By GREG STAMPER
The leaves are falling and the temperature is dropping which can only mean one thing, flu season is just around the corner.
Influenza, or the flu, is a viral respiratory infection that affects the nose, throat and lungs, similar to the common cold.
The peak time for the flu is November to April and in extreme cases, hospitalization and death can occur amongst high-risk populations. This includes those with medical conditions such as diabetes and cancer, or those with weakened immune systems such as seniors or very young children.
The flu differs from a common cold because of a few distinct symptoms.
It is very common for individuals suffering from the flu to experience high fevers (102° F to 104° F), headaches and extreme exhaustion, while those symptoms are not present during a common cold.
Other symptoms include a dry cough, stuffy or running nose, a sore throat and aches and pains, all of which are usually present for five or more days.
To avoid getting the flu, the Region of Waterloo’s Public Health website urges people to wash their hands frequently with soap and warm running water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, gel or wipes to clean their hands regularly, and most importantly, to get their flu shot.
Shannon Oliu, a registered practical nurse in the Health Services office at Doon campus, said, “(It is important to get a flu shot) because there is so many strains out there, that your immune system can be surprised by them. It is very important to get one especially for the young and the elderly.”
Students, staff and faculty of Conestoga College can get their flu shot for free at the Doon campus on Oct. 22 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Room 3E40, on Oct. 30 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Room 2E04, and on Nov. 4 between 12 and 3 p.m. in Room 2E04.
Clinics for the Cambridge campus will be held Nov. 6 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in Room A2205-9, and at the Waterloo campus on Nov. 12 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in Room 1C02.
At the Guelph campus, a clinic will run on Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room A16.
Although free of charge, you are required to bring your health card to the clinic.