According to Public Health Ontario Influenza (Flu) Season began this year September 4th, 2022, or week 36 of 2022 and will last at least until April. So, we’re just getting started. Every year Health Canada makes available vaccines for the Influenza season, but WHO decides which flu strains are most current and which vaccines are most needed? There are currently 144 national influenza centers in over 114 countries that conduct year-round surveillance for flu viruses as part of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS).
Their findings are released well in advance and Health Canada makes the final decision as to which vaccines should be offered to the Canadian public. Seasonal flu vaccines are designed to protect against the four main groups of flu Type A and B viruses that research indicates are most likely to spread and cause illness among people during the upcoming flu season. That means your annual flu shot protects you from four of the most active viruses in two groups.
Each of these four vaccine virus components are selected based on the following:
- which flu viruses are making people sick prior to the upcoming flu season,
- the extent to which those viruses are spreading prior to the upcoming flu season,
- how well the previous season’s vaccines may protect against those flu viruses, and
- the ability of vaccine viruses to provide cross-protection against a range of related flu viruses of the same type or subtype/lineage.
A lot of effort goes into getting this right and many agencies are involved. In Ontario, Public Health Ontario actively monitors how contagious and how far each group or strain progresses in our province. Every week the Ontario Respiratory Pathogen Bulletin (ORPB) releases current statistics. The ORPB does not contain COVID-19 data, so we are only talking about the flu. According to their current 52 week graph we are clearly in influenza season.
Like COVID-19 the flu is spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing, or by touching surfaces that are contaminated with the virus.
To protect yourself from the flu you should:
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and running water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub
- Frequently clean and disinfect common surfaces and items
- Get your flu shot
Interestingly, current COVID-19 statistics show it trending very similar to the current influenza cases.
Erbsville Dental Update
At Erbsville Dental it’s business as normal. When you arrive for your appointment “new normal” screening is and will remain in affect. Their kind staff will make you feel welcome and safe with a brief survey of your current health including a quick touchless temperature check. Masks are recommended while you visit but not mandatory. Erbsville Dental is a safe place not just for COVID-19 but the implemented precautions we are all very much used to also will prevent the spread of the flu. In addition to these safety precautions Erbsville Dental does much more that you will never see to stop viral and bacterial transmission. For more information read “Breathe Easy at Erbsville Dental” and “Steam Autoclave”.
Keep in mind that the very young and elderly are most impacted by the flu. The Region of Waterloo and Public Health Ontario amoung others advocate that the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu is to get vacinated.
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Dentist or other healthcare providers regarding a dental condition or treatment.