Here is a great resource from Janice Buck the National Coordinator of the Alliance Parish Nurses.
Because the influenza virus is easily spread from one person to another, churches and public gathering places are a good place to catch the virus. We are entering “flu season” so the following information is to assist you in protecting yourself and your families from this highly contagious virus.
The influenza virus spreads mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. People can become infected by touching objects or surfaces with flu viruses on them and then touching their eyes, mouth or nose.
People with the flu may be able to infect others one day before symptoms develop and up to seven days after becoming sick.
That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Children, especially younger children, might be contagious for longer periods.
Resources to assist you:
http://health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/publichealth/flu/tools/assessment/default.aspx (an online assessment tool to help you determine if you have the virus).
Do I have the “flu” or a cold?
|Fever||Rare||Usual; high fever (102 ° F/39 ° C – 104 ° F, 40 ° C), sudden onset, lasts 3 to 4 days.|
|Headache||Rare||Usual; can be severe|
|Muscle aches and pains||Sometimes, generally mild||Usual; often severe|
|Tiredness and weakness||Sometimes, generally mild||Usual; severe, may last up to 2 to 3 weeks|
|Extreme tiredness||Unusual||Usual; early onset, can be severe|
|Runny, stuffy nose||Common||Common|
|Chest discomfort, coughing||Sometimes, mild to moderate||Usual, can become severe.|
|Complications||Can lead to sinus congestion or infection, and ear aches.*||Can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure, and become life-threatening. Can worsen a chronic condition.|
|Prevention||Frequent hand washing||Annual immunization and frequent hand washing|
*Colds do not generally result in serious health problems such as pneumonia or bacterial infections.
NOTE: Children may also experience the croup, ear infections, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea when they have influenza – these symptoms are not common in adults.
If influenza should become pandemic, please refer to the “Pandemic Planning” guidelines found on the CMA website: http://www.cmacan.org/uploads/images/file_download/p47_Parish_Nursing_-_Pandemic_Influenza_Plan.pdf . This document also gives some suggestions as to how to care for those in our congregations and communities who do become ill.
For further information on immunization and local clinics in your area, please contact your local public health unit. Protect yourself and others. Remember the very young, the elderly and the immunocompromised are at highest risk for contracting the virus.