Lower your flu and COVID risk

Lower Your Flu and COVID risk
Posted on 10/13/2023
doctor giving child a needle

Hamilton Public Health Services is urging Hamiltonians to remain vigilant and take a multi-layered approach to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, using multiple measures in addition to vaccines.

Respiratory viruses are a common occurrence during the fall and winter months, and they include well-known viruses such as influenza (flu), common cold viruses (rhinoviruses) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Additionally, the COVID-19 virus remains a significant concern worldwide. A multi-layered approach highlights the importance of prevention, vaccination, symptom recognition, and responsible healthcare resource utilization.

To protect ourselves and others, Hamilton Public Health Services is emphasizing using all of these measures together:

1. Wash your hands - Practice good hand hygiene by washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially during times when you are likely to get and spread germs.
2. Respiratory etiquette – Follow proper respiratory etiquette by covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and dispose of used tissues promptly.
3. Wear a mask - Consider wearing a tight-fitting, well-constructed mask in indoor public settings, especially if you are at higher risk of severe infection.
4. Screening - Screen for respiratory symptoms daily and stay home when sick.
5. Clean and disinfect - Disinfecting shared surfaces and shared items is a crucial step in preventing the spread of a virus.
6. Speak with a healthcare provider - Speak to a professional healthcare provider about treatments for COVID-19, influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus.
7. Influenza and COVID-19 vaccination – Residents are encouraged to stay up-to-date with influenza vaccinations (flu shots) and COVID-19 vaccinations to support their immune system and reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses. Co-administration of COVID and flu vaccines is safe, effective and strongly recommended.

Hamilton Public Health (HPH) Services is now offering Covid-19 and influenza vaccines to those at higher risk for serious illness.

Higher risk groups include:

1. Residents and staff of congregate living settings (e.g., long-term care facilities, retirement homes);
2. Pregnant individuals;
3. Individuals 65 years of age and older;
4. All children six months to four years of age;
5. Individuals who are from a First Nation, Inuit or Métis community, and/or who self-identify as First Nation, Inuit, or Métis, and their household members;
6. Individuals six months of age and older with underlying health conditions, as per the National Advisory Committee on Immunization;
7. Members of racialized and other equity deserving communities; and,
8. Healthcare workers and first responders.

The general public will be eligible for vaccines in early November.

For details, please visit the HPH website.

Those eligible may book appointments online.