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Flu Season Exacts a Heavy Toll on Our Children

As we head into the holiday season and into winter many of us do so with the hope that the challenges of COVID-19 are behind us.  We all want the freedom to move through everyday life with no restrictions and at the very least, limited requests on behaviour.  I share those desires.  However, the current situation with our children requires new consideration of previous practices that helped us through the pandemic.  Our hospitals are at a crisis point as they struggle to deal with the growing numbers of sick children.  Early indications suggest the flu season could be extremely challenging.  I encourage everyone, to get your flu shot. And this includes flu shots for our kids. 

The importance of Public Health and current guidance from Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer.

With the continuation of COVID-19 transmission across the country, the rise of respiratory syncytial virus (or RSV), and above seasonal levels of influenza, the health of everyone, particularly children is top of mind for us, especially as our already burdened health systems are experiencing even more stress with pediatric hospitals and ICUs over capacitated. While our government is working tirelessly to solve the shortage of children’s analgesics, we should remember the important steps we can all take to reduce the spread of illness and protect our loved ones. Last week, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam provided Canadians with three recommendations on what we all must do about these concerns:

·       Boost your immunity – if it has been 6 months since your last COVID-19 vaccine dose or booster, get vaccinated with a bivalent omicron-targeting booster. It is also a good time to get your flu shot and you can get them at the same time.

·       Protect your respiratory tract from invading viruses – keep up with handwashing and wear a good quality, well-fitting facemask when indoors, especially if you can’t avoid being in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces.

·       Reduce spread to others – cough and sneeze into your elbow and if you have symptoms please stay home! This helps protect us all, including those at high risk of severe respiratory illness such as those who are immunocompromised, as well as infants, young children, pregnant people and older adults. Protecting those who are at highest risk and can’t be vaccinated or don’t mount strong protection is also key to protecting health system capacity for us all.

Tony Van Bynen

Member of Parliament for

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