Point Edward, ON – Fall is here and with it comes another flu season! Lambton Public Health (LPH) is asking residents to get their annual influenza (flu) vaccine at local pharmacies, health care provider offices and upcoming community clinics.
Last year, social distancing measures and lockdowns resulted in a very low number of influenza cases reported across Canada. However, as COVID-19 restrictions loosen and more people interact in more places, it is likely the flu will make a comeback this year.
“The influenza vaccine is proven to reduce the number of doctors’ visits, hospitalizations, and deaths related to the flu,” said Crystal Palleschi, Supervisor of Health Protection for Lambton Public Health. “Protect yourself and your loved ones by getting a seasonal flu shot. It’s the safest and most effective way to prevent the spread of the virus.”
To avoid co-infection of COVID-19 and influenza, eligible residents are encouraged to get both the flu vaccine and two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Those who have not received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are able to safely receive both the COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine at the same time.
Similar to COVID-19, the influenza virus spreads through droplets that can enter the body through the eyes, nose and mouth. Typical symptoms include sudden onset of high fever, chills, sore throat, cough and muscle aches. Recovery generally takes a week to 10 days, but can result in hospitalization or death in rare cases.
Individuals who are more vulnerable to flu complications are:
- 65 years of age or older;
- Under 5 years of age ;
- Living in a care facility; and/or
- Have a chronic health condition
“It is crucial for you to get your flu shot if you are in close contact with any of the groups listed above,” said Crystal. These populations are prioritized for flu shots starting in October, while the general population is eligible starting in November. Flu season typically runs from November to April when temperatures fall and people are in closer contact indoors. After getting the flu shot, it takes around two weeks for the vaccine to take effect and provide protection. The earlier you get vaccinated, the sooner you are protected. Because the influenza virus evolves and changes each year, LPH recommends annual vaccinations.
In addition to accessing the vaccine at local pharmacies and health care providers, Lambton Public Health will also be offering community flu shot clinics at various locations throughout Lambton County in November. These community clinics will be by appointment only.
Visit lambtonpublichealth.ca/flu-shot/ for further information or to schedule your flu shot appointment online. It’s the quickest and most efficient way to book your appointment at LPH community clinics. Family and friends are encouraged to help loved ones complete the online registration. Lambton Public Health is also available to assist from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 519-383-8331.