Protect yourself this fall and winter
What you can do to stay healthy during the respiratory illness season.
No one thing on its own is 100% effective at preventing the spread of respiratory infections but practicing public health measures provides the best protection. This includes:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hand.
- Stay home when sick, and if unable to stay at home, wear a mask and avoid vulnerable populations.
- Consider wearing a mask indoors, especially in crowded spaces where you can’t keep a safe and comfortable distance from others.
- Get vaccinated and stay up to date with vaccinations.
Vaccines help lower the risk of infection, work to reduce severe outcomes if infected, and aid your body's natural defenses to develop protection against a disease.
About the vaccines
The COVID-19 and flu vaccines are free, safe, and effective ways to protect yourself, prevent severe illness, and are available for adults and children over 6 months of age.
Through the Ontario government's High-Risk Older Adults RSV Vaccine Program, adults 60 years or older residing in long term care homes, Elder Care Lodges, and some retirement homes may be eligible for the RSV vaccine, Arexvy. If adults 60 years or older don't qualify for the free RSV vaccine, they can still purchase the vaccine with a prescription from their family doctor or other primary care provider.
Where to go for care
During this time of year, hospital emergency rooms experience a high volume of patients, resulting in longer than usual wait times.
If you or a family member are experiencing a medical emergency or serious injury, visit your nearest emergency department. If you’re unsure if you need to go to the emergency department, you can:
- Call your doctor or primary care provider.
- Book an appointment with a nurse practitioner at the Regional Virtual Urgent Care Clinic to address issues virtually.
- Call Health Connect Ontario at 811 or chat online with a nurse 24/7.
- Access an Urgent Care clinic for non-life-threatening illnesses or injuries.
How to book an appointment
There are many ways to get the COVID-19 and flu vaccines. Find out how to book an appointment for: