Flu Season

Central Hastings Family Health Team Flu Shot Clinics

The flu season is approaching and it is generally encouraged that everyone over six months of age should receive a flu vaccination. The flu shot is especially recommended if you are 65 year of age or older.

See clinic dates and times in the News section.

Cold or Flu?

Not sure if you’re coming down with a cold, the flu or just one of those 24-hour “flu” bugs that leaves you feeling nauseated?
Well, first off, that 24-hour bug isn’t the flu at all. If it has kicked you in the gut, you probably have viral gastroenteritis — an infection caused by a variety of viruses that result in vomiting or diarrhea. It is often called the “stomach flu,” even though it’s not caused by any of the influenza viruses.

A cold and the flu share some of the same symptoms. But even a bad cold is pretty mild, compared to a bout with the flu.
Both are caused by viruses and antibiotics are useless against them. You can take things that might ease your symptoms, but there is no cure. Your illness will have to run its course.

A cold usually comes on gradually — over the course of a day or two. Generally, it leaves you feeling tired, sneezing, coughing and plagued by a running nose. You often don’t have a fever, but when you do, it’s only slightly higher than normal. Colds usually last three to four days, but can hang around for 10 days to two weeks.

Flu, on the other hand, comes on suddenly and hits hard. You will feel weak and tired and you could run a fever as high as 40 C. Your muscles and joints will probably ache; you will feel chilled and could have a severe headache and sore throat. Getting off the couch or out of bed will be a chore. The fever may last three to five days, but you could feel weak and tired for two to three weeks.

The following chart illustrates the major differences between cold and flu symptoms:

Signs & symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Occasional Often above 38.5 C for 2-4 days
Headache Frequent, but not severe Prominent and often severe
Aches/pains Slight Often severe
Fatigue/weakness Mild Can last 2-3 weeks
Extreme exhaustion Never Early and prominent
Stuffy nose Common Occasional
Sore throat Common Occasional
Cough Hacking Can be severe
Chest discomfort Mild to moderate Common, can become severe
Onset Gradual (develops over a day or two) Sudden (within a few hours)
Prevention Good hygiene, proper cough etiquette Flu shot, good hygiene, proper cough etiquette

Coughing and Sneezing Etiquette & Hygiene

  1. Turn away from people when about to cough or sneeze.
  2. Always cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing with a disposable tissue. If a tissue is not readily available, then use your sleeve near the elbow or upper arm.
  3. Throw the tissue away immediately.
  4. Wash hands with soap and water or clean hands with alcohol based sanitizers such as wipes or gels.