When will you get the flu? It depends on where you live
Wouldn’t it be nice to know when you might get the flu? Then you could do everything you could to avoid it. And while we don’t have a crystal ball to see into the future. But we have seen research that shows flu season patterns across Canada – and that is kind of the same thing. (Protect yourself with these five doctor-recommended immune boosters!)
What areas of Canada are at higher risk to get the flu?
According to research from McMaster University, influenza usually emerges in Alberta first, followed by B.C. and Ontario. The temperature patterns showed a similar pattern, with Alberta having low temperatures and low humidity earliest in the fall.
The study shows that cooler temperatures and lower humidity in the fall have an effect on how early the flu season begins. Flu viruses survive best in low humidity, and that’s the kind of environment where flu particles can linger on surfaces and in the air. (Not sure if you have a cold or the flu? This is how you can tell.)
“We found that when there are lower temperatures and humidity in the autumn, the likelihood of an early seasonal influenza epidemic increases,” study co-author David Earn said in a press release.
The researchers studied flu patterns across Canada from October 1999 to August 2012 using data from the Public Health Agency of Canada, as well as daily climate data obtained from Canada’s National Climate Archive. Climate data from the most populous city in each province was used as a benchmark to represent the entire province.
So, now that we know this, what do we do?
We can use this information to protect ourselves. “This is something public health officials might want to consider when determining the timing of a vaccination program,” said Earn.
For people living in regions with low temperatures and humidity in the early autumn, the study suggests there is greater value in vaccinating them earlier.