What is Influenza?

Influenza (the "flu") is a serious respiratory illness. Flu symptoms can last a week or longer.
Influenza is a vaccine preventable disease. Annual immunization is required to protect against seasonal influenza. Everyone over the age of 6 months should get their flu vaccine every year.

Influenza is a reportable illness under The Health Protection & Promotion Act. Record the illness in the child’s record and the Public Health Illness Surveillance Form.


  • Sudden onset fever
  • Chills or shakes (sometimes not present in those less than five years of age or 65 years and older)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Sore muscles and joints
  • Fatigue
  • Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting (in children)

Managing influenza: What to do

Infected persons should:
  • Stay home until fever is diminished for 24 hours and are feeling better.
  • Get lots of rest and drink fluids.
  • Treat fever with acetominophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprophen (Advil®, Motrin®). Avoid the use of aspirin or aspirin-containing products for children.
  • Cough in to a tissue or sleeve. Discard used tissues immediately.
  • Wash hands frequently using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Don't share anything that goes in the mouth, like utensils, drinking glasses or tootbrushes.

Instructions for child care staff:

  • When holding small children who are sick, place the child's chin on your shoulder to avoid the cough.
  • Provide extra cleaning in frequently touched areas such as table tops, keyboards, door knobs, counter tops, remote controls, telephones, light switches, etc.). Dishwashing and laundry can be done as normal.
  • Download a "Stay at Home Poster"  and a "Stop the Spread Poster" to display in your child care centre.



Quick Reference

Influenza cases must be reported to Public Health. Record illness in the child’s record and the Public Health Illness Surveillance Form.

Special procedures may be required in a flu pandemic: See the pandemic section under Emergencies.