Should I get the seasonal flu shot?
YES, says the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, because:
A flu shot is the best protection against getting the flu. It can reduce the risk of illness.
Ontario offers free seasonal flu immunization to its residents.
In the past, seasonal flu has resulted in approximately 19,000 hospitalizations every year in Ontario, as well as 300 deaths annually.
Those at greatest risk from seasonal flu – and are strongly encouraged to get the seasonal flu shot – include:
- children 6-23 months old
- persons 65 years of age and older
- pregnant women
- adults and children with chronic health conditions, such as:
- heart or lung disease
- cancer and other conditions that compromise the immune system
- kidney disease
- diseases of the blood
- long-term treatment with Aspirin® (children and adolescents only)
Family members and those who provide care to the above listed are also strongly advised to get vaccinated against seasonal flu to protect themselves and those around them.
FLU MYTH: I don’t need the flu shot because the flu is not serious.
FACT: The flu is much more serious than the common cold, notes Dr. Paul Katz, vice-president of Medical Services and chief of staff at Baycrest. For people who are young and otherwise healthy that means taking an average of three or four days off work or school with symptoms like fever, muscle aches, fatigue, cough and runny nose. For high risk groups, including older adults, children under the age of 5 and pregnant women, the flu can be fatal.