Is it COVID or the flu? Best stay home either way

Flu vaccine campaign kicking off in November

The flu vaccine will soon be available to Ontarians across the province. But with last year’s influenza case count at historic lows, do you even need it?

“I recommend it,” said Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Charles Gardner. “By receiving a flu vaccine, you help reduce your likelihood of getting that other respiratory infection and influenza is also a very serious infection. And it’s just another means of avoiding the disease of that nature.”

“I always advise people to come forward and receive your annual influenza vaccine, particularly people who are at higher risk. So those that are above 65 years of age, pregnant women, children under the age of five, and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease or respiratory diseases,” added Gardner.

Gardner says an influenza vaccine campaign will begin in November, and residents are urged to contact their healthcare provider or community pharmacy to arrange a shot.

However, the flu and COVID-19 share some of the same symptoms. How can you tell the difference? Dr. Gardner says better safe than sorry. “If you’re simply feeling unwell, certainly aches and pains, nasal congestion, coughing, sore eyes, loss of smell, loss of taste, are classic symptoms of COVID-19 more so than other respiratory infectious diseases, but any of those other symptoms would be grounds for staying home and seeking assessment,” he told Barrie 360.

“Even if it turns out to be another respiratory illness and not COVID-19, it does help to safeguard that work environment,” he concluded.