Rural Pharmacist : Flu Season is Approaching.. Get your Free Flu Shot at Rosslyn & Kakabeka IDA Pharmacy!
-Devon Myers, Pharmacist & Owner
It’s that time of the year again but no, we’re not talking about the start of another NHL season “cough”. Go Leafs. The flu season is approaching, and it typically begins mid-October lasting until April of the following year. The annual influenza vaccine or “flu shot” is the most effective method to protect ourselves and others from contracting influenza (aka the flu). For those of you who are unfamiliar with the vaccination, we’ll give you a quick run-down on how to keep yourself, and others, healthy this flu season.
The “flu” is an infection caused by the influenza virus. Many of us have either experienced the symptoms of an influenza infection or we know somebody who has. For teenagers and adults, the common symptoms include a dry cough and the quick onset of a fever. In addition, some people may experience muscle pain and fatigue. For the majority of healthy individuals our bodies can fight off the infection within a week or 2. With that being said, individuals can be contagious even before they experience symptoms. In general, the virus can be transmitted 1 day before symptoms appear and for up to 5 days after the onset of symptoms. Unfortunately, this means that we may inadvertently pass along the virus to people who may be at a higher risk of developing complications from the infection. People who are considered to be at a higher risk of influenza-related complications include pregnant women, people 65 years of age and older, children between 6 and 59 months of age, indigenous peoples and individuals with chronic health conditions such as, but not limited to, diabetes, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In addition, it is recommended that people capable of transmitting influenza to those at high risk receive influenza immunization. This may include health care workers and household contacts of high-risk patients. Fortunately, there are a number of places where you can receive the annual flu vaccine including your local pharmacy!
In Ontario, pharmacists are trained to administer the influenza vaccine to patients who are 5 years of age or older. There are two routes of administration for the influenza vaccine, nasal inhalation and intramuscular (IM) injection. The nasal formulation is currently indicated only for patients between the ages of 2 and 17. For the majority of people, the intramuscular injection is the preferred method. It consists of a single 0.5mL dose injected into the deltoid muscle, or upper arm. And it’s free! It is worth noting, however, that a “high-dose” influenza vaccine has been recently recommended for some individuals 65 years of age and older, but it is not currently covered by the Ontario government.
Our pharmacists at Rosslyn IDA Pharmacy and Kakabeka IDA Pharmacy are trained to administer the annual influenza vaccine and are more than happy to answer any questions that you may. We anticipate the arrival of this year’s vaccine sometime during mid-October. Keep an eye out for signs in the community and announcements on our Facebook page.
In the meantime, do your best to help prevent the spread of the influenza virus. This can be accomplished by practising frequent handwashing and by coughing or sneezing into tissues. If you do fall sick with this virus it is best to rest and stay home from work or school, albeit not under the best circumstances!
Get your flu shot and protect yourself and those around you. It’s free and conveniently available at your local IDA pharmacies in Rosslyn and Kakabeka Falls! Only takes a few minutes!