Executive Director, Canadian Public Health Association
Every year, public health officials have encouraged the public to take steps to protect themselves and others from seasonal influenza. This year will be no different, except that we’ve been following these rules since mid-March.
The good news is that by following this guidance, Canada hasn’t experienced the global pandemic as harshly as some other countries. More good news is that this guidance is having a positive impact on influenza activity. Recent data from the Southern hemisphere (where countries have already gone through their flu season) suggests that these measures may have contributed to there being fewer cases and deaths related to seasonal influenza.
While we can’t predict what this influenza season will bring for the north, the big difference for Canadians is that getting your flu shot is more important than ever. Vaccination remains the most effective way to reduce your risk of the flu. If you don’t do everything you can to protect yourself and your community, it’s vital that you remember that influenza symptoms are very similar to those of COVID-19.
Should you or anyone in your bubble develop any symptoms, health officials will require you to follow all of the protocols in place for a suspected case of COVID-19, including testing and self-quarantine.
As we head into another Canadian winter, health care providers are here for you and doing all that they can to protect your well-being and safety. Stack the deck in your favour and get your flu shot from your family doctor, local pharmacist, or a public health clinic.
You know the drill
- Get your seasonal influenza vaccine
- Stay at home if you’re sick
- Wash your hands frequently
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow
- Keep your hands away from your face
- Wear a face covering when in public spaces
- Maintain physical distancing