Hart College of Cardiac Sonography & Health Care Inc.


Flu Season 2023-2024 | How to Stay Healthy in Canada

As the days get shorter and temperatures drop across Canada, one thing is certain – flu season is approaching. Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness that spreads more rapidly in the colder winter months when people gather indoors more often and travel spikes during the holiday season.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the 2022-2023 flu season saw higher-than-average flu activity. With COVID precautions relaxing and international travel rebounding, experts predict an active influenza season this winter as well.

PHAC recommends that all Canadians over 6 months of age get the annual flu shot, ideally before flu activity picks up in late fall. The influenza vaccine uses forecasting to determine what virus strains are likely to circulate most widely this season. Getting vaccinated not only helps protect you from illness, but prevents transmission to more vulnerable groups like young children, elderly individuals, and those with chronic medical conditions.

To minimize your flu risk, schedule your annual flu shot as soon as possible. The Public Health Agency of Canada determines the anticipated viral strains and formulates the influenza vaccine accordingly. The flu shot prompts your body to build defences against these expected viruses to prevent illness.

Beyond vaccination, you can increase flu prevention by 

  • Frequently washing your hands, 
  • Avoiding crowded indoor spaces, 
  • Getting adequate sleep,  
  • Supporting immune function through hydration, a healthy diet, exercise
  • Key micronutrients like Vitamin C and Zinc. 

Despite your best efforts, transmission still occurs so being able to recognize flu symptoms is key.

Many dismiss influenza’s severity but the reality is thousands of Canadians are hospitalized and many lives are lost to the flu every year. 

Symptoms include

Fever, chills, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose and even vomiting or diarrhea. Children may additionally experience stomach pain or ear infections.

Pay attention to early symptoms that resemble viral infections. Seek medical care promptly if you have difficulty breathing, chest pain, high fever, confusion, vomiting, or worsening symptoms. Vulnerable groups should take extra precautions.

While washing hands for 20 seconds may seem tedious when you’re hustling to holiday gatherings, consider the alternative – being sidelined with flu. Avoid the fever, chills and misery by arming yourself with prevention techniques plus knowledge of flu symptoms. We can make it a healthier season for all with some concerted effort