Pharmacists Urge Canadians Not To Underestimate the Importance of Getting Vaccinated
Flu Season 2019Jessica Singer
The first flu shots for the 2019-20 flu season rolled out in Ontario last week, and pharmacists are urging Canadian citizens to protect themselves by getting vaccinated.
While flu shots are free and easily accessible, it seems that many Canadian’s underestimate the importance of getting the flu shot.
According to a survey commissioned by Environics Research, more than half of Canadians do not care whether they get the flu. This is problematic, as the flu is very contagious and can affect others who are high-risk.
“This particular disease, if you will, is something that can be debilitating, not just to oneself, but to other people that have immunocompromised systems, or people who are of high-risk like babies, children, or the elderly,” said pharmacist, Manika Moody.
“This is where we need to understand and help people understand that getting vaccinated is really important to protect not just themselves, but their family.”
Many Canadians also admit they have gone to work or sent their children to school when sick.
This is perhaps due to misinformation, or miscommunication surrounding the difference between the cold and the flu. The flu and the common cold are both contagious, viral respiratory infections, but they affect the body differently.
“The flu almost feels as if you have been hit by a truck to be honest, muscle aches, fever,” explained Moody. “It happens right away. It is not something that has a gradual build-up, whereas a cold can generally have a few days to kick in, and you have certain symptoms you know you will be getting.”
Millions of Canadians come down with the flu each year. Although many recover fully, majority of Canadian’s also don’t know that the flu causes an average 3,500 deaths, and 12,000 hospitalizations annually.
In a University setting, students are often eating out, taking the bus to campus, or live in close proximity to others. This increases one’s chances of getting sick, including not just the common cold, but the flu.
To protect yourself and others against the flu, vaccinations are key. But other preventative measures include eating healthy, getting rest, and of course, washing your hands.
“Washing your hands is the number one thing,” said Moody. “Also being aware that if you’re not feeling well, to take care of yourself, and not come into work or school. You’re not just affecting yourself, but you’re affecting others.”
You can get vaccinated at any local pharmacy, or Shoppers Drug Mart. On campus, you can book an appointment with Student Health Services. Just stop by the campus clinic, or phone 519-661-3030 during office hours.