Infographic of Flu campaign
The UHN flu campaign kicks off today. Employees can get their shot at flu carts at all sites while patients and visitors can visit the Outpatient Pharmacies at Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital. (Graphic: UHN)

UHN's annual Flu Campaign launches today.

For times and locations of the flu cart at your site, which are accessible to all UHN staff, physicians, students and volunteers, from Oct. 22 to Nov. 4, please see this schedule [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available].

Patients and visitors, please visit Outpatient Pharmacies at Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital to ask about having your flu shot.

Why should you get your flu shot this year?

Health officials believe they have a better vaccine match for this year's expected flu strains compared to last year, according to a report by CBC.

Influenza is one of the top 10 infectious diseases in Ontario. While most healthy adults feel miserable for a few days, for some people, influenza can be serious or life-threatening.

Those most at risk include:

  • Adults age 65 and over
  • People who are immunocompromised
  • Pregnant women
  • Children under the age of five
  • People who are obese
  • People with chronic medical conditions, including asthma, heart disease, and diabetes, among others.
  • Residents of long-term care facilities

Getting vaccinated against influenza will provide some protection against you getting influenza. Given that the vaccine isn't perfect and that multiple other viruses can cause similar illness, it is important that we don't just rely on the flu shot for protection.

What else can I do to stay healthy this flu season?

  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve, not your hands.
  • If you are sick with symptoms of the flu or any respiratory virus, you should not be at work, even if you had the flu shot this year.
  • In the rare chance that you have to be at work while ill, you must avoid patient contact and wear a surgical mask when you are around others. Try to go home as soon as you can.
  • If possible, avoid close contact with individuals who have symptoms that are suggestive of influenza-like illness. If you can't avoid close contact with individuals who have such symptoms, wear the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when caring for them.

Limiting the spread of respiratory viruses is everyone's responsibility.

Over 65 years of age?

This year, UHN is offering Fluzone High-Dose vaccine for staff over the age of 65.

Human immune defenses become weaker with age, which places older people at greater risk of severe illness from influenza.

Fluzone High-Dose vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibody) contained in regular flu shots. The additional antigen is intended to create a stronger immune response (more antibody) in the person getting the vaccine.

If you are a staff member over the age of 65 who wishes to obtain Fluzone High-Dose vaccine, please contact the Occupational Health and Safety clinic at your site to make an appointment.

Influenza is a serious contagious viral respiratory infection.

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