Spinal Cord Injury Ontario

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Fight the Flu

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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
(also available for 65 years and older)

Standard-dose quadrivalent (QIV)
FluLaval Tetra, Fluzone Quadrivalent, Flucelvax Quad

65 years and over
(also available for 65 years and older)

High-dose trivalent (TIV) Fluzone High-Dose
* Egg allergy is not a contraindication

What virus strains will this year’s flu shot target?
Influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2 strains), Influenza B (Yamagata and Victoria lineage)
(Trivalent has B Victoria only)

When will these vaccines be available?
Flu vaccines should be available by mid-October. Please get in touch with your primary care provider as soon as possible to schedule your appointment.

Where can I get my vaccine?
Preferably you’ll schedule an appointment at your primary care clinic, but vaccines will also be available at your local pharmacy. Please be vigilant and ensure a safe environment when getting your flu shot (i.e. ask what current public health measures are in place and always wear a mask).


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)


Connect to Ontario's virtual care clinic

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)

Facial tissue

Medical supplies
(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)

» Check out SCIO’s Emergency Preparedness Plan


Influenza vs. COVID-19: Symptom Checker

Influenza COVID-19
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?
(Incubation period)
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


  1. Canadian Pharmacists Association. (2018). Influenza. RxTx. Retrieved from:
  2. Public Health Agency of Canada. (September 18, 2020). Flu (influenza): symptoms & treatment. Retrieved from:
  3. Spinal Cord Injury Ontario. (2020). COVID-19 guidance for SCI community. Retrieved from:
  4. Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario). (2020). Fact sheet: influenza vaccines for the 2020-2021 influenza season. Retrieved from:
  5. Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario). (2020). Fact sheet:
influenza antiviral treatment. Retrieved from:
  1. 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



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