It's that time of year again... I know, right? Well, we can all be proactive in helping our immune systems fight off the flu (influenza viruses) and Penny Fausta is ready to help. Come down to Penny Fausta on West 19th. Our pharmacists will be happy to assist you with getting this seasons flu shot. It is free if you live, work or go to school in Alberta!
A bit of information about the flu and getting a flu shot from Alberta Health Services.
What is the flu?
The flu (influenza) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills. (It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults
Quick facts about the flu
- Pneumonia is the most common complication of the flu.
- The flu can make other health problems worse
- Even healthy, young people can get very sick and die from influenza
- Each year, more than 12,000 people in Canada are admitted to hospital and 3,500 die from the flu
- The flu can easily spread when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or even talks
- The viruses can be breathed in
- People can be exposed to it when they touch something that carries the virus (e.g., hands, objects) and then touch their eyes or nose
- A flu virus can spread before symptoms start
Why get a flu shot?
Vaccines make your immune system stronger by building antibodies which helps prevent you from getting the flu.
Is it safe to get a flu shot?
It is much safer to get a flu shot than to get a flu virus.
Who should have a flu shot?
Everyone (6 months and older) should get a flu shot. Everyone is at risk of influenza, and anyone can get very sick and develop complications. However, the risk is highest if you:
- have existing health problems (e.g.,heart/lung conditions, diabetes, weak immune system, morbid obesity/very overweight)
- live in a care facility (e.g., nursing home)
- are 65 years or older
- are a child under 5 years old
- are pregnant
- are Indigenous
It is important for the above people and their close contacts (e.g., family, caregivers, healthcare providers) to get a flu shot every season.
Are there different types of flu shots?
Yes, there are many types of flu vaccine. Every year, Alberta Health reviews information to make the best decision on which vaccines will be offered for free. Your health care provider can talk to you about which vaccine is best for you.
How many doses of this vaccine are needed?
If your child is less than 9 years of age, and getting a flu shot for the first time, your child will need 2 doses of vaccine, given at least 4 weeks apart. For everyone else, one dose is needed each flu season (late fall through winter).
How well does a flu shot work?
The vaccine lowers your risk of getting influenza by about half. The influenza vaccine can keep you from getting influenza, make influenza less severe if you do get it, and keeps you from spreading influenza to your family and others. How well the vaccine works changes from one flu season to another. A new vaccine is made every year to protect against the 3 or 4 flu viruses that are most likely to cause sickness that season. Even when the vaccine does not exactly match the viruses going around, it can still give some protection. Protection starts about 2 weeks after you get the vaccine.
Where can I get the vaccine?
Influenza immunization is given at Alberta HealthServices (AHS) Influenza Immunization Clinics, from late October to the end of March. To find local clinic schedules, visit www.ahs.ca/influenza or call HealthLink at 811. Many family doctors and pharmacists also offer free flu shots. If you want a type of influenza vaccine that is not free, you may be able to buy it at a pharmacy. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is right for you. Check with your health insurance provider as some plans may cover the cost.
How to prevent spreading influenza
- Get a flu shot
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap or
- Use an alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitizer) often
- Cover your cough or sneeze into your arm or a tissue, not your hand
- Stay home when you are sick
Penny Fausta is a Calgary based independent pharmacy offering a full suite of pharmacy services along with high quality, healthy products. Come down to Penny Fausta on West 19th and check out the complete line of products and services.
217 - 19 St NW
Calgary, AB, Canada
Ph: 403 455-6580