With the onset of winter, we have three illnesses very similar to each other that we need to watch out: Cold, Flu, Covid. Dr. June from Sherbourne Health talks to us about the differences and how we need to watch out for them.
1. Winter is here and so is cold and flu season. How can people tell the difference between cold, flu, and COVID-19 symptoms?
It is very difficult to tell the difference between cold, flu, and COVID-19 symptoms because a lot of them overlap. Some people infected with COVID-19 don’t even know that they are infected (asymptomatic). The only way to know for certain is by taking a test. Public Health Ontario has good resources in different languages about COVID-19.
2. What should someone do if they are experiencing symptoms and they don’t know whether they are flu or COVID-19 related?
Get a COVID-19 test! There are many testing centres set up around the city. Right now, you can go to the temporary testing centre right in St. James Town, at The Corner.
3. Why is it more important than ever for people to get the flu shot?
It is always important to get a flu shot to protect yourself as well as those around you. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our hospitals are becoming over-filled with COVID-19 patients. It is more important than ever to keep yourself and your family protected so we do not overwhelm our health care system. This way, everyone can have access to the health care they need.
4. What are some of the challenges you are experiencing and how do you think this winter season will affect service delivery? Are there some preparations that Sherbourne Health Centre is doing to prepare for this winter season?
Many things have changed since the pandemic started in Canada in March. Sherbourne Health has created safety protocols for all our services to keep our clients and staff safe. If you have visited recently, you will have noticed infection control measures such as phone screening, in-person screening, mandatory masking, physical distancing, and increased cleaning protocols. Everything we offer needs to have a coronavirus perspective this year. Due to all these measures in place, you may find it is harder to access some services, or it simply takes longer to get services.
5. What would you like the St. James Town community to know and how can they better prepare themselves this winter?
Protect yourself and your community: wear a mask, follow physical distancing rules, and listen to the advice of public health authorities as our restrictions change and evolve. We all have a role to play in keeping this pandemic under control. The better we follow our public health advice; the sooner we can return to our old normal. Lastly, don’t forget to help each other through this winter, so everyone can stay healthy and supported.