Human influenza, or the flu, is a respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus. This virus spreads through droplets that have been coughed or sneezed into the air by someone who has the flu. Different strains of this virus regularly circulate in our communities, making people sick. However, you may be able to avoid getting sick if you have antibodies to fight off the virus strain you’re exposed to. Influenza immunization, or the “flu shot,” is the best way to avoid getting sick because it stimulates the body to produce antibodies against the influenza virus.
From time to time, an influenza strain changes into a new strain. We may have little or no immunity to the new strain. If this new strain of influenza virus has the ability to spread easily from person to person, many people around the world could become ill and possibly die. This is referred to as an influenza pandemic.
At this time, there is no influenza pandemic anywhere in the world. But knowing how to protect yourself from getting influenza is important both before and during a pandemic. By following good hand and respiratory hygiene practices, you can reduce the risk of catching or spreading influenza both during the regular flu season and in a pandemic.
What is an Influenza Pandemic
Seasonal Flu vs. Avian flu vs. Influenza Pandemic
Vaccines and Drugs
What PHAC is Doing to Prepare
Phases of the Canadian Pandemic Plan
Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan