Last year the flu season was later than usual, and led to high admissions and challenges with acute care capacity from February to April. In Toronto Central LHIN, it overlapped with other challenges to some of our hospitals that exacerbated the situation. This year we hope the investment in surge capacity will help mitigate the challenges and support better system flow.
Flu surge is an annual occurrence and it is the responsibility of both the system and health care providers to take actions to meet this increased demand. At this time, we would like to stress the importance of ensuring patient access across the health care system is maintained throughout this period.
Specific to influenza, it is important that primary care alternatives to Emergency Departments remain available to the public, and that hospitals have administrative plans and processes in place to allow adequate responses to surges in demand for critical care and acute care beds.
The holiday season this year is expected to be particularly challenging for the health care system as Public Health is predicting the flu season peak will overlap with the holiday period between Christmas and New Year’s.
How to prevent the flu:
With flu season here, it’s important to protect yourself and the people you serve by getting the flu shot and helping your clients to get one.
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In addition to getting the flu vaccine, you can also protect yourself and those around you from the flu by:
- washing your hands frequently
- coughing and sneezing into the bend of your arm, not into your hand
- avoiding touching your nose, mouth or eyes with your hands
- cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that a lot of people touch, such as:
- television remotes
- eating healthy foods and doing physical activities to keep your immune system strong
- getting plenty of rest or sleep
If you do get sick, stay home and avoid contact with other people until your symptoms are gone. This will help prevent the spread of the virus.
Thank you for protecting yourself from the flu and for helping to ensure a well-functioning health care system over the coming months.