Influenza is an infection caused by a virus. Symptoms of the flu include sore throat, stuffy nose, fever, chills, muscle aches and fatigue. Some people confuse the flu with a cold, but flu symptoms are usually much more serious. Every year the flu costs society a significant amount in terms of health care resources, lost time at school or work, and disability and death.
Most people who get influenza will be sick for several days and make a full recovery. However, young children, the elderly or people with existing health problems are at a higher risk of having to be hospitalized because of the flu.
Each year the flu vaccine is made available to all eligible Ontarians aged 6 months and older. Getting vaccinated protects you, but more importantly prevents spreading the disease to other people. You can get the flu shot from your family physician, walk-in clinics, public health clinics and most pharmacies.
In some years the vaccine isn’t an ideal match for the flu strain in our community. It’s important to know that although the vaccine may not provide 100% protection, partial protection is better than none. So if you get the flu, the length time you are sick and the severity of symptoms are reduced by the flu shot.
Most people will have no side effects from the vaccine, although temporary pain, swelling and soreness at the injection site can occur.
If you have an egg allergy, you should consult your physician before getting the vaccine. Injection-trained pharmacists are able to vaccinate anyone 5 years and older. The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy is offering a number of opportunities to get vaccinated. Please call to find a time convenient for you.
Prevent the flu in Waterloo Region this year. Get vaccinated and remember to wash your hands frequently.