Child laying down holding a tissue


The flu (influenza) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person from droplets released in the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people close by, and can be inhaled into the lungs. They can also live on surfaces for 24 to 48 hours, infecting those who touch the surface and then touch their nose or mouth.

There are three main types of the influenza virus: A, B and C. Types A and B are usually the viruses detected during the Influenza season, which runs between November and April each year.


  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Watery eyes
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Extreme weakness and fatigue
  • Earaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Symptoms will begin about 1-4 days after exposure to the virus; the average is 2 days.

 If you have the flu, stay home from work/school/child care until the fever has resolved and you are well enough to participate in activities.Health care workers should speak to their occupational health department before returning to work.

How long does it take to recover from the flu?

Most people recover from the flu within five to seven days, however the very young, old and people with underlying health conditions could develop serious life threatening complications. Sometimes the cough and fatigue can go on for several weeks, making the return to full activity difficult.

Who has a high risk of influenza-related complications or hospitalization?

  • People of any age with certain chronic health conditions that require medical follow-up
  • People of any age who are residents of long-term care homes and other chronic care facilities
  • People ≥ 65 years of age
  • Children less than 5 years of age
  • Aboriginal peoples
  • Pregnant women

How can I prevent myself from getting or spreading the flu?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Stay home if you have symptoms
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue
  • Clean high-touch surfaces regularly with disinfectant
  • Keep your hands away from your face.
  • Avoid large groups and keep a distance of more than 2 metres between yourself and others
  • Get your flu shot each year. In Ontario, the influenza vaccine is available for free for anyone over 6 months of age. It's also safe for pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy and for breastfeeding mothers.

More Information:

North Bay

345 Oak Street West

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302

Burk's Falls

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)