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Be prepared for flu season, get the flu shot

Nov. 20 – It’s back.

The 2019 flu season has already begun.

In Canada, the flu is among the leading causes of death – claiming 3,500 lives last year alone. The flu is a serious condition that can lead to hospitalization in the young, elderly, or those with weakened immune systems. People infected with the flu can spread it to others one day before the first symptoms begin and five days afterwards. The virus can also live on surfaces for up to two days.

How can you be prepared? Get the flu shot. The flu shot is the best defence against the flu and is available for free at your doctor’s office or local pharmacy. Health Canada recommends everyone six months of age or older should get the flu shot each year. You should get a flu shot as soon as possible because it takes two weeks to take effect.

“The flu shot works,” said Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, Haldimand-Norfolk Medical Officer of Health. “There is simply no better way to protect the health of yourself, your family and your neighbours than to get the vaccine.”

There are many other ways to prevent the flu from spreading, including:

 

  • Wash your hands often
  • Cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Clean commonly touched surfaces and items such as toys, door handles, and phones
  • Stay home if you or your child is sick

 

A few common symptoms associated with the flu include fever, chills, cough, body aches, stuffy, runny nose, headache, fatigue, and/or sore throat.

It’s important to keep in mind that the flu shot is safe for pregnant women and nursing mothers as well as those with an allergy to eggs. Severe reactions are extremely rare – you cannot get the flu from the flu shot.

For more information, visit hnhu.org/health-topics/flu-and-cold/.