By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Flu season has arrived despite the unseasonably warm temperatures.
Nuzhat Sirajuddeen, a public health nurse with the Durham Health Department says sooner is always better than later when it comes to receiving the flu shot.
“The health department recommends that everybody get their flu shot. Better to get it early than late,” she says.
This year’s vaccine was recently released, and Sirajuddeen says it provides protection against four strains of the flu.
This makes the vaccine more efficient, she believes, because it is available to everyone.
“Last year, there were different eligibility criteria for different products.”
Research shows influenza causes approximately 12,000 hospitalizations and kills 3,500 people every year in Canada.
For most individuals, the sickness will linger for seven to 10 days with symptoms that may include muscle aches, chills, loss of appetite, sore throat, fever, headache, and fatigue.
Sirajuddeen says it’s important to remember that the flu is different from the common cold.
There are a number of populations that are especially vulnerable to influenza. While the shot is recommended for everyone over the age of six months, groups such as those with underlying health conditions and weak immune systems, small children, seniors, and pregnant woman are at the highest risk.
The flu vaccine is offered through local health care providers, such as family doctors, nurse practitioners, and walk-in clinics. Pharmacies also 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, should call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.