The flu shot is important, this is why

Image: The flu shot is important, this is why

Now more than ever it is important to protect yourself, and others, from getting the influenza virus (flu).

Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu which makes it difficult to tell the difference based on just symptoms alone. Your best defence against the flu this season is to get the flu shot.

The flu shot

Flu season typically runs from late fall to early spring. As this year’s flu season is happening at the same time as COVID-19 the Government of Ontario is encouraging everyone to get the flu shot in order to avoid any unnecessary risks to your health. The flu shot is recommended to everyone who is 6 months of age and older. The flu shot is:

  • Safe
  • Free
  • Available from your doctor, nurse practitioner or pharmacy (children under the age of 5 cannot get the flu shot at a pharmacy)
  • Proven to reduce the number of doctor’s visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to the flu
  • Different every year. The virus changes often so you need to get the shot every fall
  • Takes two weeks to take effect

65 and older

During the 2020/2021 flu season, if you are 65 years of age and older there are two different types of flu shots available. There is the standard dose (which protects against four strains of the flu virus) and there is the high-dose (which protects against three strains of the flu virus but in a higher dose). Speak with your health practitioner about which dose is best for you.

High risk

According to the Government of Ontario the flu causes about 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths a year in Canada. Serious health issues such as pneumonia, bronchitis and heart attacks can occur because of the flu. Some people are more vulnerable than others:

  • Babies under the age of 6 months
  • Children under the age of 5
  • People who are 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant people
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People with health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease

Symptoms of the flu

Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Dry and persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills and sweats
  • Aching muscles
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Eye pain
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

The symptoms of the cold and the flu can be very similar. This chart can help you determine whether you have the cold or the flu.

(Source: Government of Ontario)

Tips to avoid getting the flu

Follow these tips 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
  • Get the flu shot
  • Schedule a flu clinic at your workplace

Protecting yourself and others

The demand for flu shots will be higher than ever this year so plan ahead to get your flu shot if you’re going to your local pharmacy or doctor’s office. Many people have returned to work or are returning to work. 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.

Hosting a workplace flu clinic is simple. Give us a call or use our contact form to learn more:

Toronto: 647-952-3325
Mississauga (Peel): 647-953-1461
York: 647-953-1728