What is Influenza?


Although colds and other viruses may cause similar symptoms, those due to the influenza virus tend to be worse. You can reduce the risk of catching influenza, or spreading it to others, by washing your hands regularly, eating well and exercising, and getting the influenza vaccine.Influenza is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs caused by an influenza virus. Symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle pain, runny nose, sore throat, extreme tiredness, and cough.

How is Influenza Spread?

Influenza spreads easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing, or having face-to-face contact. The virus can also spread when a person touches tiny droplets from coughs or sneezes on another person or an object, and then touches his or her own mouth or nose before washing his or her hands.

Symptoms can begin about one to four days, or an average of two days, after a person is first exposed to the influenza virus. Fever and other symptoms can usually last 7 to 10 days, with cough and weakness possibly lasting one to two weeks more.

An infected person can spread the influenza virus even before feeling sick. An adult can spread the virus from about one day before to five days after symptoms start. Children can spread the virus up to 21 days after symptoms start.

How Dangerous is Influenza?

The greatest concern from influenza is that it reduces the body’s ability to fight other infections. Bacterial pneumonia (infection of the lungs) is the most common complication from influenza, especially in elderly people. Influenza can also lead to more complications for people who have heart, lung or other health concerns, like our residents at Glacier View Lodge. These complications can sometimes be fatal. Therefore, we must ask that you wash your hands upon entering and exiting the lodge, and if you are sick, you refrain from visiting us until you have been symptom free for at least 48 hours.

Influenza Vaccination

The influenza or flu vaccine is a safe effective way to help people stay healthy, prevent illness, and even save lives.

In BC, the influenza vaccine is provided free for all seniors. Doctors consider seniors to be at high risk of getting very sick from influenza and advise all seniors, and their household contacts and caregivers, to get an influenza vaccine or shot each year.

It is important for seniors and any one who is in contact with Glacier View Lodge residents to get the influenza vaccine before influenza season starts. At Glacier View Lodge the vaccine is available starting in October or early November.

Information taken from the BC Health Files.

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