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Tips and Facts about the Flu

The onset of autumn is a part of living in Canada but there’s one season that’s avoidable: the flu season.

·     Right now, Ontarians can receive free flu immunization at doctors’ offices, participating pharmacies as well as public health and other community flu clinics throughout the province. Visit www.ontario.ca/flu to find a flu clinic near you. The sooner you get the flu shot, the sooner you’re protected.

 

·         Who should get the flu shot? 

o   If there’s a chance you may find yourself beside a sneezing, coughing person on the bus, at school, at work – get the flu shot.

o   The flu can survive up to 24 hours on a surface outside the human body. If you touch common objects such as doorknobs, phones, computers, counter tops – you name it – get the flu shot!

o   In other words, if you live out there in the real world – in touch with people and things – you may be exposed to the flu virus.  So get the flu shot! The sooner you get it, the sooner you’re protected.

o   Those at greatest risk of serious complications from the flu are the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, individuals with weakened immune systems, and those with chronic medical conditions, and so it’s especially important that these groups and people close to them get immunized.

 

·    Influenza is a serious illness that can lead to pneumonia but it’s often preventable. People who get the flu may suddenly get a fever, chills, cough, runny eyes, stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, extreme weakness or fatigue. Symptoms may vary from person to person.

·    Sneezes can travel up to two to three meters and reach speeds up to 160 km/hour, making it a very easy way of spreading germs.

·     The flu shot is the best way to avoid getting the flu.  The annual flu vaccine protects against three strains of the influenza virus that are expected to most commonly circulate in the given year.  The vaccine can prevent influenza from occurring up to 80% of the time in healthy adults who’ve been immunized. The flu shot also helps stop the spread of the virus to your family, friends, colleagues and classmates.

·    Other ways to help prevent the spread of the flu: sneeze or cough into a tissue or your sleeve; keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer handy; wash hands thoroughly and often; and keep surfaces and items disinfected.

·     Fall is the time to get the flu shot. The sooner you get it, the sooner your immune system starts building antibodies. It can take up to two weeks for antibodies to build up after you get the flu shot.  

·     For a complete listing on where you can get the flu shot and for more information, visit www.ontario.ca/flu

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