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The Palliser Primary Care Network supports two Family Medicine Maternity Clinics, one in Medicine Hat and one in Brooks.

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What is the difference between Seasonal Influenza and the Common Cold?

  Seasonal Influenza Common Cold
What is it? Common, highly contagious and infectious respiratory virus. Caused by Influenza A or Influenza B virus. Infection of the upper respiratory tract, like the nose and throat; caused by a variety of viruses.
  Virus changes rapidly, which is why a new vaccine is needed every year to protect agains new strains. Not caused by the Influenza virus, but by many other viruses, most commonly the Rhinovirus
Symptoms Almost always: sudden onset of fever and cough. Runny nose, sneezing, cough, sore throat.
  Common: Fatigue, muscle aches, headache, decreased appetite, involves whole body. Symptoms typically remain mild.
  Sometimes: Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.  

People more at risk of developing complications if they get sick with the flu include:

  1. Children; especially those less than two years old
  2. Pregnant women
  3. The elderly
  4. People with chronic health conditions such as: heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, blood disorders, diabetes, severe obesity, asthma, chronic lung disease and the immunosuppressed.

How to prevent Influenza (flu):

  1. Get the Influenza vaccine to help protect against Influenza A and B viruses. Alberta's 2015 flu immunizations will start October 20, 2015. Contact your PCN nurse or physician to discuss the flu clinic nearest you.
  2. Only touch your face after you have washed your hands with soap and water or used a hand sanitizer with alcohol in it.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose with your arm or a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  4. Stay home and rest when you are sick to minimize the spread of the virus.
  5. Live a healthy lifestyle by staying active and eating a healthy diet.

Submitted by Heather Fournier, a Registered Nurse working in the South Shore Medical Clinic at Brooks, AB.

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