Flu season at St. Michael’s

St. Michael’s first priority is the safety of our patients and staff, and that includes protecting our patients and staff from influenza (flu). The flu can be dangerous to hospital patients.

To help protect our patients during flu season, visitors who have not yet had their flu shot will be expected to wear a surgical mask while visiting the hospital.

Masks are available at nursing stations around the hospital.

I haven’t had a flu shot but I’m not sick. Why do I need to wear a surgical mask?

If you’ve caught the flu, you may not feel very sick at first, or may not feel sick at all. However you can still spread flu to others. It’s possible to have/spread the flu and not know it.

What is a surgical mask?

A surgical mask, also known as a procedure mask, is a disposable mask that covers a person’s mouth and nose. It’s easy to breathe and speak through. Surgical masks can reduce the chance of spreading airborne diseases such as the flu. When you’re done with your mask, you can throw it away.

Where can I get a surgical mask?

Masks are available at nursing stations around the hospital.

What is the flu shot?

The flu shot is a vaccine that protects against some strains of the influenza (flu) virus. Because flu strains change every year, so does the flu shot. The most effective way to prevent the spread of the flu is by getting a flu shot, and washing your hands regularly. To learn more about the flu shot, visit www.ontario.ca/page/flu-facts.

Where can I get a flu shot?

You can get a flu shot from your family doctor, or at most pharmacies. St. Michael’s doesn’t offer flu shots to hospital visitors.

If St. Michael’s doctors and staff choose not to get a flu shot, do they wear masks too?

Yes. Like most Toronto hospitals, St. Michael’s asks our staff and clinicians to either get the flu shot or wear a mask in areas where patients are present and/or care is provided.

When is flu season?

Flu season is declared at St. Michael’s when our Infection Prevention and Control team and Toronto Public Health confirm that influenza is widely circulating in the community. It usually begins in early December and ends by April.

I think I might have the flu.

If you are experiencing fever, cold or flu like symptoms, diarrhea or vomiting, please stay home: do not visit the hospital.

Thank you for helping us protect our patients from the flu.