This time of year is well known for holiday parties and gatherings celebrating the season. These gatherings are important for fostering a sense of belonging, improving mental health, and bringing communities closer together. Respiratory viruses can spread easily when people gather together, especially during holidays and winter months. Respiratory illnesses can have a significant impact on your overall health. We urge individuals and communities to consider ways to reduce the spread of respiratory disease.
Respiratory disease season has arrived. Viruses such as coronavirus disease (COVID-19), influenza (influenza), and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are circulating at the same time as cold and cough viruses. Protecting yourself, your family, and those around you who are at high risk of serious illness and complications is an important public health issue. Many people in our community are at increased risk of severe illness, complications, and hospitalization, including the elderly, pregnant women, young children, and those with weakened immune systems.
“As with any respiratory season in the autumn and winter, it is important to follow public health precautions, especially getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza,” said a spokesperson for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark. says Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lynna Lee. District Health Department.
“We are calling on everyone to do their part to reduce the spread of disease, with the goal of reducing the prevalence of severe illness, complications and hospitalizations caused by respiratory viruses.”Ottawa said Dr. Vera Etches, medical officer of health for the Department of Public Health. .
“It’s not just the elderly that we’re concerned about this season, it’s also our children. Influenza can cause severe symptoms and hospitalization in children under the age of five. We recommend that everyone, especially those under the age of five and those over the age of 65, get a flu shot,” said Dr. Paul Romeliotis, Medical Officer of Health for the Eastern Ontario Health Authority.
“Influenza cases are on the rise in Ontario, and the best way to stay healthy is to get the flu shot,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health. “If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to roll up your sleeves and protect yourself and those around you.”
“During this time of heightened and increasing risk for respiratory illness, we encourage you to take public health precautions to protect yourself and those at higher risk of severe illness,” Renfrew County Health said Medical Officer Dr. Jason Morgenstern. District Health Department.
“Public health precautions that we are all familiar with remain the best defense against disease and reduce the spread of disease to family and friends,” Hastings Prince Edward Public Health Department Health said Dr. Ethan Tumishey, Medical Director and CEO.
Local public health agencies in the Eastern Region support the state’s recommendations regarding the use of protective layers known to be effective.
· Get the latest COVID-19 vaccines and annual flu vaccines
o Both vaccines are recommended for people 6 months of age and older and can be given at the same time.
o These vaccines reduce your chances of getting these infections and are especially effective at preventing serious illness.
o The best way to obtain these vaccines is to go to your local pharmacy. For a list of participating pharmacies near you, visit https://www.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations/.
o Some people may also be able to access these vaccines through their health care provider.
o Some public health departments are running clinics for people who face barriers to accessing vaccines. Check your local health department’s website for more information.
· Wash your hands frequently with soap and water (rubbing your hands together under water for 15-20 seconds) or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
・Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. This is how bacteria spreads.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as desks, door handles, toys, and computer keyboards.
· Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into your arm instead of your hand.
· Optimize indoor air quality as much as possible. This includes increasing air exchange rates, replacing air filters, and keeping doors and windows open whenever possible (weather permitting).
-Stay home when sick
o Stay home until your fever is gone (without fever-reducing medications) and your symptoms improve for 24 hours (48 hours for vomiting/diarrhea).
o If you have symptoms of respiratory illness, avoid visiting people who are at higher risk of developing severe illness, such as people in long-term care, nursing homes, or hospitalizations.
o If you cannot stay home, wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after symptoms develop.Avoid non-essential mask-less activities
o Not sure? Take a self-assessment: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-Assessment (ontario.ca)
· Wear a well-fitting mask, especially if you are at high risk for severe illness.
o To protect yourself from respiratory viruses, to protect others at high risk, and when recovering from illness.
o When indoors, in crowded public places, or near the most vulnerable people.
o Bring your mask with you wherever you go so you can always use it if you feel the need or are asked to use it.
When to go to the emergency department
· If you have questions about your (or your child’s) health, please call your health care provider or Health Connect Ontario at 8-1-1.
· If you or your child is in distress (severe difficulty breathing, chest pain, fainting, difficulty waking, confusion, or significant worsening of symptoms of a chronic illness), go to your local emergency room or call 9-1- Please call 1.
The health department continues to monitor many factors, including overall respiratory infections and the frequency of severe illness. Regional respiratory virus surveillance reports include information on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and influenza cases, outbreaks, and more.
For more information from your local public health agency, please visit:
· Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Board
· Ottawa Public Health
· Eastern Ontario Health Authority
· KFL&A Public Health
· Renfrew County and District Health Department
· Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
While reducing the spread of infectious diseases (such as respiratory illnesses) is important, it’s also important to take care of your mental health during the holidays. Spread more kindness this holiday season. Here are some resources you or a loved one can access:
· 9-8-8 Suicide Crisis Helpline: Call 9-8-8 or text 9-8-8, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
· Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868 (24/7)
· anxiety canada
· BounceBackOntario is a free guided self-help program for people 15 and older
· Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health (CCSMH) provides resources for seniors and their families