Friday, October 12, 2012
Huron County Health Unit
Get Your Flu Shot Early: Huron County Health Unit
Flu shot clinics start this month across the County and local public health officials are encouraging residents to get their flu shot early in the season.
Public Health Nurse, RuthAnn Ogilvie, says the body takes two weeks to build up full protection after getting the flu shot. “We expect to see flu activity in Ontario soon, so we hope people will take advantage of the free clinics over the next several weeks.” Ogilvie says this year’s seasonal flu shot is expected to have good protection against viruses that will be circulating.
Influenza, commonly called the flu, is a highly contagious viral infection of the nose, throat and lungs. It spreads rapidly from person to person through droplets from the nose and throat of someone infected particularly when they cough and sneeze.
Symptoms start with a headache, chills and cough, followed rapidly by fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches and fatigue, running nose, sneezing, watery eyes and throat irritation. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur, especially in children. It lasts 7-10 days and the cough may last weeks.
Influenza can easily spread to those at risk for serious illness. This group includes babies and young children, the elderly, or anyone with medical conditions like asthma, kidney disease, diabetes, cancer or heart problems.
The Huron County Health Unit is holding free flu clinics across Huron County starting in mid-October. The full list of clinics will be in community newspapers and on the health unit website: www.huroncounty.ca/health.
Ogilvie says the best way to avoid getting the flu is by getting the flu shot. “The flu shot is a safe, effective way to protect yourself, your family, your classmates, your co-workers, and your friends from getting the flu.” It is free for people who live, work, or go to school in Ontario.
People cannot get the flu from the flu shot. The shot does not contain a live virus. It is still possible to get the flu even if you’ve had the flu shot. But the illness will likely be less severe because the flu shot has given the body the chance to build antibodies against the viruses.
Other ways to stay healthy during flu season and to limit the spread of the flu include washing your hands often and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze. You should also eat a well-balanced diet, get regular exercise to keep your immune system strong, and stay home from school or work when you feel sick.
Huron County Health Unit
519-482-3416 ext 2224