Flu Season is here

Cassidy McNea
By Cassidy McNea October 20, 2017 12:14
Roger Fielding, 55, gets his flu shot at Windsor Medical Clinic Family Health Centre. Photo by Cassidy McNea.

Roger Fielding, 55, gets his flu shot at Windsor Medical Clinic Family Health Centre. Photo by Cassidy McNea.

By Cassidy McNea

Flu season is here and health officials are recommending everyone over the age of six months get a flu shot.

According to health officials, getting the flu shot can prevent the spread of infection to groups who are more susceptible to getting sick. These groups include children, the elderly, pregnant women, those with pre-existing illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease and those with autoimmune diseases such as cancer.

“If you’re a young healthy adult you might just get a cough or fever but if you’re an elderly person you could end up with pneumonia or get admitted to the hospital,” said Erika Vitale, the infection prevention and control manager at Windsor Regional Hospital.

Vitale also said people should wash their hands, maintain good cough etiquette and stay home from school or work if they are ill. She recommended keeping away from others who are sick.

The flu shot is not one hundred per cent effective, so despite doctor recommendations, some people are opting out of the vaccination. Fred Sorrell, 31, a kitchen manager, doesn’t get vaccinated.

“I don’t protect myself from the flu, I embrace it. If you have a strong and healthy immune system your body does exactly as it’s meant to. Catch the flu, learn the flu, protect you from the flu. You would be surprised how much faster a self-reliant system can bounce back,” said Sorrell.

Sorrell also said he understands people with low immune systems may need the shot to beat the ailment.

Judy Allen is the manager of Healthy Schools, a school health team that focuses on health promotion initiatives for youth ages six to 24 years old, she says the best way to protect yourself against the flu is by getting the vaccine.

“There are lots of misconceptions about the flu shot. I’ve heard people say that it can give you the flu. The flu vaccine is made from killed virus particles so you can’t get the flu from it.

There are many cases of flu every year and there are cases where people are hospitalized or die because of the flu,” said Allen.

The flu shot is intended to be received every year and is based on different strains of influenza that are most common during that flu season.

Vitale said she thinks this year can be a bad one. Australia has just passed the peak of their flu season which has been very harsh. They have seen the most confirmed cases of influenza as well as the most hospitalizations in the last five years. Their season has also peaked a month earlier than usual.

Flu shot clinics will be offered in the community through the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. The flu shot is also readily available at pharmacies as a walk-in and at all physician’s offices.

Cassidy McNea
By Cassidy McNea October 20, 2017 12:14

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