Flu season is around the corner. Are you ready?

The kids are settled into school, the leaves are changing, and we’ve started adding layers most days when we head out for the day. It’s already nearing the end of September and we’re getting ready for the inevitable.

Flu season.

We can count on it. Every year it’ll arrive, and every year it’ll claim ~3500 Canadian and ~36,000 American lives, and result in ~12,500 hospitalizations here in Canada. The flu kills almost twice as many people in Canada as car accidents do.

We know what to do. We know how to protect ourselves and everyone around us. But flu prevention isn’t as effective when only practiced by individuals. It requires a community effort to best reduce the spread of this disease. When we all do our part, we not only significantly reduce our own chance of contracting the flu, we also reduce the chance we’ll pass it on to others in our communities, some who might not survive it.

The choices we make will either increase or decrease the amount of risk we pose on everyone we come in contact with.

Your flu shot could stop the flu from reaching someone who’s high risk – if you get it.

You staying home sick can prevent the flu from spreading to someone who’s caring for a cancer patient – if you stay home with flu-like symptoms.

Your covered sneeze can stop flu germs from infecting someone with a heart condition – if you cover it.

Your choice can save someone’s life. You can do that. You! But you have to make that choice, and make as many of those choices as you’re able to.

So let’s review. How do we prevent the flu?

Print this! It would look great in your office. Ask if your doctor would like a copy!

Alone, none of these are a guarantee you’ll avoid the flu. The flu shot is your best first defense, so get it early to reduce your risk through the season and avoid spreading it. But then add in all these other habits, too. Each one of these will not only help prevent the spread of the flu, but other infectious diseases, too, and we could all use less illness in our lives.

So let’s plan and let’s take action. Let’s take every step we’re able to so together, as communities, we’re all healthier and safer. It takes all of us doing our part. Are you ready? Flu Prevention Week is happening this year from October 28th – November 1st. Check out all our tips now, but also join us that week as we drive the conversation on social media. We need your help.

Keep an eye on your local pharmacy or chat with your doctor for updates on when flu shots will be available in your region, then plan ahead. We’ll have some updates on flu shot availability in Canada next week. Get yours as soon as it’s available. Are you in the US? Yours are likely already out in your region. Go now. Remember that it takes up to two weeks to develop immunity from the flu. Make sure you’re covered before being with someone who is higher risk. It might save someone’s life this year, and that’s everything.

We all have people in our lives we want to protect. Who is your flu shot for? Share it with us on social media with #forjudeforeveryone. Help us spread the message and grow this conversation. ~3500 more Canadian and ~36,000 more American families will be like mine by the end of this flu season – but they don’t have to. Let’s all do our part to prevent stories like ours.

My flu shot is for me, for Jude who is gone, for my family who is still here, and for you. I will do everything I can each year to prevent the spread of the flu.
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