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It’s flu season! Lower your risk, get immunized.

submitted to EFP

The Windsor–Essex County Health Unit urges everyone over the age of 6 months to get their annual influenza immunization and lower their risk of getting the flu this year.

The influenza (“flu”) season is here. 

It is important to remember that anyone can get the flu.  It is a respiratory infection, caused by the flu virus.  It can spread quickly and easily when someone with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks.  You can pass it to others before you even know you are sick.  Flu symptoms include fever, chills, cough, headache, muscle aches, runny nose, and tiredness. The flu can result in very serious illness, especially for young children, older adults, pregnant women, and those with chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, asthma and diabetes.

Last year’sz flu season in Windsor-Essex County had 304 lab confirmed cases of influenza and 8 influenza-related deaths. Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit states, “The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from influenza and its related complications is to get your annual influenza vaccination. The flu vaccine usually takes up to two weeks to work, so it is highly recommended to get the vaccine early, at the beginning of the flu season.”

New this year, adults 65 years and older have the option of receiving a high-dose flu vaccine free.  The high dose vaccine provides additional protection against the strains of flu virus most likely to cause illness in this age group. If you are over the age of 65 years, please talk to your doctor about which vaccine is best for you.

This year’s flu vaccine will be available from your family physician, nurse practitioner, walk-in clinics, and for anyone 5 years and older the vaccine is also available from participating pharmacies.

In Essex, you can visit Essex Pharmasave in the Unit #1, 35 Victoria Avenue, Guardian Drug Store, located at 169 Talbot Street South, or Brady’s Drug Store, offering a unique experience using VR-goggles, located at 186 Talbot Street South, in the Essex Medical Centre.

The circulating strains of the flu virus changes from year-to-year and the flu vaccine is developed each year to match the most common strains; therefore, it is important to get your flu vaccine every year.   The vaccine is safe; reactions are usually mild, and may include redness, soreness, and swelling at the injection site.  The vaccine contains a weakened or inactivated form of the virus, therefore you cannot get the flu from the vaccine. The Health Unit urges everyone over the age of 6 months to talk to their health care provider about getting the flu vaccine. 

The flu vaccine is still the best way to protect yourself. Other ways to protect yourself and your family from the flu this season include regular handwashing, staying hydrated and eating a balanced diet, and getting plenty of rest and exercise.  Keep areas that many people touch clean, because the virus can live for several hours on surfaces, such as doorknobs.  

Lower your risk and get immunized.

For more information about the flu, visit wechu.org.

#FluShot #GetImmunizeda

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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