Don’t get caught without your flu shot: health department

The Durham Region Health Department is once again urging area residents to fight the flu this season.

“The flu shot is your best protection,” said Nuzhat Sirajuddeen, a public health nurse with the health department.

“The flu shot can help to protect you from the influenza virus which can cause serious and contagious respiratory illness.”

The flu shot is recommended for everyone six-months of age and older.

Individuals who get sick with the flu can experience serious complications including pneumonia, dehydration, ear infections and, in rare cases, death. Research shows that the flu is responsible for approximately 12,000 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year. For most individuals, the flu will last between seven to 10 days with symptoms that may include muscle aches, chills, loss of appetite, sore throat, fever, headache and/or fatigue.

“It’s important to remember that the flu is different from the common cold,” explained Ms. Sirajuddeen.

“When people get sick with the flu, it can be very severe especially for children, older adults, people with chronic health conditions and pregnant women. The flu vaccine can help prevent the spread of the flu. By getting the flu shot each year you’re not only protecting yourself, you’re also protecting those around you, including our community’s most vulnerable populations.”

This year, everyone is eligible to receive the flu vaccine that protects against four strains of the virus. The flu vaccine is offered through local health care providers, such as family doctors, nurse practitioners and walk-in clinics. Pharmacies are also able to offer the vaccine to residents over the age of five. This year, it is expected that there will be more than 300 locations offering the flu vaccine in Durham Region.

Residents and families with children who are under the age of five, who have no OHIP coverage, or no access to a health care provider, are encouraged to call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.

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