Let’s do our part to stop the spread with a flu shot this fall

This article, from October 13, has detailed information on how you can do your part to help stop the spread of the seasonal flu this Fall.

Hello Ward 8 Neighbours,

With seasonal flu season upon us amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Hamilton is encouraging all residents to get vaccinated this fall. This post will share some key takeaways from the City of Hamilton’s awareness campaign.

For more details, please continue reading below…

As mentioned, the City’s Public Health Department has put together an extensive list outlining reasons to get the flu shot this fall, including resources, statistics and the latest data dispelling any concerns around the vaccine.

With the rapid spread of COVID, and the potential for further lockdowns and strains on our healthcare system in the coming months, by receiving the shot you’re doing your part to help your community.

Will there be flu along with COVID-19 this fall/winter?

While we may see lower rates of seasonal flu because of our continued public health practices of masking, handwashing and physical distancing, it is still likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading in our community this Fall and Winter. For this reason, getting your flu vaccine will be more important than ever. The Public Agency of Canada recommends that all people 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine. It takes about two weeks after getting the flu vaccine to develop optimal protection, so it is important to get your shot before flu is circulating widely in the community.

Can I have flu and COVID at the same time?

Yes. It is possible to have seasonal flu (as well as other respiratory illnesses) and COVID-19 at the same time. Experts are still studying how common this can be and what risks it may pose. Your best defence against the flu is the flu shot. There is no vaccine for COVID-19 however practicing physical distancing, proper handwashing, and wearing a mask, are strategies recommended to help reduce your risk of COVID-19.

Why is getting a flu shot more important this year?

The flu shot significantly reduces your risk of illness, hospitalization, and death caused by an influenza virus. Getting a flu shot can also shorten the duration and severity of flu symptoms if you do become ill. The flu shot itself cannot cause the flu.

Flu season often puts an extra burden on the health-care system, so it is important that people do what they can to reduce their chances of getting it. Hospitals and health-care facilities could become overwhelmed if they need to treat both flu and COVID-19 patients. 

It is especially important this year that those at high risk of critical illness from influenza and from COVID-19, including seniors and people with underlying health conditions, receive the flu vaccine to reduce the need for a greater number of critical hospital beds.

Will there be change in how I can get the flu shot?

How and where people get a flu vaccine will change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hamilton Public Health Services is working with local healthcare providers and pharmacy partners to develop plans on how to vaccinate people against flu without increasing their risk of exposure to respiratory germs, like the virus that causes COVID-19.

Some settings that usually provide flu shots, like workplaces, may not offer vaccination this upcoming season because of the challenges posed by physical distancing requirements. However, some new locations and options for vaccination will be introduced to help ensure flu shot availability for our community.
Flu shots are not yet available for 2020-2021 – they are expected to be available in early October.

More information on where you can get a flu vaccine

What should I do if I feel sick with the flu?

If you feel sick, even with mild symptoms of flu or COVID-19, STAY HOME from school, work and other activities. Contact your primary care provider if you have one to discuss your symptoms and arrange for COVID-19 testing if appropriate. You can also contact Public Health at 905-974-9848 to arrange a COVID-19 test.

If you do not have a family doctor and are looking for one in the Hamilton area visit: needadoc.ca

If your symptoms are getting worse, even if you have received a negative COVID-19 test result, seek reassessment through your primary care provider, an urgent care location or the emergency room. More information about when to go to an emergency room as well as wait times for emergency departments and urgent care across Hamilton is available at: www.hamiltonemergencywaittimes.ca.

If you need immediate emergency medical attention, call 9-1-1.

How to prevent the spread of flu

The flu virus spreads from person to person through coughing or sneezing. People can also get the flu by touching objects or surfaces with the virus on them and then their mouth or nose.

Here are some tips to prevent you and your family from getting or spreading the flu:

  • Get the flu shot
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand rub if there is no soap and water
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean shared objects and surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches or keys often.
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Do not share food, drinks or personal items like toothbrushes
  • Rest, sleep, exercise and eat nutritious food

For more details on the flu, COVID and other items, please visit the City’s Health Topics. Help your neighbours, do your part to prevent the spread of COVID and the seasonal flu this year.

Questions or Concerns?

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office here.