Information for First Nations and Inuit
Protect yourself, your family and your community
The flu (influenza) is a common seasonal infection of the airways and lungs that can spread easily from person to person.
When someone with the flu sneezes or coughs, the virus can travel through the air and you can breathe it in. The virus can also land on surfaces like doorknobs, toys and phones. If you touch something with the flu virus on it and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you can get the flu.
Recognize the symptoms
- cough and fever that comes on quickly (not everyone will have a fever)
- feeling tired
- body aches
- sore throat
- not being hungry
- runny nose
The flu is not a cold. A cold is a mild infection of your nose and throat. A cold might linger, but the symptoms will be mild. Symptoms of a cold include runny nose, sneezing, cough and sore throat. With a cold, you do not usually get a headache, fever, muscle aches or nausea.
Contact your local health care provider right away if you have:
- shortness of breath, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
- chest pain
- sudden dizziness or confusion
- severe or continued vomiting
- high fever lasting more than 3 days
Contact your local health care provider if you are caring for a child who has the flu and:
- is not drinking or eating enough
- is not waking up or interacting with others
- is irritable, not wanting to play or be held
Most people will recover from the flu within a week. But others (like, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions) are more at risk for severe complications. If your symptoms don't get better, see your healthcare provider.
Stopping the flu virus - you can make a difference
You can prevent the spread of the flu in your community by following these tips:
- Get a flu shot (if you can).
- Cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hand.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If hand washing is not possible, use hand sanitizer.
- Keep objects that many people touch clean (like doorknobs and TV remotes).
- If you are sick, stay at home and try to limit contact with others.
- To maintain a strong body, mind and spirit, eat well and be active every day.
- Be a role model for kids and teach them how they can stop the spread of the flu.
In Canada, flu season usually runs from November to April. The flu virus usually changes from year to year, which is why there is a new vaccine each year to protect people. It is important to get a new flu shot every year.
For more information and resources
Advisories and warnings
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