Monday, 30 October 2017 04:47

The battle with defending southwest Sask. against cold and flu season in full swing

Written by  Andrea Carol
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Cypress Health Region Medical Health Officer Dr. David Torr receives his flu shot from registered nurse Sharla Lemieux during the health region's first influenza clinic of the season at the Swift Current Mall, Oct. 23. Cypress Health Region Medical Health Officer Dr. David Torr receives his flu shot from registered nurse Sharla Lemieux during the health region's first influenza clinic of the season at the Swift Current Mall, Oct. 23. Matthew Liebenberg

It’s that time of year again! Sniffling noses, coughs, sore throats, watery eyes, aches and pains and lots of tissue is the theme of the season. Boxes of tissue may be the most sought-after product on store shelves with the onslaught of cold and flu season. So, what can we do about it?


Most people assume the common cold is a virus. It is actually a specific set of symptoms that occur when you have a viral infection of the nose and throat. These symptoms include congestion, runny nose, fatigue and watery eyes. Interestingly, most people don’t know the difference between the common cold and the flu. Colds and flus are alike in many ways, but they are vastly different.
“The common cold, unfortunately, is a virus, so taking antibiotics for that do not help. The best thing to do if you feel a cold coming on is to try to increase your immune system with things like Vitamin C, Zinc or over the counter products. When you have a full-blown cold it’s basically a matter of taking care of yourself. Cold medications do not get rid of a cold, they merely treat the symptoms of it until the cold runs itself out. If a person has any other medical condition or takes any other herbs or medications, they should double check with the pharmacist before taking any over the counter product,” Darlis Pogany, B.S.P., local pharmacist explains.
So how does the flu differ from a cold?
“If a person has more flu like symptoms, we can see body aches and pains with the flu. The flu is a separate entity from the cold but may present in a similar fashion initially. But we tend to associate body aches and pain and fever with the flu. Although having said that, I’ve had patients who have coughed so hard with their cold that they may get pulled muscles just from coughing so much,” Pogany said.
While home remedies have sometimes proven useful in easing the symptoms of the cold and flu, a healthcare professional should be contacted for serious illnesses. According to a recent Facebook poll, many people use home remedies to treat cold symptoms. The most common home remedy recommendation is drinking hot water with lemon and honey and a healthy dose of Vitamin C.
The Cypress Health Region has various flu clinics over the next month. Brad Boutilier, Manager, Communications of the Cypress Health Region released a statement.
“We will be offering close to 40 public clinics between October 23 and November 24 and encourage all residents to receive their flu shot. Your influenza immunization is the best way to protect yourself and those around you from influenza.  Flu shots are particularly important for people at high-risk of influenza complications including seniors, children, people with underlying health conditions and pregnant women. Receiving your flu shot as early in the season as possible is important to allow antibodies to develop and provide protection. Immunization is free of charge to all Saskatchewan residents – please bring your Saskatchewan Health Card with you,” Boutilier explained. “In addition to getting immunized, you can help prevent the spread of influenza by staying home when you are ill, using good hand hygiene including frequent hand washing with soap and warm water, coughing or sneezing into your sleeve or the crook of your elbow and regularly cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces”.
For clinic dates, times and locations and more information on influenza please visit cypresshealth.ca/influenza.

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