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Back to… Respiratory Season!

The fall brings with it crisp air, vibrant colours and a return to a regimented routine at work and school. It also brings with it several illnesses. We shift from poison ivy, sunburn and heat exhaustion to the TOP FIVE OF AUTUMN! 

The first four of the top five are infectious – common colds, influenza, throat infections and norovirus. The fifth is seasonal allergies.   

COVID was devastating but it taught us how to take infection control into our own (well-washed) hands. We learned to mask when ill, cough into our sleeves, wash our hands and keep distance. All of these principles apply to avoiding other respiratory illness as well. COVID also is likely to make a bit of a comeback in the fall. Applying these precautionary measures may lessen risk of infection. 

In addition, updating vaccinations for COVID and influenza may also lessen our risk of infection. It is anticipated that a new vaccine that encompasses new variants of COVID will become available in the fall. The influenza vaccine is typically available in October in anticipation of flu season, and it is administered in a variety of settings including primary care providers, public health and pharmacies. 

Fall also brings gatherings in indoor spaces with others. An attempt to get outdoors may mitigate the risk of illness. Daycares are mandated to have children spend some time outdoors partly for this reason.   

Finally, viruses need a host whose defense mechanisms are low. Caring for your health with good nutrition, hydration and exercise makes you a not so welcoming host for the viruses that want to take up residence. Wishing you a fall that is healthy, and full of colour, bonfires and hayrides! 


Dr. Bhooma Bhayana is a family physician in London and the mother of two young men and proud grandmother of three! She continues to find wonder and enjoyment in family practice despite more than 30 years on the job!


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