Reminders for Clients and Families during Cold and Flu Season
The cooler temperatures and shorter days signal a changing season, and the unfortunate arrival of cold and flu season here in Canada. Staying up to date on flu and COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters and staying home when you feel ill are important ways to keep yourself and community healthy. As we approach cold and flu season, here are a few helpful reminders about how yourself and your care providers can prevent illness and infection during your VHA care.
Clean hands are everyone’s responsibility. Hand hygiene is the most important and basic way to prevent the spread of infections.
How to perform hand hygiene:
Soap and Water
Washing with soap and water is the preferred way to clean your hands in everyday situations (such as before food preparation, after using the washroom, etc.).
Everyone should—and care providers must—wash their hands with soap and running water when their hands are visibly soiled/dirty.
- Wet hands and wrists with warm water.
- Apply soap.
- Lather soap and rub hands palm to palm, in between fingers, the back of each hand, and the fingertips and thumbs of each hand for at least 15 seconds.
- Rinse your hands thoroughly under running water.
- Pat your hands dry with paper towel.
- Turn off water using paper towel.
Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer
Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the best and most effective means of cleaning one’s hands when a care provider is in clinical situations where sinks or soap and
water are not available. For clients, alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be used as a back-up to regular handwashing with soap and water.
- Apply 1 to 2 pumps of the hand sanitizer to the palms of dry hands.
- Rub hands together palm to palm, in between and around fingers, the back of each hand, and rub fingertips of each hand for approximately 15 seconds or until the product is dry.
- Let hands dry (do not use paper towel).
Personal Protective Equipment
For your protection, your VHA health care provider may use masks, gloves, goggles, face shields and gowns while providing your care.
Infectious Disease Screening
As part of routine care, your VHA care provider will ask you questions about any new symptoms you may be experiencing (for example, these could be related to respiratory illnesses, gastro-intestinal illnesses (i.e. vomiting, diarrhea), or rashes). They may also ask whether you have been asked to isolate or quarantine from your physician, healthcare provider, or anybody else. Please inform your VHA care provider if you have any symptoms as soon as possible and help answer those questions when asked.
The purpose of the screening questions is to ensure that our care providers are able to take the appropriate precautions and wear protective equipment based on your answers to keep themselves and subsequent clients safe by reducing the spread of disease.
Where can I buy my own PPE such as cloth (non-medical) masks, surgical masks or alcohol-based hand sanitizer?
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer, when in stock, is widely available at many retail locations including pharmacies and grocery stores. Cloth (non-medical) masks or surgical masks are available through big box retailers or online retailers* including:
For the safety of our care providers, it is strongly recommended that surgical masks are worn by clients during visits. If a client does not have a mask available for their visit, one mask may be provided to them by their care provider.
* VHA does not endorse any particular vendor of cloth masks, nor can we ensure that any vendor is able to maintain stock of these products. We are not liable if
there are any issues related to the vendor or the purchased product.