It’s far too easy for flu season to become an afterthought amid what seems like a far greater public health crisis, but in reality, careless ‘it’s just the flu’ attitudes could not be more misplaced amid the current pandemic.
Each year, the flu causes an estimated 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths. While those numbers seem dwarfed compared to the ever-increasing number of COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths in Canada, the flu still forces a massive strain on the healthcare system. A strain that, by all accounts, the system cannot account for this year.
Healthcare professionals are gearing up for a flu season that’s coming in spite of resources and workers already being stretched paper-thin. COVID-19 has placed an unprecedented pressure on the health-care system across the world, and with flu season on its way, this pressure could finally build to a breaking point.
Thankfully, though, there is a way to do your part to ensure the reduction of the spread of the flu and the innumerable negative consequences that could come from a bad flu season this year: the flu shot. It’s free, it’s fast, and it’s safe.
It's not just about you
Many people are unable to receive vaccinations for a variety of reasons, which is why it’s all the more important for those of us who are able to get vaccinated to wear those band-aids with pride this year. The more people who are protected against the virus, the less likely it is for people who aren’t to contract it.
This means that the flu will spread to proportionately fewer people with every person who gets vaccinated. This will lead to fewer hospitalizations, fewer deaths, and an overall decreased load on the health-care system and its workers—something they very much need and deserve.
We’re incredibly lucky to have the power to directly minimize the spread of the flu and, given the increased hygienic measures implemented in public spaces like wearing masks indoors and more frequent handwashing, this year has the potential to be one of the lowest in terms of flu transmission—but only if we also take advantage of the best possible line of defense: the flu shot.
And we're not invincible
University students are often too quick to assume that, being young, we’re innately immune to more severe cases of the flu. This is an unfounded assumption since you can’t know how severe your symptoms may be until you’re actually experiencing them. But even in mild cases, the flu is a serious and unpleasant illness that can hugely impact your ability to go to work, do school, exercise, or even hang out with your friends. If you have the ability to protect yourself against it, why wouldn’t you?
Ultimately, fewer people getting sick is always a good thing, and this year, that’s especially true. So, what are you waiting for? If you’re in Halifax or Truro, book your flu shot appointment online with Student Health & Wellness. If you’re not here, book an appointment wherever you are!