Watch the video above: recognizing the difference between the common cold and the flu
SASKATOON – If there’s a season for sickness, this is it. From the common cold, to influenza, to the H1N1 strain, it may be hard to determine one virus from another. There are a few distinctions between the symptoms according to Karen Grauer, the manager of public health for the Saskatoon Health Region.
“What’s really different with influenza is that it’s a sudden onset. You’re feeling good one day and feeling really sick the next,” said Grauer.
Seasonal influenza also lasts longer than a cold. For six to 10 days you will have symptoms of fatigue, fever, body aches, nausea, chills, dehydration and pain in the stomach or chest. Not all of these symptoms need to be present, but most will be.
“Anybody with a fever, it’s a good idea to take medication to keep the temp down. Drink lots of fluids,” Grauer recommends. If you’re unable to bring your temperature down, seek medical attention.
H1N1 is a strain of seasonal influenza but affects a different demographic according to Provincial Medical Healh Officer Denise Werker.
“The difference with H1N1 is younger persons are more likely to be infected cause they are not immune,” said Werker.
So far in the 2013/14 flu season, there have been six deaths in Saskatchewan; two children, two adults in the 20 – 64 age group and two are seniors, age 65 or older.
There have been 336 lab cases confirmed of the H1N1 strain. During 2009/10, the year of the pandemic, there were 15 deaths in our province.
Officials are not panicking. “We are not in pandemic mode” said Werker. “I want to stress that we see deaths and hospitalizations every year in influenza season.”
But officials do expect infection rates to continue to climb and are recommending the influenza vaccination which will fight the H1N1 strain.
The Saskatoon Health Region is anticipating high demand for the vaccine at its immunization clinic on Saturday, Jan. 11. and has changed the location from West Winds Primary Health Centre to the Therapies Gym in City Hospital.
The region is also offering free parking to people who receive an influenza immunization that day. Extended hours will now run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Just 1,500 doses are reserved for Saturday.
Those who previously made personal immunization appointments for next week will be getting a call from the Saskatoon Health Region, requesting they go to the mass clinic this weekend instead to insure they get the vaccine. The Health Region cannot guarantee the number of doses that will be available next week.