Canadian health authorities on Tuesday said they would begin distributing 1.2 million manuals offering pointers on combating swine flu, in anticipation of the upcoming flu season.

The "comprehensive preparedness guide" aims to provide Canadians with general information about the swine flu virus, steps to protect themselves against it, and tips on what to do if they or their family members get sick.

"Every Canadian has a role to play in preventing the spread of the H1N1 flu virus," said Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.

"This guide gives Canadians the information they need to make the right decisions to protect themselves and their families."

Developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the guide will be sent directly to health care professionals and organizations supporting at-risk populations, such as people with underlying medical conditions, young children, and pregnant women, the government said.

Canadians also will be able to obtain copies at post offices.

The government said it has ordered an initial print-run of 1.2 million copies, anticipating that it will become a "go-to" document on the virus.

Ottawa also is mailing to some 13.7 million homes pamphlets with basic information on the swine flu virus, which has so far killed 79 people in Canada.