Pharmalife Pharmacy

Capilano Mall

60-935 Marine Dr,

North Vancouver,B.C

V7P 1S3

 

Call

T: 778-340-1800

F: 778-340-1888 

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Cold and Flu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flu Facts:

The flu is a respiratory (i.e., nose, throat, and lung) infection that can be caused by a variety of influenza viruses. Many people use the word flu when they actually have a cold. Although the common cold is also caused by viruses, the flu and common cold differ in several ways.

In Canada, flu typically strikes from mid-October to the end of April. Most people who get the flu will recover within 1 or 2 weeks, but some people develop complications such as pneumonia. Many people die each year in North America from complications of influenza. Most of these people have other medical conditions, are elderly, or are very young children.

Pharmalife Pharmacy is licensed to administer the flu shot and so many other vaccines.

 

Our Pharmacists at Pharmalife Pharmacy are able to recommend and provide vaccinations. 

To provide these injection services, Pharmalife Pharmacists take part in a certification process that includes; training, live workshops, first aid and CPR training, as well as education to provide specialized knowledge of vaccine storage requirements for both refrigerated and frozen vaccines.

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Here's a quick guide to help you tell the symptoms of the flu from the symptoms of a bad cold:

Symptom                                                      Flu (influenza)                                                                                   Cold

Fever                                Usually present, high (39°C to 40°C or 102°F to 104°F);

                                                                        sudden onset; lasts 3 to 4 days                                              Uncommon

Headache                                                      Very common, can be severe                                                  Uncommon

Aches and pains                                           Common and often severe                                                      Mild

Fatigue and weakness                                 Can last up to 14 to 21 days                                                    Mild

Extreme exhaustion                                     Very common at the start                                                        Never

Stuffy nose                                                     Common                                                                                    Common

Sneezing                                                         Sometimes                                                                                 Common

Sore throat                                                     Common                                                                                    Common

Chest discomfort, cough                              Common, can be severe                                                         Mild to moderate,                                                                                                                                                                                hacking cough

 

For most people, the flu will last 1 or 2 weeks, but can last for up to one month. The main complications of flu are bacterial infections of the sinuses (sinusitis) or lungs (pneumonia). Symptoms associated with these complications include fever, chills, and yellow, green, or brown sputum or nasal discharge. Children are prone to ear infections like otitis media.

People in nursing homes are at an increased risk of complications from flu because they may have weak immune systems and often have other medical problems that put them at a higher risk. People with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, angina, or congestive heart failure are also at a higher risk of developing bacterial infections like pneumonia.

In American studies, influenza hospitalization rates for children under 5 years of age were second only to the rate in people over 65 years of age. School-aged children have the highest infection rates of all both during and between epidemics, and are particularly likely to be infected early in the season. Households with school-aged children have infection rates 30% above the norm. It is important to help prevent the flu in children by getting each child over 6 months old vaccinated each year.

 

 

 

Is the flu contagious?

 

The flu is contagious.Viruses that cause the flu (influenza) spread from person to person mainly by airborne droplets of respiratory fluids that are sent through the air when someone infected with the virus coughs or sneezes. Other people can inhale the airborne virus and become infected. In some cases, the flu can be spread when someone touches a surface (e.g., doorknobs, counter-tops, telephones) with the virus on it and then touches his or her nose, mouth, or eyes. The flu is most easily spread in crowded conditions such as schools.

There are 3 families of influenza virus: A, B, and C. Type B and C influenza virus are found almost always found in humans. Type C virus causes mild symptoms only and has not been associated with epidemic outbreaks. Type B can occur in epidemics. However, both types rarely cause serious disease.

Type A influenza poses the most serious problems for humans.Strains of this type have been found in birds, humans, horses, pigs, seals, whales, and ferrets. Viruses that affect 2 different species sometimes combine, mixing and matching genetic information, to create a new strain against which nobody is immune and for which no vaccine has been prepared. There are an infinite number of possible new varieties of type A influenza. Sub-types of influenza A virus have caused pandemics in the past.

Flu takes 1 to 3 days to incubate in humans, but infected people become contagious before symptoms appear, often just 24 hours after the virus enters the body. Adults remain infectious (can spread the virus to others) for up to 5 days, and children remain infectious for up to 7 days.

 

Should I get a seasonal flu shot?

You may be thinking about getting vaccinated against the flu this year. Considering that 10% to 20% of Canadians will be affected by the influenza virus each year, that's not a bad idea.

Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization advises all Canadians over age 6 months to get a flu shot. That's because vaccination is one of the most effective preventive measures you could take. And with the "shot in the arm" that a vaccine can give, you're less likely to be one of the 12,200 hospitalizations or 3,500 deaths blamed on the flu each year.

Still, you may be unsure. Perhaps answers to a few questions might make your decision easier:

Should I be vaccinated against the seasonal flu this year?

 

Probably yes - except for those 6 months of age or younger or if you have had severe reactions to the vaccination in the past. If neither of those applies to you, you should definitely be vaccinated if you fall into particular risk categories:

  • young children between 6 months and 5 years of age

  • people who are 65 or older

  • pregnant women

  • anyone with chronic diseases such as heart or lung disease (e.g., asthma or COPD), kidney disease, diabetes or other metabolic disorder, anemia, cancer, or HIV or other immune-suppression diseases

  • children and adolescents (6 months to 18 years old) who require chronic ASA therapy or with neurological conditions such as seizure disorders

  • people who live in a nursing home or care facility

  • people at high risk of complications who travel to areas where flu virus is circulating

  • people who are morbidly obese (BMI of 40 or greater)

  • Aboriginal peoples

  • people who have direct contact during culling operations involving poultry infected with avian influenza

  • people who are capable of transmitting the virus to those at high risk, such as health care providers, caregivers, and childcare providers.

  • people who provide essential services to the community such as police officers

The injectable flu shot (but not the nasal spray) has been shown to be safe for many people with egg allergies. Your doctor will need to assess whether you should have a flu shot if you are allergic to eggs. Be sure to tell your health care provider about this and any other allergies you may have before you are given your flu shot.

Does the seasonal flu vaccine really work?

 About 70% to 90% of healthy people who get a flu shot will be protected from the virus. Those who still get the flu usually get milder symptoms. After being injected with the vaccine, it can take a couple of weeks to take effect. If you catch a flu virus in that wait period you won't be protected.

When should I get vaccinated? 

You could get a flu shot at any time during flu season between November and April. But because of the time needed for the vaccine to take effect, you should get the vaccination early before the peak infection time. Ask your health care provider when is the best time for you to get the seasonal flu shot.

How much will I have to pay for a seasonal flu shot?

All provinces and territories except for British Columbia, Quebec, and New Brunswick offer all their residents aged 6 months or older free vaccines. However, for those 3 provinces, people who are at high risk of getting complications from the flu may be able to get the vaccine for free. Check with your doctor to determine whether you are eligible for a free flu shot. In most doctors' offices and clinics, flu shots will cost about $10 to $15.

Is there any risk involved in getting a seasonal flu shot? The benefits of prevention outweigh the risks with a flu shot. Rarely, people will experience allergic reaction. More often, they will experience no side effects or perhaps soreness, redness, or swelling at the spot where the shot was given. Contrary to myth, a flu shot cannot cause the flu, since it never contains any live virus.

Will I need to be vaccinated again? 

Flu shot requirements change every year as new strains of influenza virus emerge. More than 100 influenza centres are involved in over 100 countries to help the World Health Organization make recommendations to different countries. Then each country makes their own decisions about which viruses to include in the vaccine. To help protect yourself against new flu strains, it is important to get re-vaccinated every year.

 

 

 

Stocking up on supplies to get you through cold and flu season?

Here are the top 10 items to buy:

  1. Pain and fever reliever

    • On the label, look for acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or acetylsalicylic acid (do not give acetylsalicylic acid, also called ASA or Aspirin®, to children 18 and under).

  2. Congestion or sinus pain reliever

    • On the label, look for pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, or phenylephrine (for tablets and liquid) or phenylephrine, naphazoline, oxymetazoline, or xylometazoline (for nasal sprays).

  3. Chest congestion reliever/mucus control

    • On the label, look for guaifenesin.

  4. Relief for runny nose, sneezing or itchy watery eyes

    • On the label, look for diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine, brompheniramine, dexbrompheniramine, diphenylpyraline, doxylamine, or pheniramine.

  5. Dry cough reliever

    • On the label, look for dextromethorphan or codeine.

  6. Sore throat relievers (lozenges or sprays)

    • On the label, look for cetylpyridinium chloride, dequalinium chloride, domiphen bromide, benzocaine, phenol, hexylresorcinol, or menthol.

  7. Hand sanitizer

  8. Tissues

  9. Thermometer

  10. Heating pad (for muscle aches)

And remember these savvy shopping tips:

Choose the right cold and flu products: Don't overmedicate! Choose products that treat only the symptoms you have, and none that you don't.

Select the right hand sanitizer: Choose a product with at least 60% alcohol. To get the most out of the product:

  • Clean all surfaces of your hands, including the backs of your hands, fingertips, and between fingers.

  • Keep rubbing until the hand sanitizer is dry.

Keep tissues handy:

  • Buy 2 sizes: large boxes to keep at home (have one in every room that you use often), and travel-size packs to take with you (keep one in your pocket, bag, or purse).

  • Buy plenty - you'll need to throw tissues away right after you use them.

Find the right thermometer: Ask your pharmacist to help you choose an appropriate thermometer. There are 3 ways to measure temperature:

  • Under the armpit is best for infants and children up to 2 years old.

  • In the ear is best for children 2 to 5 years old.

  • By mouth is best for children older than 5 and adults.

Bring this list to your pharmacy to get prepared for cold and flu season!

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