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Battling the cold and flu season

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

November 8, 2010 — As temperatures drop and snow begins to blanket the ground, more and more Canadians are starting to feel a little under the weather.

Pharmacists recommend throwing out any expired medications from past flu seasons
Pharmacists recommend throwing out any expired medications from past flu seasons

Rain, snow and cooler temperatures aren't the only signs that winter is near. The sound of coughs and stuffy noses means that the cold and flu season is just beginning.

An estimated three to eight million Canadians are infected with the flu each year. While those numbers are high, Vancouverites are trying not to think about the sneezing season.

“Oh gosh, I haven't even thought about it [the flu season],” says one resident we caught up with in Vancouver. “I don't usually have a problem with it,” says another optimistic resident.

But optimistic or not, health officials say there's a reason to plan ahead.

“Preparation is definitely the key to getting ready for the cold and flu season,” says Michael Lam, a Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist in Vancouver. “Washing your hands with warm, soapy water as frequently as possible. If running water isn't available, then an alcohol based sanitizer is good.”

Lam adds that simple things like getting enough sleep and drinking sufficient amounts of water is crucial to help and boost your immune system as well.

Rainfall totals expected through Tuesday
Rainfall totals expected through Tuesday

Spending more time inside when the temperatures are cooler helps to spread germs quickly. Wet weather is another reason for people to avoid the outdoors. And some rain is set to move into the west coast this week.

“A weak system will bring some rain to Vancouver on Tuesday,” says Michelle Cassar, a meteorologist here at The Weather Network. “Anywhere from 10 to 20 mm of rain is expected.”

Temperatures will also be sitting in the low single digits for the next few days. So if you plan to stay indoors to avoid the stormy conditions, be sure to take precaution to help from catching the winter bug.

To stay up-to-date on the weather in your area, head to our Canadian Cities Index. You can also tune into The Weather Network on TV. The National Forecast come sup at the top and bottom of each hour.

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