Flu season usually starts in the fall, with peaks from December to February and ends in early spring. This year health experts are predicting there could be a very difficult flu season ahead.
2021 could be a bad flu year, here’s why:
Immunity to flu viruses has likely decreased in the last year due to a very minor flu season in 2020. Fewer flu infections one year can lead to a larger susceptibility and bigger outbreak the next. Another reason 2021 could be a bad flu season can be explained by looking at human behaviour. People are experiencing lockdown fatigue and want to socialize with other people more.
"I do think with a greater number of individuals not wearing masks and not as much social distancing, there is definitely going to be an uptick in the common respiratory infections that we see seasonally," says Allison Aiello, who studies the spread of infectious diseases at the University of North Carolina's school of public health.
Will Canada see a spike in influenza cases after COVID-19?
There have been approximately 68 reported influenza detections in Canada during the 2020-2021 flu season so far. This number is significantly lower than the past six influenza seasons, which saw an average of 49,641 cases per season.
As covered on Global News Dr. Timothy Sly, an epidemiologist and professor emeritus at Ryerson University’s School of Public Health, said it is “to be expected” that people will have lower immunity to influenza this year than in previous years, “simply because most have been protecting themselves against ALL respiratory viruses.”
Tips to avoid getting the flu
The best way to avoid getting the flu is to get a flu shot. Good health habits are also a great way to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting the flu:
- Wash your hands often
- Cover your mouth with either a tissue or your upper arm/sleeve when you cough or sneeze
- Avoid touching your face
- Eat a balanced diet full of nutrients to help boost your immune system
- Get the flu shot
- Schedule a flu clinic at your workplace
Protecting yourself and others
The demand for flu shots may be high this year so plan ahead to get your flu shot. It is especially important to protect yourself and your co-workers as the flu is able to spread very quickly and easily in the workplace. Talk to you organization about setting up a workplace flu clinic. Spectrum Health Care offers onsite workplace flu clinics to help prevent the flu from spreading.
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