Flu season is approaching: What you need to know!

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from the Health Unit

Influenza is a preventable illness that can cause serious lung infection for young children, pregnant individuals, and people who are older or have chronic health problems such as diabetes, respiratory, cardiac, kidney disease or cancer.

Getting the influenza vaccine is good for everyone. When more people get their flu vaccine, the odds of the influenza virus spreading goes down. This protects those who are most vulnerable such as children under five, adults 65 years or older, pregnant individuals as well as those living with chronic health conditions like diabetes, cancer, and HIV/AIDS.

It is important for everyone to follow these steps to protect themselves as well as others in the community: Get the influenza vaccine, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, keep frequently touched hard surfaces clean and disinfected, cover your cough, and stay home when you are sick.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit recommends annual immunization against influenza for any persons over 6 months of age. There is a new flu vaccine produced each year to protect against the likely circulating strains of influenza A and B. Children who are over the age of 6 months and under the age of nine and are getting the influenza vaccine for the first time should get a second dose one month later. It takes approximately two weeks for the flu vaccine to reach maximum protection, so be sure to get the vaccine as soon as it is available.

Seniors and people with chronic health problems can receive the regular or high dose vaccine now from their physician or nurse practitioner. The province announced yesterday that the general population can look for their influenza vaccine (flu shot) in November at a pharmacy providing influenza vaccines or at their doctor or nurse practitioner as supply is available.

Influenza vaccination will be very important this fall with the presence of COVID-19 illness, in order to protect personal health as well as reduce the use of the healthcare system. The influenza vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time or at any time between them.

The flu vaccine does not contain live virus and thus is incapable of giving you influenza. Some people may have tenderness at the injection site for a few days, and some have a mild fever, feeling tired, or having muscle aches.

For more information about influenza, visit: https://healthunit.org/health-information/infectious-diseases/influenza/ or call 1-800-660-5853.

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