The flu spreads through droplets that are spread by people infected with the flu. These droplets are spread through coughing, sneezing or even talking. Sneezes can send germs flying as far as six feet. The flu is also spread by direct contact with objects and surfaces that have come in contact with flu germs, e.g., toys, eating utensils, drinking glasses, and most importantly, unwashed hands. Flu germs can live on surfaces for 2-8 days. The flu spreads very quickly from person to person because during the months when flu is circulating in the community, people tend to spend more time indoors, in closer proximity to other people.
Remember that people may be contagious BEFORE they know they have the flu and AFTER their symptoms have gone. People may be contagious for a few days before symptoms begin and for 5-7 days after becoming sick.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the best way to prevent the flu is to have a flu vaccination each year, in the late fall. Since the virus causing the flu changes from year to year, the flu vaccine you received last year may not protect you this year. Flu vaccinations will be offered at Shoppers Drug Mart stores in the fall in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island. Our Pharmacists will be administering the flu shots to people aged 5 and above (9 and above in Saskatchewan; 7 and above in Manitoba).