The back-to-school period and the flu

Students young and old have now returned to their school desks. What measures should they be taking with regards to the Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic?

Students young and old have now returned to their school desks. What measures should they be taking with regards to the Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic?

Since this “new” virus is transmitted the same way as the traditional flu, the same preventive measures apply: thorough and frequent hand washing (with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand disinfectant), vaccination, and most importantly, isolating contaminated individuals. The Ministère de la Santé will soon be releasing the guidelines and target groups for the free vaccination campaign against Influenza A (H1N1).

Cold or flu? In order to avoid needlessly confining individuals at home when they are in fact only suffering from a cold, it is important to know the difference between the symptoms of a cold and those of the flu.

Flu symptoms:

Common: Fever (38° to 40°C, sudden onset), headaches, muscle aches and soreness, intense fatigue, nausea/vomiting (particularly in children under the age of 6), chest pain, cough

Rare: Nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat

Cold symptoms:

Common: Nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough (usually mild to moderate)

Rare: Fever, headaches, muscle aches and soreness, fatigue, nausea/vomiting

How long should a person with the flu stay home? There is a risk of contagion for 7 days after the onset of the first symptoms, but the risk is highest in the first 3 to 4 days. If you or your child are sick, you should stay home for about a week.

Could a mask help protect me? There is currently no evidence that a mask helps protect against Influenza A (H1N1), as this measure has not proven 100 % effective against preventing the transmission of the virus. Those that are ill may wear one, in an effort to reduce the risk that they will contaminate others.

Feeling sick and not sure whether you should see a doctor? Wondering how you can relieve your symptoms? Speak to your pharmacist or call Info-Santé by dialling 811.

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