With the first snowfall on Arrowsmith also comes the beginning of flu season. And with flu season comes the call for flu shots.
“Flu shots are important because the flu is a transmissible disease that’s preventable,” said Maple Way Urgent Care Clinic Medicine Shoppe pharmacist Ty Hanson.
Even if you’re not bothered by the thought of getting the flu, Hanson said that there are people out there for who it’s a lot more dangerous.
“People should be getting flu shots because of transmission to people who are susceptible,” he said.
“It prevents elderly people from getting sick, people who have poor immune systems…they could all suffer more serious symptoms from contracting the flu.”
While flu vaccines being cooked up months in advance means that sometimes the predominant flu strain mutates in the months between the recipe being finalized and flu season beginning, Hanson said that any vaccine is better than none at all.
“A less than ideal match may result in reduced vaccine effectiveness against the virus that is different from what is in the vaccine, but it can still provide some protection against influenza,” he said.
“In addition, it’s important to remember that the flu vaccine contains three or four flu viruses (depending on the type of vaccine you receive) so that even when there is a less than ideal match or lower effectiveness against one virus, the vaccine may protect against the other viruses.”
The flu shot is available at doctors’ offices as well as pharmacies all around Port Alberni.
Both Medicine Shoppe locations have them in and so do Walmart, No Frills, Shoppers Drug Mart and Save-On-Foods. If you’re unsure about getting a shot, talk to a doctor or pharmacist.
Some individuals are eligible to receive flu shots free of charge.
• children between six months and five years of age
• pregnant women
• seniors 65 and up,
• residents of assisted living facilities or group homes
• First Nations
• children and teenagers who take aspirin for long periods of time
• people at high risk due to heart, kidney, lung and liver conditions
• people with cystic fibrosis
• those at high risk of spreading the disease such as health professionals, child caregivers and those who work in confined spaces.