What’s New with Flu?
The Post-pandemic Phase
The virus which caused the influenza pandemic in 2009, Influenza A H1N1, continues to circulate along with other flu viruses during the regular influenza season. We are now in what is called the Post Pandemic phase, according to the World Health Organization. The H1N1 virus is now included in the seasonal flu vaccine which you need to get every fall.
It is important to remember that a new flu virus can appear at any time and cause another pandemic. CBS maintains its vigilance and monitors flu activity very closely throughout the year. We also make sure our pandemic preparedness plans are kept up to date so that we can respond as effectively as we did during the 2009 pandemic. Although a flu pandemic can have a major impact on the blood supply in terms of staff absenteeism and donors unable to donate due to illness, regular flu season can also affect our ability to supply sufficient quatities of blood to our patients.
Giving and receiving blood is safe. You cannot get the flu from either donating blood or getting a blood transfusion. Flu and other respiratory viruses are spread by direct contact with someone who is sick, or through coughing and sneezing. If you are feeling sick, however and feel you may be coming down with the flu – muscle aches, and fever, please do not come in to donate. Influenza spreads easily from person to person so we ask donors and our staff to stay home when they are sick.
Donated blood is needed to save lives every day. Attending blood donor clinics should remain a priority for all of us who are healthy, including donors who have completely recovered from the flu.
How can you protect yourself and your family from the flu?
There are some simple, common-sense ways that you can help fight the spread of infection and illness, including influenza.
- Get a flu shot
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot. Note: You must wait 48 hours after your flu shot to donate blood or blood products.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly
Washing your hands frequently with soap (it does not need to be antibacterial soap) and water will help protect you from all sorts of germs and viruses. Wash immediately after any cough or sneeze or after touching common surfaces that may be contaminated.
- Avoid close contact with the ill
Avoid close contact with people who are sick and when you are sick. Keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Stay home when you are sick
If possible, stay home from work or school, and do not run errands when you are sick. Drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest. You will feel better faster and you will help prevent others from catching your illness.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, throw away the tissue…then wash your hands!
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
Sources: Health Canada-It's your health, Centers for Disease Control
For further information on influenza and how to protect yourself and your family, visit fightflu.ca on the Public Health Agency of Canada website.
For more information, please read the Canadian Blood Services information brochure: Preparing for the Flu: Information for You and Your Family.
Donor Eligibility and Self-Check: To determine if you are healthy enough to donate today, please take our donor self-check. People who may be experiencing flu-like symptoms are encouraged to take this self-check. If you have questions about your eligibility to donate for this or other reasons, please call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).
To book an appointment to donate, get clinic details, or ask about your eligibility to donate, please call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) today!
For more information: Please visit our Contact Us page for a listing of contact details.