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Coping with winter illnesses: the flu

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How to cope with the flu as a caregiver?

The flu! Every year, as the temperature drops, you have to think about two things: taking care of yourself and the person you are caring for. Here are a few practical and simple tips.

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Flu vaccination

The best way to prevent the flu is to be vaccinated. In general, the principle of vaccination is to avoid complications related to the virus and to protect those around you. As a caregiver, you will want to protect both yourself and the person you are caring for.

The annual anti-influenza campaign kicks off at the beginning of November each year. The vaccine is administered intranasally or by injection.

The vaccination is available free of charge for:

  • caregivers, when they are assisting a person at high risk for hospitalization or death;
  • persons who are at high risk of developing complications;
  • healthy children aged 6 to 23 months;
  • healthy people aged 60 to 74 years;
  • people 75 years of age and older;
  • adults with certain chronic health conditions;

Check your eligibility for a free vaccine.

Online. Select the “Flu (Influenza) Vaccine” service. You will then be able to choose your appointment at a pharmacy near you or at a healthcare facility. You can access the booking portal before November 1;

  • By phone at 1 877 644‑4545.

Preventive measures

We can reduce the risk of contracting the virus by:

  • avoiding touching your face;
  • washing your hands regularly, especially if you have been in contact with someone who has the flu, or after visiting public places such as public transportation, libraries or restaurants;
  • avoiding contact with people you know who have the flu. People with the flu are contagious 24 hours before the first symptoms and up to 7 days after the onset of flu symptoms

Think you have the flu?

Flu symptoms come on suddenly and are usually more intense than those of the common cold. People with the flu may experience:

  • high fever;
  • a cough;
  • sore throat;
  • muscle or joint pain;
  • extreme fatigue;
  • headaches.

Seniors may experience weakness and mild confusion without other symptoms. They are at greater risk of developing complications from the flu and are also more prone to dehydration. It is therefore recommended that they drink plenty of fluids frequently during the flu episode.

When to see a doctor?

Resting at home, drinking plenty of fluids and managing your symptoms is usually enough to treat the flu. However, you should see a doctor immediately if you or the person you are caring for has breathing pain or a fever that increases or lasts for more than five days.

If you have the flu yourself, stay home to take care of yourself and try to find someone who can take over your duties as a caregiver.

Other complications are also possible, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis and ear infections. Monitor your condition and that of the person you are caring for and the evolution of symptoms throughout the illness and in the days that follow. When in doubt, contact the Info-Santé line at 811 to speak to a nurse.

When to go to the emergency room?

Go to the emergency room immediately or call 911 if you or the person you are caring for has:

  • difficulty breathing;
  • severe head or chest pain
  • difficulty staying awake
  • confusion or disorientation
  • seizures;
  • no urination for 12 hours and intense thirst.


Need to talk?

Contact our Caregiver Support Helpline for counselling, information et referrals.

Every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Free of charge.

call  Caregiver info :  1 855 852-7784