What is the difference between Seasonal Influenza and the 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
||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:
- Children; especially those less than two years old
- Pregnant women
- The elderly
- 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):
- 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.
- Only touch your face after you have washed your hands with soap and water or used a hand sanitizer with alcohol in it.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your arm or a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Stay home and rest when you are sick to minimize the spread of the virus.
- 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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