‘Tis the season … for your flu shot
It is flu season and Kitchener-Waterloo Region wants you get your influenza vaccination. The immunizations are free and will be offered at a number of pharmacy clinics throughout K-W. The best way to prevent the flu is through vaccination.
However, if you’re squeamish or don’t have time for a shot Karen Quigley-Hobbs, the region’s director of infectious disease, suggested, “You need you make sure you’re doing all the things you’re mother told you to do. Wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick and eat properly.”
A recent study has shown that in Ontario, the flu shot can prevent the number of illnesses by 70 to 90 per cent in healthy adults. Quigley-Hobbs, explained that there are a number of different strains of influenza and receiving a vaccination does not make one immune.
The vaccination works by stimulating the immune system to build up antibodies against the virus. The vaccine is not a live vaccine so you cannot get influenza from the immunization.
However, it can take up to two weeks after vaccination for those antibodies to build up and people who receive the vaccination get still get influenza.
However, studies have still found that getting vaccinated can effectively eliminate up to 200,000 doctor’s visits and 30,000 emergency hospital visits every year.
“Part of the reason we want healthy people to get their flu shot is to protect people more vulnerable around them,” said Quigley-Hobbs. “People with weakened immune systems, the young and the elderly, are more likely to have severe complications.”
Influenza, which spreads through contact, can lead to pneumonia or other serious health problems. Last year, three people died of the flu and 17 more were hospitalized in Waterloo Region at the same time immunizations declined last year as compared to recent years.
“The flu is much worse than a common cold,” said Quigley-Hobbs. Symptoms of the flu include: fever, chills, cough, runny eyes, stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, extreme weakness and fatigue, ear aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
The closest clinic to Laurier campus is at the Shoppers Drugmart in Waterloo Town Square, which will be holding a clinic on Tuesday, Nov.29.
To get an immunization call, 519-884-1500 to first book an appointment and bring your health card to the appointment.
“I’ve made my appointment,” said Michelle McDonnell a pharmacist at the Shoppers Drugmart. She stressed the importance of getting immunized once a year to prevent illness from different strains of influenza.
For more information on the nearest pharmacy go to: www.ontario.ca/flu or call the Ministry of Health’s INFOLine at 1-866-532-3161.