Health

Not too Late to Get a Flu Shot

A woman with a headache

Reasons Why You Should Make the Flu Shot a Top Priority

Are you planning to travel, volunteer, visit your grandchildren or spend time with friends and family this winter? Don’t let a bout with the flu ruin your plans. Unlike the common cold, the influenza virus can cause a high fever, aches and pains,and severe fatigue.In some people,particularly older adults and those with weakened immune systems,the influenza virus can lead to serious complications, hospitalization and even death.

Most flu victims suffer for a week or 10 days with fever,fatigue,chills,body aches,headaches and sometimes stomach problems.On average,as many as 1,500 Canadians die every year as a result of serious complications arising from influenza. The flu shot is the only proven way to protect yourself against influenza this winter, by helping your body defend itself against the influenza virus.Since new strains of the virus appear each year,you need to be immunized every year to help prevent its spread.

Flu vaccination

  • 70 to 90 per cent effective (depending on the person)
  • starts working within about two weeks
  • remains effective for about eight months
  • should be taken every year as each new year brings a new flu strain
  • rarely causes side effects, though slight fever and muscle pain may occur six to 12 hours after the vaccinationFor more information,call the Canadian Coalition for Influenza Immunization at 613 725-3769.You can also email influenza@cpha.ca and check out www.influenza.cpha.ca. 

    Compiled by R. Legault.

    Here are some other tips to help you avoid getting the flu:

    Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer .

    Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your arm, not your hand.

    Stay at home if you are sick, and avoid contact with people who are sick with the flu.

    Clean surfaces such as keyboards, cell phones and counters often. Flu viruses can live on surfaces for up to eight hours.