By now everyone has heard of Health Canada recommendations to get the flu shot every year. You also know that it is now available more readily through pharmacies and medical clinics. But do you know how the vaccine works and how it can protect you from the flu?

Can I Get the Flu from the Flu Shot?

There is a myth that the flu vaccine will cause you to get the flu. This is simply not correct. The vaccine is made up of an inactivated dose of the flu virus and this cannot infect you. The inactivated virus is not the same as the live flu virus which circulates during the flu season. They cannot develop into a live flu virus once you have been vaccinated. What the flu shot does is it prompts your body to begin to build up its defences thereby making you stronger and much more resistant to the flu virus. It can take up to two weeks for your body to begin to develop its protection against the flu virus after you receive the shot. However, it is possible that you could get sick prior to your body being protected. This doesn’t mean that the flu vaccine gave you the flu.

When Should I Get the Flu Shot?

You should get the shot every year. The reason for this is because the flu virus changes each year. The vaccine will protect you for about one year against the recommended top three strains of the flu virus. These strains are the most likely strains to be circulated during that year’s flu season.

The World Health Organization identifies these strains each year. This is based on scientific research that considers several factors.

  1. Identifying which of the flu virus strains are currently making people sick
  2. Determining exactly how the flu is currently spreading
  3. Examining just how effective the vaccine was last season

The flu vaccine which is administered this year is not necessarily the same formula that was used last year. Contrary to some misconceptions, the flu vaccine in Canada is safe. All vaccines in Canada are highly regulated and monitored by Health Canada. The flu vaccine in Ontario is monitored and regulated by Public Health Ontario and is reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada. The ingredients in the flu shot are safe. This has been proven through scientific research.

Flu Prevention

Yearly, the flu shot program in Ontario prevents:

  • 200,000 visits to doctors’ offices
  • as many as 300 deaths
  • 30,000 visits to hospital ERs
  • 1,000 hospitalizations

The flu vaccine can prevent the flu in 60 percent to 80 percent of healthy adults and children as well as about 50 percent in the elderly, when the flu vaccine is evenly matched to the current season’s flu strains.

Studies have shown that for elderly persons the flu shot will decrease incidences of hospital admission, pneumonia and even death.

Getting the flu shot every year just makes sense. Not only does it prevent you from getting the flu, it also prevents you from passing it on to others thereby preventing outbreaks.

Speak with the staff at Brant Arts today to find out when you can get your flu shot in Burlington.