Influenza (The Flu)

The Flu is caused by the influenza virus and can be passed from person to person. The Flu is more common in winter. People often confuse with the flu with a cold, but the flu is usually more severe. Symptoms usually come on faster than with a cold.

The flu can last up to 10 days. It can be dangerous for babies, Elders, and people with chronic health conditions.

Symptoms of the flu 

A person with the flu sometimes feels very sick. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Shivering and chills
  • Body aches and muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue and weakness

Preventing the flu

Flu Vaccines: An annual flu shot is the best way to reduce your risks and make sure you don't get the flu. Nunavut communities offer free flu shots at the start of flu season. Visit FluNu ( to learn about the program in your community.

All people, except babies less than 6 months old, can get a flu shot each fall. The flu shot is recommended and is safe for Elders over 65 years old, infants older than 6 months old and people with lung disease, heart disease, or diabetes.

Other ways to reduce the risk:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Help your body resist infection—eat a healthy diet , get lots of rest, and exercise regularly.
  • Keep your hands away from your mouth, eyes and nose.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue if you have one, And then throw it away. Use your elbow or upper sleeve if you don't have a tissue.
  • Cut back or stop smoking. Stay away from second-hand smoke when possible.

Treating flu

  • Get extra rest
  • Drink lots of fluids—water (hot or cold), tea, broth and soups.
  • Use disposable tissues.
  • If needed, take over-over-the-counter cold medication to help with symptoms. Always follow the instructions. Pills can have a side effects, especially when too much is used.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone under 20 years old. It is linked to Reye Syndrome,  a serious illness that affects the liver and brain.

Usually, the flu goes away without medical treatment. If the flu lasts more than two weeks, visit the health centre.