Flu shot free and easy way to save lives

Henrietta Brewer
November 6, 2019

So far, the most common strands of the 2019-2020 flu season have been found to be Influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B/Victoria viruses.

With influenza expected to arrive on a larger scale any week now, CTVNews.ca takes a look at this year's expected activity and how Canadians can keep themselves healthy.

Most prescribed advice suggests that you can reduce the risk of catching influenza or spreading it to others by washing your hands regularly, eating well, exercising, and getting the influenza vaccine.

Flu season typically peaks between December and February, and it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to build full immunity to the illness. "Getting vaccinated is important not only for ourselves, but for the people around us". In October, the Free Press reported that 17 people with lab-confirmed cases of the flu died in Manitoba previous year, while 42 were admitted to intensive care units.

Anyone five years of age or older can also be immunized at a pharmacy.

Here's the thing: getting a flu shot isn't just about protecting yourself from the flu.

Not all British Columbians can get the influenza vaccine for free and a Canadian vaccination researcher says that needs to change in order to save lives and money in the long run.

Colds are relatively minor infections of the throat and nose that are caused by more than 200 different viruses.

"This year, it's a little too early to tell how effective the flu shot will be", Sohal said. Those are the two only two strains of influenza A to have been reported in Canada since September 1. Flu symptoms appear one to four days after exposure to the virus. Nationally, the flu kills an estimated 3,500 Canadians every year. The vaccination will be available for immunization efforts for the 2020-2021 influenza season. According to Gorfinkel, the target for vaccination is 80 per cent.

The flu can turn deadly when there are other infections involved, when it aggravates another health condition or when there's an overwhelming immune response to the infection.

FluMist, a nasal spray used as an alternative to the traditional flu shot, is in the midst of a global shortage.

As parents across the country begin hauling their children to influenza vaccination clinics, many are being caught off-guard by the discovery that a painless alternative to the traditional shot won't be available in Canada this year.

Sohal recommends that all children over the age of six months receive vaccinations, with those under the age of five going to a physician and older kids having the option of being vaccinated at a pharmacy. "It seems to be a widespread problem affecting anybody who's involved in the delivery of flu shots".

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