airborne transmission, or from unclean surfaces. If you come into contact with an individual that is currently sick and contagious, droplets from a cough or sneeze can travel up to 2 meters and the germs can also be left on surfaces around you. If you currently have kids in school, be sure to teach them about how they can do their best to stay healthy at school, and help stop the spread. Be sure to sanitize items they use daily such as toys and pencils, as well as door handles and light switches around the house.
Symptoms of the flu or a cold
Symptoms range from each person and virus, and may include:
Does medical cannabis have an effect on colds and flus?
There is not currently any evidence that medical cannabis can help combat a cold or flu. Be sure to be aware of what prescriptions or drugs you’re currently taking when under the weather – like any drug, CBD can have interactions with other medications.
We always recommend consulting with a medical cannabis doctor before beginning to use cannabis to treat any symptoms.
Potential symptom relief with cannabis for cold & flus:
How can I prevent getting a cold or flu in the first place?
Some suggestions are:
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) when a sink is unavailable.
Try to avoid frequently touched objects in public places
Wipe down / sanitize the most commonly touched surfaces in your home
Make sure you are getting your necessary vitamins & proper sleep
Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing
An annual flu shot
Avoid touching your face
Don’t share eating or drinking utensils
Use paper towels or an air dryer, and use the paper towel to open the bathroom door
What vitamins are best to take to help prevent colds and flus?
Both nutrient-dense, and high in antioxidants foods are especially important this time of year, such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and seeds. Supplemental vitamins and minerals can also play a huge role in keeping your body strong enough to fight off a virus.
How do flu shots work? Should I get one?
According to the CDC, the best way to prevent getting the flu is to get vaccinated yearly. This season flu vaccine helps protect against influenza and is recreated each year to help your body best fight which strains are most likely to break out. You can get your free flu shot at most pharmacies and some public health units all across Canada. Any child 4 years or younger should be receiving it from a doctor or nurse practitioner. A flu vaccine helps to create antibodies in your body around 2 weeks after you receive the shot, which helps fight against infection even if exposed. Vaccination is generally recommended in early fall in order to allow your body to create antibodies before flu season begins.
What do I do if I get sick?
If you feel yourself feeling under the weather, it is best to call into work and stay home for both your health and others around you. You can ask your doctor about over the counter medications that can best help your symptoms, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest. As many doctors have now introduced virtual appointments, you can look into booking one to not have to go to their office in-person. If you would like to speak with one of our physicians or nurses, feel free to call or email us for a free virtual appointment at Booking@apolloresearch.ca or at 877-560-9195.