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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 | 3 p.m. | Windsor and Essex County

Flu season is upon us, once again.  The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) urges everyone over the age of 6-months to get vaccinated to protect against the flu. Yearly, the flu results in 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada. Due to changes in the virus from year to year, it is important to get vaccinated every year. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to prevent additional outbreaks and reduce the spread of the flu.

Influenza is easily spread from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Some individuals are more vulnerable to experiencing complications from the flu than others. It is especially important for young children, adults 65 and older, healthcare workers, pregnant women, and people living with a chronic health condition like asthma and diabetes to get immunized.

The flu shot is safe and one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of the influenza virus. Other important measures that can be taken to prevent the spread of the influenza virus include washing your hands often, cleaning and disinfecting touchable surfaces, sneezing and coughing into ones sleeve or a tissue, not touching your face with unwashed hands, and staying home when you are sick.

The flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but are caused by different viruses. The flu is caused by influenza viruses and COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. They are both spread by breathing in respiratory droplets of an infected person when they sneeze, cough, or talk, and can both be spread before symptoms occur. 

Symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 can be similar: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, headaches, and muscle pain/body aches. It may be hard to tell the difference based on symptoms alone, and testing may be required to confirm. If individuals have any of the above symptoms, they should self-isolate at home, not attend work or school, contact their healthcare provider and seek testing at a local COVID-19 assessment centre.

Individuals and their families can get the flu shot at no cost from their healthcare provider, most walk-in clinics and participating pharmacies. High-dose flu vaccine, recommended for those 65 years and older, is available from healthcare providers and participating pharmacies. A list of pharmacies providing flu vaccine in Windsor and Essex County can be found on the WECHU website at Please note: only children 5 years of age and older can receive their flu shot at pharmacies.

To learn more about ways to stop the spread of the influenza virus and make informed decision about vaccinations, visit or speak with your local healthcare provider or pharmacist.

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