It’s that time of year again. While healthy people generally will recover in 7 to 10 days, for the elderly, children and those suffering with chronic illness the flu can be life threatening. Influenza causes approximately 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year. Getting vaccinated against the flu each fall is the best way to help prevent influenza infection. This year’s vaccine is now available from your family doctor, many pharmacies, public health units or walk-in medical clinics.
Have questions about the flu shot? Here are some of the most common comments Dr. Jeff Powis, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control at Michael Garron Hospital hears from patients when he talks about the vaccine:
“I can fight off the flu, my immune system is strong”.
When you get a flu shot, it doesn’t just protect you, it protects all of us. “Influenza is one of the top ten causes of death in Canada and it’s the ONLY one that is vaccine preventable,” explains Dr. Powis. “Why take the chance?”
“I felt achy after the flu shot last year”.
Studies have demonstrated that diffuse muscles aches are not more common among those who get the flu vaccine compared to a placebo. The only adverse event that is more common in those who get the flu vaccine is a sore arm.
“The flu vaccine doesn’t work. Why bother”.
Although the flu vaccine isn’t perfect, it’s still worth getting, and may reduce the severity of flu symptoms. “The analogy I like to make is, do you wear your seatbelt? Seatbelts only reduce the chance of injury in a car accident, they don’t eliminate it,” says Dr. Powis. “They reduce the chance of injury by about the same frequency as the flu shot reduces the chance of getting influenza!”
In the neighbourhood? Visit our "pop-up flu shot shop" on the first floor by Admitting, or get your shot at Pharmasave during the following hours:
11am -6pm Sunday
Watch this video to learn more about some of the most common myths about the flu shot.