SYDNEY: It’s cold and flu season.

While healthy people recover from a cold or the flu in relatively quick fashion, these illnesses can have a greater impact on young children, the elderly, or people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses – including hospital patients and long-term care residents.

Because of this, Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Eastern Zone is reminding people to use care when they visit any of its hospitals, community health centres and long-term care facilities in the Antigonish, Cape Breton and Guysborough areas.

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People are reminded not to visit hospital patients or long-term care residents if they or other people in their households are sick. Visitors who are not sick should always thoroughly clean their hands before and after they visit a patient or a resident.

Other tips to get through cold and flu season include: get the flu shot; wash hands regularly and thoroughly after using the washroom, before preparing food and after sneezing or blowing their nose. For those who can’t wash their hands, alcohol based hand sanitizers are also effective.

Those who are sick are asked to stay home until they feel better. That way they’re limiting the spread of illness and protecting family, friends and co-workers.

Cold and flu viruses can live on any surface so keep shared surfaces clean. Avoid close contact when possible with anyone who has flu-like symptoms.

Avoiding large crowds can also help limit the spread of the flu. Cough or sneeze into a sleeve because the fabric traps the droplets and prevents others from breathing them in. Avoid touching faces with hands because germs can enter the body through the eyes, nose or mouth.

For more information, visit: www.nshealth.ca/news/flu-protect-yourself.