Fight the Flu
Prevention is key for individuals at high risk for influenza-related complications
Flu season is fast approaching and in the era of COVID-19, it’s vital to protect yourself from common colds and viruses that could cause a variety of serious health complications for people with an SCI.
Now’s the time to work closely with your primary care provider to optimize your well-being, schedule your flu shot at a safe clinic, and ensure you have the medical supplies you need. We’ve included some important facts below that will help formulate your flu-fighting plan!
Knowing Your Influenza Vaccines: FAQ
What are the available vaccines for the 2020-2021 season and which one should I receive?
9 to 64 years
Standard-dose quadrivalent (QIV)
65 years and over
High-dose trivalent (TIV) Fluzone High-Dose
What virus strains will this year’s flu shot target?
When will these vaccines be available?
Where can I get my vaccine?
Flu Treatment: Antiviral Facts
- Antivirals are not a substitute for the flu shot and won’t prevent the flu
- Antivirals are considered a treatment option in individuals who are at high risk for flu complications as they can decrease the duration of illness and help prevent complications
- Be sure to report symptoms and illness to your care provider right away — antiviral medications work best if started within 48 hours of onset of symptoms
- Antivirals for influenza include: Oseltamivir (Tamiflu, oral medication) and Zanamivir (Relenza, inhalation medication)
Your Flu Flighting Kit
- Including electrolyte replacement in case of vomiting or diarrhea (please speak to your care provider if you are currently on fluid restriction)
Hand sanitizer (60% alcohol)
(i.e. catheter and dressing supplies)
Pre-arrange help to get groceries and other supplies
Ensure you have your healthcare provider phone number on hand
- Over the counter pain medication to reduce fever and relieve muscle aches (i.e. Tylenol or Advil). If you are currently taking other medication — please check with your pharmacist to ensure you don’t exceed safe dosages.
- A 30-day supply of your daily prescription medicines and vitamins (if this will not create financial hardship)
Influenza vs. COVID-19: Symptom Checker
|Common symptoms||Fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, cough, nasal congestion, sore throat, fatigue||Fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of smell|
|How long before I have symptoms?
|Approximately 1-4 days after exposure||Approximately 2-14 days after exposure|
|When am I most likely to infect others?||You are most infectious after you are showing symptoms||You are most likely to infect someone else 2 days before you are showing symptoms|
|How long will I feel sick?||Symptoms usually peak during the first 3-7 days of being sick||Symptoms may peak during week 2 or 3 of being sick|
Canadian Pharmacists Association. (2018). Influenza. RxTx. Retrieved from: https://www.etherapeutics.ca/print/new/documents/CHAPTER/en/influenza
Public Health Agency of Canada. (September 18, 2020). Flu (influenza): symptoms & treatment. Retrieved from: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/flu-influenza.html
Spinal Cord Injury Ontario. (2020). COVID-19 guidance for SCI community. Retrieved from: https://sciontario.org/covid-19-guidance-for-sci-community/
Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario). (2020). Fact sheet: influenza vaccines for the 2020-2021 influenza season. Retrieved from: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/f/2020/fact-sheet-influenza-vaccine2020-2021.pdf?la=en
Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario). (2020). Fact sheet:
influenza antiviral treatment. Retrieved from: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-
Solomon, D.A., Sherman, A.C., & Kanijlal, S. (2020). Influenza in the COVID-19 Era. JAMA Insights: Clinical Update. Doi:10.1001/jama.2020.14661