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Flu season is at our door and so is your flu shot.

The flu (i.e. seasonal influenza) is no joke. It can lead to serious complications like pneumonia and is a leading cause of death in Canada (1,2). Worldwide, there are approximately 1 billion flu infections and 290,000 to 650,000 deaths each year (1,3). Health Canada estimates the flu causes over 12,000 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths each year (1,4). The most at risk of severe complications are young children, those 65 and older, Indigenous Peoples, people suffering from chronic health conditions, people living in long-term care facilities, pregnant people, and children that are following long-term treatment with Aspirin as it can trigger, in very rare cases, Reye’s syndrome (5,6).

This year, the flu season started at the end of August in Canada (1). As of mid-October, we are seeing an increase in flu cases, but numbers still remain in the seasonal average. So far, 45% of the recorded cases are in younger individuals (0 to 19 years old) (7).

The flu shot is safe and will help reduce the spread of the virus. It will (4,5):

  • Protect you and your loved ones against the flu, especially the most vulnerable.
  • Prevent severe outcomes.
  • Prevent additional pressure on our health care system.

There are many other ways you can help reduce the impact of flu season on your community. Staying home when sick, masking, hand washing, and physical distancing are not only efficient against COVID-19, but against any other respiratory infection (1,8). In 2020, the flu season stopped abruptly in March, 8 weeks earlier than normal (1,9). Last year, Canada recorded an exceptionally low flu season with no reported community transmission, outbreaks, or severe outcomes in all provinces and territories (8). Can you think of anything that happened in March 2020 that could explain this abrupt change? 😏🤔😷

Check out our resources to find a flu clinic near you (10):

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