Protecting yourself during the flu season

It’s that time of year again when kids are coming home with coughs and runny noses and we know flu season has arrived.  Most healthy people recover from the flu within a few days; however, influenza infection can lead to pneumonia, hospitalization or even death, especially for those at high risk, including the elderly, children under the age of five and those with certain chronic health conditions.

Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to protect yourself and those you love from getting sick.

Halton Region’s Health Department reports the best way to protect against getting and spreading the flu is to get the annual influenza immunization (flu shot). Remember that when you protect yourself, you protect those around you who may be at risk of severe illness from the flu.

Click here for a link to Ontario’s Flu Clinic Locator, which will give you the locations of all flu immunization clinics including pharmacies.

There are many options which make it easier for you to get your flu shot. In Halton, you can get your flu shot at your physician’s office, walk-in clinics, many pharmacies and some workplaces. Be sure to call the walk-in clinic or pharmacy before you go. Halton Region is also offering flu immunization clinics throughout the Region.

In addition to getting vaccinated, you should take everyday precautions by washing your hands frequently, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not available), and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you are sick, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading your illness to others, and talk to your doctor if your illness continues to worsen or does not begin to improve after a few days.

For more information on the flu, please dial 311 or visit halton.ca/flu.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”