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Facts and Myths
        What is Influenza?
• Illness caused by viruses
• Commonly called the “flu”
• Infection of the nose, throat and lungs
• Seasonal, Regular influenza – the disease
  that occurs annually in Canada mainly
  from December-March
• Seasonal influenza tends to be a more
  serious illness in seniors, very young
  children and those with chronic illnesses
  H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu)

• New strain of pandemic influenza
• Pandemic – means the virus spreads easily
  between humans and affects a wide geographic
• Most people have no natural immunity to it
• Those born before 1957 do seem to have some
• Affecting more young and healthy people than
  the regular seasonal flu
               Influenza is Not
SYMPTOMS         COLD               STOMACH ‘FLU’
Fever            Rare               Sometimes
Headache         Rare               Rare
Aches/Pains      Sometimes mild     Rare
Fatigue          Sometimes mild     Common
Vomiting and     Rare               Usual and also
diarrhea                            nausea
Sore throat      Common             Rare
Coughing         Mild to moderate   Rare
Runny nose       Common             Rare
   Influenza: Seasonal and H1N1
SYMPTOMS       Seasonal Flu   H1N1 Flu
Fever          Usual (39-40 C) Usual
Cough          Usual          Usual
Weakness       Common         Common
Muscle Aches   Common         Common
Headache       Common         Common
Sore Throat    Sometimes      Common
Runny nose     Sometimes      Common
Vomiting and   Uncommon       Sometimes
Is Influenza a Serious Illness?
• Each year in BC hundreds of people die
  from seasonal influenza or complications
• Seasonal influenza can be a more serious
  disease in those > 65 yrs and those with
  chronic illnesses
• H1N1 influenza so far has been mainly a
  mild to moderate disease in BC
• H1N1 influenza can be more serious in
  pregnant women, young children and
  those with underlying chronic illnesses
     Deaths due to Influenza
           Regular Flu   H1N1 Flu
           (Annually)    (April –
BC         400-800       8

Canada     7,000-8,000   80 (majority in
                         Ont. and Que.)
   How is Influenza Spread?
• Infected person coughs or sneezes
  – Virus enters nose, eyes or throat
• Virus can also rest on hard surfaces (can
  infect a person for up to 2-8 hrs.)
  – Person touches surface and then face
• You cannot catch H1N1 by eating pork
• You cannot catch H1N1 through a blood
How Long is Someone Infectious?
• Seasonal Flu
  – One day before onset of symptoms to five days after
    symptoms start
• H1N1
  – One day before onset of symptoms to seven days
    after symptoms start

• Time from contact with illness to
  experiencing symptoms (incubation period)
  – Seasonal: 1-4 days
  – H1N1: 2-7 days
• Stay home when sick with influenza like
  illness until symptom free and feeling well
• Cough and sneeze into disposable tissue
  or into your sleeve or elbow
• Wash your hands thoroughly and often
  with soap and water or if unavailable use
  alcohol based (60-90%) hand sanitizer
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
• Do not share drinks, eating utensils,
 Should I wear a surgical mask?
• Not recommended for the general public
  – People often use masks incorrectly
  – People may contaminate themselves when
    putting masks on or taking them off

• Exception: people who are ill with H1N1
  flu virus or people exhibiting flu-like
  symptoms who need to protect others they
  have to get close to
           What to do if you think
             you have the flu?
•   Contact a physician if very ill
•   Drink lots of fluids
•   Get plenty of rest
•   For fever, sore throat and muscle aches, you
    can use fever-reducing medicines as
    recommended by your doctor
•   Keep clean tissues and trash bag close
•   Wash your hands frequently
•   Stay in your own room away from well family
    members as much as possible
•   Most people recover completely in 1-2 wks
 Caring for an ill family member
• Stay 2 metres (6 feet) from ill person
• For closer contact have ill person wear
  surgical mask or if not tolerated then the
  caregiver should wear a surgical mask
• Clean phone and other surfaces touched
  by ill person with bleach-based cleaner
• Keep sick person’s belongings separate;
  should have own towel, face cloth etc.
• Wash dishes, dirty laundry etc. as soon as
  removed from room with hot water/soap
• Line garbage bin with plastic bag
Be on Alert for Complications
• Take ill person’s temperature daily

When to contact health care provider:
• If person starts to feel better but then fever
• Other new symptoms arise after person
  was feeling better
• Person has difficulty breathing
       Will Schools Close?
• The Public Health Agency of
  Canada does not recommend widespread
  closure of schools
• Benefits of keeping schools open currently
  outweighs risk of transmission of influenza
• Local decision makers might determine
  that closure of a particular school is
  necessary because widespread illness
  and absenteeism impacts safety of school
         Antivirals for H1N1
• Medications to treat viral infections – can reduce
  symptoms, shorten length of illness and
  potentially reduce serious complications
• Recommended for moderate to severe illness
• Physician or nurse practitioner prescription;
  obtain from local pharmacy
• Should take within 48 hours of getting sick
• Not recommended for mild illness or to prevent
• Tamiflu (oseltamivur)
• Relenza (Zanamivir)
         Influenza Vaccine
• Definition – a preparation which
  stimulates the body to produce antibodies
  against the flu virus(es)
• Not a live vaccine; cannot cause influenza
• Takes about 2 weeks for immunity to build
• Seasonal – 3 different strains of influenza
  included (changes from year to year);
  does not include H1N1 this year
• H1N1 – 1 strain of influenza
 Vaccine Schedule in Fraser Health

• October 15 - November 15, 2009
  – Regular flu vaccine for adults 65 yrs. + only
• November 15 - December 30, 2009
  – H1N1 vaccine for anyone who wants it
  – Free vaccine which will be offered at a variety
    of clinic locations and some doctor’s offices
• January and February, 2010
  – Regular flu vaccine for those < 65 yrs. who
    are eligible (meet certain criteria) and wish to
    have the vaccine
 I have never had influenza do I
    need to get the vaccine?
• No one is immune from influenza viruses

• Most people get sick from influenza
  several times over their lifetime

• Most people (except those born before
  1957) do not have any immunity to H1N1
      Should Pregnant Women
        Get the Flu Vaccine
• Yes, they are at higher risk for severe H1N1
  disease especially in the last 6 months of
  pregnancy and first 4 weeks after baby born
• These women should be promptly assessed by
  a physician if experiencing influenza symptoms
• Antivirals are safe for these women who develop
  influenza like symptoms
• Recommended that women continue to
  breastfeed if taking antivirals
 UFV Student Considerations
• If you suspect you have influenza stay
  home for 7 days or until symptom free for
  at least one day
• Inform instructor(s) if you (or a family
  member) are ill with influenza symptoms
  and will miss class, an exam or a deadline
• Make arrangements with instructor(s) for
  procuring class materials while absent
• Watch for updates at
• Make sure you are using credible
  information to make decisions for yourself
  and your family
• – Public Health Agency of
  Canada – frequently asked questions
• – schedule for H1N1
  vaccine clinics in your community
• - travel notices and
  advisories for those wishing to travel
• Call “811” to talk to a nurse
   This Presentation Based On
        Information From:
• Public Health Agency of Canada

• BC Ministry of Health

• Fraser Health

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