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Tis the season… for flu outbreaks

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The holiday season is just around the corner. While everyone is busy decorating, shopping and attending social gatherings, there’s another type of festivity taking place. This is the time of year when respiratory viruses have their own blast and the leading socialite among them is the influenza virus. The influenza virus has been around for hundreds of years and makes its appearance every season during the winter months. Although there are 4 types of seasonal influenza viruses (type A, B, C and D), influenza is caused primarily by the influenza A or B virus. Influenza A viruses are classified into subtypes according to the outer covering of the virus: glycoprotein combinations referred to as the hemagglutinin (HA) and the neuraminidase (NA). The influenza B virus instead is broken down into lineages. According to the World Health Organization the subtypes A(H1N1) and A(H3N2) and the influenza type B viruses belonging to B/Yamagata or B/Victoria lineage are currently circulating.

12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths each year

When it comes to infection prevention and control measures for influenza, we need to step it up during the holiday season. These measures require a multi-modal approach. The influenza vaccine for healthcare providers and patients is the most effective way to prevent influenza infection or to limit the shedding of virus if one does get ill. Other measures are also necessary. Health Canada recommends the following core strategies for preventing influenza infection: staff education, staff access to adequate hand hygiene products and sufficient personal protective equipment, appropriate management of symptomatic healthcare providers, implementation of respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, use of spacial separation and droplet and contact precautions for managing symptomatic patients, reinforcement of hand hygiene, and application of appropriate environmental measures.

This holiday season, share the joy with those around you and give the gift of a safe holiday by taking action to prevent the spread of influenza.

How can we help?

Planning ahead, and ordering single-patient products like Aluminum commodes and vomit kits, has proven to be efficient in the recent years in helping control or reduce outbreaks. Also, find out how you can isolate infected respiratory secretions with our new Absorbent Sticks. Together Let’s Protect Life! Body Fluid Management Solutions.