Local doctors seeing indicators of bad flu season to come
Published Tuesday, August 20, 2019 4:14PM EDT
The medical community is concerned this flu season could be a bad one, based on trends in other parts of the world.
Coughing, sneezing and fevers are about to become a realty for many as we enter cold and flu season, a flu season the medical community is keeping a close eye on.
“Periodically we will look to the Southern Hemisphere, particularly to Australia, to get a sense of what their flu season is like because it’s happening during our summer which is their winter, and it allows us to think and predict what our flu season may look like,” says Dr. Alex Summers from the Middlesex-London Health Unit.
Summers says it’s not a perfect predictor but there are concerns with how Australia’s flu season is already panning out.
“What we are seeing in Australia right now is a flu season peaking earlier than anticipated, and if it continues with this trend they will certainly have more cases that they typically would have had.”
That’s why the health unit has been working on strategies for the upcoming flu season, as well as getting a main message out.
“Vaccines remain the safest medications we have in our country. They are the most highly regulated, highly followed and are safe and effective.”
But despite flu shots being readily available at health units, doctors' offices and pharmacies, a recent survey by Shoppers Drugs Mart has shown 11 per cent of adults have lost trust in vaccines.
Pharmacist Nick Vander Gulik says, “More adults these days are suffering from vaccine hesitancy, where their trust in vaccines, the process in developing vaccines and recommendations surround vaccines have decreased, because there is just a lot of misinformation circling in our community about it.”
However, both Vander Gulik and Summers want to remind people that the flu shot can save lives.
“The influenza vaccine in particular remains your most effective way of protecting yourself from the virus which can kill, which can make you very sick and which can put you in the hospital.”
The health unit also is reminding parents and students that with school just weeks away, that also means more exposure to germs.
It’s not too early to start practicing good hand hygiene, eating healthy and - it is hard - but getting back into a good sleep routine to help boost the immune system.