Tips to protect yourself and your family during flu season

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Late fall and winter is usually flu season in Canada. Protect yourself and everyone around you by following these tips especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:

Quick tips on staying healthy during flu season, CBC News

  1. Get vaccinated

    Experts say that the flu shot this flu season is more important than ever during the pandemic. Not only is it possible to get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, distinguishing between these infections can make it hard for doctors to prescribe the right treatment (Flu shot more important than ever during the pandemic, CTV news). Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living (MHSAL) encourages all Manitobans to get their free flu vaccine early fall and every fall. But anytime during winter is fine if you haven’t had it yet. You can consult your health care provider or get it from the local public health office, nursing station, pharmacy (your local pharmacist can provide immunization services to people seven years old and older), ACCESS Centre, or the nearest immunization clinic. For more information about the flu vaccine, go to the MHSAL page on Seasonal Flu.

  2. Wash your hands thoroughly

    Our hands come in contact with various surfaces where viruses and germs can thrive. Then we touch our face, nose or mouth allowing them to get into our system. That’s why it’s best to wash frequently and avoid touching your face. Washing thoroughly means using soap and water and rubbing your fingers, palms, under your nails, the back of your hands and above your wrists for at least 20 seconds. This is about as long as the song ‘Happy Birthday’ sung twice. Rinse thoroughly and dry your hands well. Do this as often as you can throughout the day. When soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based disposable wet wipes or gel sanitizers (but using soap and water is still the best option).

  3. Strengthen your immunity

    Boost your immunity against any kind of sickness by eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep. Make this your habit all year long, not only during the flu season. Aside from vitamin C, there are other nutrients that can do the job like vitamin D, zinc and selenium. Watch the video below to know other foods you can eat to boost your immunity:

    5 foods to keep your immune system strong, CBC

  4. Cough and sneeze into your elbow

    This minimizes the amount of infected particles in the air. You could also cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Make sure to dispose of used tissues immediately and properly.

  5. Use masks

    Surgical or face masks can minimize your exposure to germs especially when you need to be in a crowded place like the mall or in a bus. If you have a cold, cough or flu, this can also prevent you from spreading infection around, especially in your home, school or workplace.

  6. Stay at home

    Consult your doctor if you are not feeling well. Follow doctor’s orders and stay home, rest and take prescribed medications. Avoid all unnecessary travel, even if it’s just to shop for groceries or run a few errands. You wouldn’t want to spread your virus and get other people sick too.

    If you feel that you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, take the online self-assessment or call the Health Links-Info Santé line at 204-788-8200. They will advice you what to do and where to go if you need to get tested. Those experiencing severe symptoms should call 911.

Article updated August 27, 2020.

Sources: Colliers- protecting yourself and others against respiratory illness (pdf); Seasonal flu, Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living; and The benefits of hand washing,

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Community Resources

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, including statistics and public health orders go to the Province of Manitoba-COVID-19 site.

Get the latest news bulletins, health information and other resources from the Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living site.

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