Getting a Flu shot during a Pandemic

Each year Canadians’ face a “seasonal influenza epidemic”. The Flu Season typically begins in late fall and is with us through the winter months. Historically, 5-10% of adults and 20-30% of children contract the flu.

Symptoms of influenza include: fever, cough, muscle aches, headaches, chills, fatigue and sometimes nausea and diarrhea. Although most people recover within 10 days, in serious cases it can progress to pneumonia and many people with compromised immune systems die from the flu every year.

Getting a Flu-Shot is definitely advisable particularly if you are high risk. This includes children under 5 years, adults over 65 years, pregnant women, people with asthma, heart disease, or diabetes.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada this season (2020/21) there have been exceptionally low levels of flu reported in the “Flu Watch Report” thus far, compared to recent years. We shouldn’t be surprised by this; the flu spreads naturally in the same manner as Covid-19 does. It seems that wearing masks, social distancing, and the emphasis on frequent hand washing absolutely DOES reduce the spread of infections, be they influenza or Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

Best Practices to Prevent Getting / Spreading the Flu:
  1. The Flu virus typically enters the body through our mouth, nose, or eyes. Therefore, frequent hand washing is #1.
  2. Keep your distance from someone who is infected. Don’t touch your face, and wash your hands, again! Using hand sanitizer works too.
  3. During the flu season, consider a fist pump in place of handshaking, particularly if you are not feeling 100%.
  4. If you become ill, stay home, you will be saving your colleagues from getting it. If you do go to the office, cough and sneeze into arm. Keep those virus-laden droplets to yourself.
  5. Get the Flu shot.
Lastly and most importantly, although the 2020/21 flu shot is strongly recommended for the groups mentioned above, the flu-shot WILL NOT immunize you against Covid-19, or reduce your risk of contracting Covid-19.

Author: Mark Beaton, Sr. VP of Marketing BIOS Medical

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